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Must-See and Do in Staunton’s Gospel Hill Historic District

(Published 02/09/2023)

Walking through Staunton’s Gospel Hill Historic District is a little like stepping back in time. The streets are lined with elegant old homes in a variety of styles. The district is named for the religious meetings held in Sampson Eagon’s blacksmith shop in the 1790s. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the buildings in this area maintain much of their historic integrity. The district encompasses several blocks on Staunton’s east side, bordering Beverley Historic District and downtown as well as the scenic campuses of Mary Baldwin University and the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind. Here’s how to spend an afternoon or weekend in this area.

Architectural Highlights

  • Visitors should stroll along Market St. to see Kalorama (19 S. Market St.) and the beautiful view for which it was named. Kalorama St. itself boasts several grand homes designed by T.J. Collins in styles ranging from Italianate to Colonial Revival. 
  • More Collins-designed structures as well as Colonial Revival, Queen Anne, and Shingle-style buildings are located on Coalter St. You’ll also find The Woodrow Wilson Birthplace, a Greek-Revival-style house built by the First Presbyterian Church in 1846. 
  • A walk down West Beverley Street will reveal even more important buildings, including The Oaks, home of Jed Hotchkiss, mapmaker for Generals Lee and Jackson. Nearby, Oakdene is a Queen Anne showstopper featuring an owl on the turret. Farther down the street, the modest,  two-room log Cabell house is Staunton’s only remaining exposed log structure.

For a complete walking tour of this area, see Explore Staunton on Foot: The Gospel Hill Historic District or download a walking tour map

Where to Park

Park in the New Street Parking Garage or park along the street which has a two-hour limit.

Where to Stay

  • Hotel 24 South was built in 1924 and remains the city’s tallest building. Though the hotel retains its old-school charm, the rooms, and suites are luxurious and modernized. On-site amenities include a business center, a fitness center, and a heated indoor pool. 
  • The Frederick House combines the extravagance of a fancy hotel in a more personal setting. The 23 guest rooms are spread between seven historic buildings that weren’t originally designed as hotel rooms. You might be resting in a former store, stable, or silent movie theater! Enjoy a delicious breakfast as well as plenty of privacy. 
  • Gospel Hill Manor B&B offers a private one-bedroom apartment with a kitchenette in an 1890s Victorian. The property has easy walking access to downtown.

Where to Have a Drink

  • Plan to have a cocktail or a casual meal at Hotel 24 South’s 1924 Lounge. Located just off the lobby, the lounge features a fireplace, comfort food, an “eclectic” wine list, and all your favorite mixed drinks. 
  • Enjoy your wine and learn about it, too, at Accordia, a wine and cheese pairing store. Visitors can buy snacks, locally-sourced chocolates, and wine by the glass and bottle. Accordia holds weekly wine tastings and pairing options. 
  • Not only can you get coffee drinks, espresso, pastries, bagels, and grilled sandwiches at The By&By, you can now order wine and craft beer. The outdoor beer garden is tucked in by the Blackfriar’s Playhouse and welcomes dogs.

Where to Eat

  • Make reservations to share a special night over Chef Boden’s multi-course seasonal tasting menu at The Shack. The options change each week, but they always reflect what’s fresh and available from area producers.
  • Stop by the window at Réunion Bakery & Espresso for your morning (or afternoon) coffee drink. You’ll have a hard time choosing between the mouthwatering selection of French-inspired pastries. 
  • Taste of India serves a full menu of classic Indian dishes flavored with warm and zesty spices. 
  • Order a steak just the way you like it at Mill Street Grill. Housed in a historic Mill building, the restaurant is known for delicious American fare like pasta, burgers, and seafood.
  • Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery focuses on vegetables, fruits, and organic grains and is a convenient way to grab a quick, fresh bite for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 
  • Zynodoa offers inspired Southern cuisine in a stylish, metropolitan setting. The menu emphasizes local and farm-fresh ingredients.

Where to Shop

  • Look your best at Billy Opal, Staunton’s new clothing store with designer and boutique items for women and men. The store promises to have a wide range of unique looks for all occasions as well as one-on-one help to find your new style. 
  • Tap into the positive energy we need so badly at Little Shoppe of Crystals. You’ll find crystals, jewelry, aroma therapy, and more.
  • Personalize your home with words with gorgeous custom signs from Blair Made.
  • Find charming home and garden decor at Harmony Moon. You’ll also find essential oils, sleep aids, jewelry, and apparel. 
  • The Sparrow’s Nest stocks beautiful jewelry, handbags, and home decor like candles, stained glass panels, and paintings. 
  • Medieval Fantasies Company Gyfte Shoppe offers candles, old-fashioned apparel, practice and theatrical weapons, jewelry, and much, much more.
  • Bonfire Begonia is the place to find repurposed vintage, assorted beads, gemstones and more.

What to Do

  • Explore the buildings and gardens at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum to learn about Wilson’s connection to Staunton, his life and times, and much more. 
  • Built to resemble Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Theatre, the American Shakespeare Center stages high-quality productions of Shakespeare’s plays as well as contemporary works. 
  • Stroll through the galleries at R. R. Smith Center for History & Art to see high-quality regional art and historic documents.
  • Learn all of Staunton’s secrets when you take a guided walking tour with the Historic Staunton Foundation.
  • There’s often something going on at Mary Baldwin University. Cheer on the Fighting Squirrels at athletic events, enjoy concerts by young Heifetz Institute musicians, or ponder the art in the Hunt Gallery.
  • Check out the public art near the railroad underpass. You’ll immediately notice the giant watering can created by Willie Ferguson, nourishing a bed of living flowers. Nearby, a mural’s blooms supply color all year long. 
  • Learn about Victorian life and times at The Society for Victorian Arts and Culture’s Spotts-Coffman house. Tours are currently by appointment only. Upcoming events include Victorian teas, live music, and magic shows.
  • Schedule a tarot or oracle reading with Lisa Adams, Renegade Mystic. You’ll receive “loving, empowering messages that are helpful in times of uncertainty and confusion.” Other services include coaching, astrology, and spiritual workshops.

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