Clear blue skies, temps in the seventies, and low humidity are reasons why September shines as a month to get outside. Short on time? These destinations are all in town, so plan a stroll or bike ride to find your favorite spots. Bring the kids along to visit the parks, feed the ducks and stretch their legs. Here’s how to enjoy scenic September in Staunton.
Gypsy Hill Park
Gypsy Hill Park is the most popular of Staunton’s Parks, and there’s definitely a festive atmosphere when little league games and live music are happening. Walk, jog, or pedal the 1.3-mile loop and you’ll definitely meet a friend or neighbor. Little ones will enjoy the two updated playgrounds, and your dog will love making paw pals at the dedicated bark park. There’s aquatic life, too, in the form of ducks, geese, swans, and fish to feed at the duck pond and fish to hook at Lake Tams. Brave souls with good balance can shred it at the skatepark. Fuel up for the rest of your day at Chicano Boy Taco.
Gypsy Hill Golf Club
September is perfect golfing weather, and there’s no better place to do it than on the par 71 Gypsy Hill Golf Club, part of Staunton’s history since 1919. The terrain is steep, but stunning, with lots of old trees and long-range views of the mountains. Fees, cart rentals, and private lessons are reasonable. Head over to Queen City Brewing after your round.
Montgomery Hall Park
Montgomery Hall Park has a bit of everything, from playgrounds to hiking trails to sports fields to picnic pavilions. You can’t miss the spiderweb and tall slide tower as you drive into the park, but did you know there’s a less visible natural playground in the park, too? This quiet and shady spot is the perfect environment for kids to develop imaginations, balance, and appreciation for nature’s toybox. Hikers and mountain bikers share several miles of well marked and maintained trails winding through the trees and hills. This area is also used for a popular 18-hole disc golf course. And if the cooling weather means racquet sports to you, get your game on at the tennis, pickleball, and basketball courts. Grab a bite or a loaf of bread at Newtown Baking & Kitchen.
Betsy Bell and Mary Gray Wilderness Area
Betsy Bell Wilderness is Staunton’s best-kept secret when it comes to natural areas within the city limits. You’ll enjoy a peaceful hike or bike away from the bustle. The climb is steep, so catch your breath and survey the city from above at one of the two overlooks. Betsy Bell is a hotspot for birdwatching and good for walking your dog. Treat yourself after your hike with a cone from Kline’s Dairy Bar!
Woodrow and Landes Parks
Woodrow and Landes Parks are so small that you might not even know they exist. And while you might not be able to play a baseball game there, they’re part of a perfect loop for stretching your legs and snapping some beautiful photographs. Climb the steep steps to the Sears Hill Bridge from the Wharf. Cross the bridge, stopping to gaze up and down the railroad tracks and out over Staunton’s rooftops. Rest a while in Woodrow Park before strolling through the Sears Hill neighborhood. Take Middlebrook Avenue back to downtown and you’ll pass through Landes Park as it passes under the tracks and skirts the edge of Lewis Creek. Your pics in this space will be cool and moody. Make sure you visit nearby Crucible Coffee or Ciders from Mars for a quick sip before heading home.
Other Places to Have a Stroll
While not part of the city park system, historic Thornrose Cemetery and the Frontier Culture Museum make good places to take an urban hike. Thornrose Cemetery was built on the park cemetery model popular in the 1800s. Since city park spaces were rare, cemeteries made up for it with interesting architecture like towers, bridges, and scenic paths. See Explore Staunton on Foot: Thornrose Cemetery for more information. The Frontier Culture Museum brings the past to life on eight working farms representing the Valley’s early settlers. Costumed interpreters do chores and educate visitors who explore the sprawling complex at their own pace. Later, get dinner at nearby Thai Staunton.
Finally, consider taking one of our self-guided walking tours to learn the history of one of Staunton’s historic districts.