The weather’s cooling, the birds are migrating, and the kids are safely away in school. Football is back on TV, and the leaves are starting to adorn the lawn. But there’s more to fall than raking, cheering, and pumpkin spice latte. Here’s how to make the most of autumn in Staunton.
The leaves haven’t really changed yet, but you can’t beat the Shenandoah Valley for the upcoming fall color. To see the leaves at their brightest, plan to leaf peep at the peak of the season, which should be around October 11 through 25 this year. Check back each week for an update on the season’s progression.
- Plan some drives and walks along the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- Hikes in George Washington and Jefferson National Forest offer fine opportunities to view those magical shades, especially from the Confederate Breastworks interpretive site at the top of Shenandoah Mountain.
- If you want to see the colors closer to home, hit the trails at Montgomery Hall Park and Betsy Bell Wilderness Area.
Fall Fashion and Where to Find It
The seasons are changing and it’s time to warm up your wardrobe, especially if you have a family portrait session in the near future. Here’s where to update your look in Staunton this fall.
- Shop Design at Nine for distinctive women’s clothing, including a large selection of seasonal shoes and boots as well as the accessories you need to tie your look together.
- LTD 7 and Latitudes Fair Trade Store have unique and trendy clothing, bags, scarves, and jewelry.
- If you’re looking for something with a story, check out Nanny June Vintage Clothing for ways to add a retro flair to your modern wardrobe.
- Don’t forget The Sparrow’s Nest for artistic jewelry and knitwear.
- Men will look sharp after shopping at CFO Trading Company for clothing, outerwear, scarves, hats, and seasonal accessories.
- And make sure to outfit yourself for that fall hiking or camping trip at Wilderness Adventure.
Pumpkin, Apple, and Grape Picking
If you’re looking for a family-friendly fall adventure to keep you busy when you’re not at soccer or football games, visit one of our area’s pick-your-own farms and orchards.
- You’ll find views and crops of Concords and Niagaras at Wenger Grapes.
- Pick some Red Delicious at Sunrise Orchards. They also sell apple butter, pumpkins, and honey.
- Decorative gourd lovers can rejoice: the pumpkin patch at Middle River Farms (Grottoes) is open. You’ll find over 30 varieties of pumpkins and gourds. Their wagonload deal is one of the best around!
- Another stellar spot for pumpkins is Troyer’s Farm in Stuarts Draft. Explore the fields for mixed varieties of large and small pumpkins and gourds. Finish up with a trip through the 10-acre corn maze.
- Finally, enjoy a hayride and pick-your-own pumpkins and gourds at Mount Crawford’s Mulberry Hills Farms.
We know you’ve been salivating for weeks for a taste of apples, pumpkins, and anything with a hint of spice and cinnamon. Here’s a sampling of some of Staunton’s best fall flavors.
- Firkin Pie has the best sweet and savory flavors of the season. Try the pork sausage roll, seasoned with caramelized onions, sage, and thyme that’s served with honey mustard or the beet Reuben hand pie. Save room for the Marlborough apple pie for dessert.
- The Shack offers an ever-changing and seasonal tasting menu highlighting local ingredients.
- Try Zynodoa’s Autumn Olive Farm grilled pork chop that comes with braised cabbage, Wade’s Mill rye spaetzle, and a sweet and sour glaze. Get a side of Wade’s Mill apple and cheddar grits and follow it all with a harvest thyme pumpkin pot de crème.
- Order the pan-seared maple leaf duck breast at Aioli. It’s served with butternut squash parmesan risotto, vegetable tempura, and blackberry reduction.
- Pick your favorite fall-flavored gelato like pumpkin pie or maple walnut at The Split Banana.
- How about an apple streusel or pumpkin pie from Paris Cake Company? They not only taste wonderful, they’re beautiful, too.
- D&L Donuts bakes seasonal flavors of your favorite morning treat like pumpkin and apple crisp. You’ll want to arrive early to ensure you score one of these tasty seasonal treats.
- Have you had a flight from Ciders From Mars yet? You can’t beat hard cider for a taste of autumn.
- Queen City Brewing serves two delicious hard-pressed ales: Apple Ale and Cranberry Ale. Both are perfect for the fall season.
- Redbeard Brewing Company releases their latest edition of Moriarty, a barrel-aged Imperial Stout on October 9.
We’ve scoured the calendars so you don’t have to. Here’s what’s coming up near Staunton.
- Catch the right wind and see your kite soar at Coyner Springs Kite Fly on September 25. See kite demonstrations, paint pumpkins, and sling apples at this fun event. If you don’t already own a kite, browse the selection at Pufferbellies Toys and Books.
- Get ready for Halloween by learning about Staunton’s spooky history with a Ghosts of Staunton walking ghost tour on September 24 and 25.
- Find a use for your old clothes at Staunton Parks and Rec’s Scarecrows in the Park event. Use your skills to create a silly or scary scarecrow to stand near the swimming pools and spook all the early morning joggers. September 25.
- There’s no live Queen City Mischief & Magic festival this year, but keep an eye on Facebook for lots of fun, virtual events.
- Celebrate German Heritage Day at the Frontier Culture Museum on October 2 and see how early residents of the Valley lived and made merry.
- The Fall Foliage Art Festival (October 9-10) brings talented artists to downtown Waynesboro each year. You’ll find paintings, prints, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, and more as well as music, food, and craft beer against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge in full color.
- The Fall Foliage Bike Festival (October 15-17) attracts hundreds of cyclists from around the mid-Atlantic states for a weekend of riding in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Escape the cities for a quiet weekend and choose from a number of SAG-supported routes over two days.
- Wade’s Mill will host its 26th annual Apple Butter Festival on October 16. See apple butter being made the traditional way, enjoy tasty food and drink, and shop for local crafts.
- October 16 is Fall Farm Day at Creambrook Farm. You’ll see baby calves and other farm animals, pretty views, and have lots of family fun.
- Plan to take the kids to trick or treat at Swannanoa this Halloween. Expect goodies, photo opportunities, face painting, a food truck, and possible real ghosts!