Giftable Staunton Experiences

Those looking for a last-minute gift can score big points with these giftable Staunton experiences. Far better than a sweater with a gift receipt, your loved one will love the special treatment you’re about to bestow upon them. It will be a happy holiday indeed!

For the foodie

Indulge your loved one’s palate with a food tour of Staunton. While it’s certainly lovely to enjoy a meal in one spot, get creative with your very own dine around featuring a different course at various restaurants and of course GIFT CARDS. Start the evening with a fancy cocktail at Zynodoa, followed by a charcuterie board—they also have cheese plates—at Yelping Dog. For your main course try the signature sizzlers at the Depot Grill or the handhelds at Byers Street Bistro but whatever you do save room for dessert. Get a slice of pie at Firkin Pie or have your pick of delectable desserts at Paris Cake Company. And if you still have some room get a night cap at The Pompei Lounge. And remember gift cards are a PERFECT stocking stuffer! 

For the Beer Lover

Bequeath the beer lover in your life with a Craft Beer Tour. Centered around the breweries of the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, Shenandoah Tours escorts you to the tastiest beverages of the season. And an added bonus get a FREE T-shirt once you’ve visited six breweries and received a stamp at each one through the Beerwerks Passport Program.

Download Traipse, an app that guides you through the city uncovering places you might have otherwise missed. Along the way, pick up a few gift cards for thirsty friends on your list.

For the Artist

With pen or brush in hand, your favorite budding artist will thrive during a Beverley Street Studio class. A variety of drawing and painting classes are available.

For the Tired Folk

Help the overworked mom or dad find a rejuvenating moment for themselves. The gift of a massage is widely considered to be one of the best gifts to receive. Contact Mill Street Body & Soul Day Spa for a gift certificate.

For the History Lover

Take in a High Tea for Two at Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room. Don your best hat and don’t forget the pinky finger. The tea experiences now feature four teas that were known to be thrown into the Boston Harbor during the infamous Boston Tea Party, as well as a Chocolate Tea that is attributed to Martha Washington. 

As one of the oldest cities west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Staunton’s history spans three centuries. A wide selection of historic attractions, archival collections, old buildings, museums, and Civil War sites are located in and around Staunton. Get your history lover admission tickets to any of our must-see museums

For those Who Never Get a Date Night

“Dinner and a show” is one of the most common date nights in Staunton thanks to our thriving restaurant scene and the incredible talent displayed at American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse.

For the Wine Lover

The Winter Wine Festival is coming up in February! Snag two tickets and book an overnight at the host venue, the Stonewall Jackson Hotel, all for one low rate. Get a bottle of wine to top it off at Ox-Eye Vineyards. 

For the Outdoor Lover

Connect your hiker friend with a place to stay in Staunton, an excellent hub for nearby hikes like Humpback Rocks, Spy Rock, and St. Mary’s Falls. Hook ’em up with a gift card to Wilderness Adventure while you’re at it. That will score them goods for the trip.

Another vantage point for an outdoor lover is to hit the Fields of Gold Farm Trail in the spring. Arm your friends with a gift card or two to help them patronize trail partners, and then top it off with another for a meal at Nu-Beginning, a farm-to-table hot spot in Staunton. 

We’re confident that whomever you’re shopping for will love a Staunton experience unique to their tastes. Let us know if we can help you identify other giftable experiences. Happy Holidays!

Four Mandatory Stops for Arts and Crafts in Staunton


Staunton is a hub of creative activity with a variety of media and arts unveiled daily. Our hardworking artisans are nose-to-the-grind as they amass beautiful handmade wares for the home, to be gifted, worn, and treasured. Nearly every downtown block hosts a passionate creator. Take the time to see their work, see them at work, and possibly fall in love with something their hands have made with these four mandatory stops for arts and crafts in Staunton.

Artful Gifts | 6 Byers Street

Fiber artists Lisa Jacenich creates hand-felted wool and silk clothing, and re-purposes old wool sweaters to create scarves and mittens. Her clothing includes the usual suspects as well as some surprising pieces, like a little black dress!

Lisa’s husband Jim is her detail-oriented accessory partner. His specialty is kumihimo, or, Japanese braiding, which he applies to belt and jewelry making. The Jaceniches consider their work to be wearable art. From simply embellishing existing clothing to creating their own clothes, accessories, and jewelry, one can complete an entire outfit at Artful Gifts.

If you care to learn how to create the types of items the Jaceniches create, you’re in luck. Workshops are available!

Appalachian Piecework | 38 Middlebrook Avenue

Laurie Gundersen is a “utilitarian folk artist” and the driving force behind Appalachian Piecework. Her talents include basket weaving, fabric dying, quilting, and spinning. From her 18th century barn loom she crafts handwoven market bags. From locally-harvested trees she weaves a variety of baskets. Not even the bark is wasted.

Appalachian Piecework also offers handcrafted products by like-minded artisans. Stop by to shop Thursday through Saturday from 11 to 6. Restoration requests and custom orders are welcome.

Sunspots Studios & Glassblowing | 202 S. Lewis Street

A hub of hot air and gorgeous glass gifts, Sunspots Studios & Glassblowing is owned by Doug and Caroline Sheridan. Doug was a metal artist who picked up glass artistry rather accidentally, but who has created one of Staunton’s most interesting tourist attractions.

Open every day of the week, would-be artisans can blow their own glass ornaments or just sit back and watch the Sunspots staff create beautiful pieces. Sunspots hosts the Virginia Hot Glass Festival each May, an occasion that includes additional artisans demonstrating their talents as well. In fact, a fire-breathing dragon is a regular attendee to the festival. During the Queen City Mischief & Magic event in September, Sunspots’ staff created glass wizard wands. Truly, there may not be anything they can’t make.

Stop in to Sunspots Monday through Saturday from 10 to 6 or Sunday from 11:30 to 5 to shop the gallery of 15+ artisans’ goods, catch a demonstration, or blow your own glass ornament.

Rachel’s Quilt Patch | 40 Middlebrook Avenue

Rachel’s Quilt Patch is a fabric shop named for owner Rachel Brown. Both she and her daughter Kay Shirey are avid quilters and work the shop together. At Rachel’s Quilt Patch beginning quilters are introduced to fabric options, stitching, and more.

Classes, workshops, clubs, and even “sew-in’s” are all options at Rachel’s Quilt Patch. Store hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 to 5, or by appointment Thursday evenings.

 

Nine Places to Antique In Staunton

Antiquing is almost like treasure hunting, except there’s no map with an “x” because the “x” is different for everyone. Fortunately, there are nine places to antique in and around Staunton, and we feel confident you’ll find a special something in one of them. From funky finds to recycled riches and everything in between, spend the day (or weekend) seeking out treasures of your own.   

Nanny June Vintage Clothing | 19 W. Beverley Street

Nanny June Vintage Clothing has a great selection of timeless vintage wearables and accessories. Whether you’re looking for a wedding dress or some mod club attire, you’ll find clothing with a story at this friendly boutique. Best of all, make sure your new-to-you clothes have the perfect fit by taking them to the on-site Alteration Station.

Once Upon a Time Clock Shop | 25 W. Beverley Street

If you have a thing for the ol’ tick-tock, Once Upon a Time Clock Shop is your place! Mantel clocks, wall clocks, grandfather clocks, European clocks, and Made in the USA clocks are all available here. If you have one that is in need of cleaning or repair, Dean Sarnelle is your man. His talents and abilities are renowned, thus clocks from around the country flood into his shop year ’round.

17 E. Beverley Antiques | 17 E. Beverley Street

Seven shops in one, 17 E. Beverley Antiques offers most of what you’d expect to find in an antiques store, but you may also find some interesting rarities, like sheet music and mid-century pin-ups. Vintage Christmas ornaments, silver, toys, and an array of vintage costumes are quite the draw. If you go, try on all the cool shades and take selfies. We want to see ’em!

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Cherish Every Moment | 13 E. Beverley Street

Discover upcycled treasures at Cherish Every Moment. Vintage and antique pieces are made new again with a fresh coat of paint, hardware and personal touches to create an unexpectedly wonderful general store-meets-boutique destination. From rustic to somewhat Victorian, you’ll find a wide range of decor here.

Staunton Antiques Center | 19 W. Beverley Street

Vintage clothing, handbags, and jewelry share 10,000 square feet of space with antique furnishings, decor, table settings, art, lamps, and so much more. You’ll want to allow yourself plenty of time to notice every nook and cranny at Staunton Antiques Center, lest you miss a treasure you may not have known you needed. DO check out the incredible book selection.

Warehouse Antiques & Collectibles | 26 W. Beverley Street

The odds are in your favor of finding something special at Warehouse Antiques & Collectibles. They’re loaded with many household items, decor, tools, glassware, woodcrafts, and needful things. Crocks, canes, enameled steel campfire necessities, baskets … the list goes on and on!

Sweet p’s Antiques | 800 W. Beverley Street

Sweet P’s Antiques believes that “every item has a soul.” Boasting antiques, this cozy shop is also an artisan market located just on the fringe of downtown but it’s worth the walk. For a preview, check out Sweet P’s Etsy Shop.

Appalachian Piecework Antiques & Textile Studio | 38 Middlebrook Avenue

Fiber Artist Laurie Gundersen’s work is interesting, beautiful and functional. Choose from among her (new) handwoven goods, baskets, quilts of and wearable art or peruse the selection of vintage quilts at Appalachian Piecework Antiques & Textile Studio.

Factory Antique Mall | 50 Lodge Lane, Verona

Chosen as both a Best of the Valley in the Daily News-Record Reader’s Choice Awards and a Best of Virginia Living the Wild Life award winner, the Factory Antique Mall is a sure bet for treasure seekers. It’s the largest antique mall in America and you can find housewares, furniture, books, jewelry, toys and many other items. There’s even a snack bar!

 

Exclusive Guide to Queen City Mischief and Magic

Calling all muggles and wizards! The second annual Queen City Potter Party (now Queen City Mischief and Magic) is September 22-24, and unless you attended the 2016 party, you’ve never seen Staunton like this. Three days of mischief and magic await!

As Staunton is transformed to Hogsmeade (the only wizards-only village in Britain, per the Harry Potter series), business names change, the culture changes, and food and drinks change. It’s as if our city is charmed for the weekend! To find your way around, you’ll use a Marauder’s Map, much like Harry did during his first visit to Hogsmeade. Fortunately, you won’t need your invisibility cloak.

Queen City Potter Party

14 Hogsmeade MUST-DOs:

  1. Get the weekend started with the Hogwarts Homecoming Quidditch Games on Friday. The first match will be between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw at 6 p.m. Late arrival? You’ll have Gryffindor vs. Slytherin at 7 p.m. The championship game begins at 8 p.m.
  2. See Harry and Hagrid arrive via the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 3/4 at 9 a.m. Saturday! Visit the conductor and get a hat just like his while supplies last.
  3. Choose your wand. Rather, let a wand choose you! Purchase wooden wands at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes (Pufferbellies Toys & Books) or glass wands at Ollivanders Wands & Orbs (Sunspots Studios). Want to eat your wand? Head over to ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe (Staunton Antique Center & The Artisans Loft).
  4. Craft a potion at Borgin & Burkes (Redwood & Co.), but sign up fast as we are certain the classes will fill quickly. Is Amortentia on the list of potions to be made? That would be lovely, wouldn’t it?
  5. While no one wants to be a “prisoner of Azkaban,” you should head over there anytime between noon and 6 p.m. Saturday (Cocoa Mill Chocolate Co.). Beware Dementors. Just sayin’.
  6. The Ministry of Magic Tours are limited, but must-see! Secure your time slot to take a special family-friendly tour through Crack the Code Escape Room before they’re gone.
  7. Madam Puddifoot’s (The Pampered Palate Cafe) is not only a Hogsmeade destination for delicious eats and drinks, there are classes to create your own Magic Twirling Tea Cup upstairs! Text 434-826-0832 to reserve your time slot.
  8. Professor Gilderoy Lockhart will be available for a meet-and-greet at Flourish & Blotts (Black Swan Books and Music). Do purchase a Queen City Mischief and Magic tote to carry all of those potions and tea cups!
  9. Visit the Restricted Room at Hogwarts Library (Barrister Books), but head’s up! There are flying books! Be sure to add a quill or bookmark to your QCMM tote.
  10. Try your hand at taming beasts (some of them are indeed fantastical!) at Magickal Menagerie (Harmony Moon).
  11. Wizards beyond a certain age will want to seek out the butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks (Baja Bean). Cheers!
  12. Find your way to The Flaming Arena behind Gringotts (Suntrust Bank) Friday and Saturday night. The Queen City Fire Circus will be performing a free show.
  13. Tarot card readings with a deck created of iconic Staunton images, Rune readings, and dragon visitations at Hagrid’s Hut (Artful Gifts LLC.)
  14. Channel your inner Hermione with a visit to Beauxbatons Academy (Mary Baldwin University) for a magical lesson on a variety of Potter-related topics, from owls to Nicholas Flamel. Taught by Mary Baldwin professors and other community experts.

… and that’s just the beginning!

A Few Finer Details:

The Marauder’s Map is LOADED with fun in Hogsmeade. Check often for its availability and updates. You won’t want to miss a thing!

There is limited parking available downtown: side streets, public lots, two parking garages (on Johnson Street and New Street).  Please view this map that shows all public parking: Map of downtown Staunton.

There will also be a FREE shuttle running a constant circuit from the Federated Auto Parts Warehouse lot (on Statler Blvd) to the Mill Street Grill parking lot. For a map click link.

Download Traipse, an app, to participate in Horcrux Hunting.

Keep an eye on the schedule for late additions.

You are encouraged to dress as your favorite Harry Potter series character. See the photos from 2016 for inspiration.

Queen City Mischief and Magic is a FREE event with a few pay-as-you-go opportunities (like crafting your own Thinking Putty at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes!).

Four Unique Staunton Stays

 

Break away from the traditional lodging molds of hotels and B&Bs (not that we don’t ADORE ours, of course), and try these fun, surprising, quirky Staunton stays instead.

Staunton is home to the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse. Such an attraction requires occasional plays on words, don’t you think? Enter “The Bard’s Nest,” an accommodation within walking distance of the Playhouse. If you didn’t know, William Shakespeare was known as “The Bard,” a professional story-teller. Welcome to what he might have enjoyed, were he a 21st century fellow.

The Bard’s Nest is a very cozy, comfortable arrangement for a solo traveler or a couple. Guests should not smoke, bring children or pets, or anticipate wheelchair access, as “the nest” is on the second floor. Natural light and vaulted ceilings make the space quite inviting. Equipped with a refrigerator, stove, and additional comforts of home, you may want to extend your stay.

The Bard’s Nest

The Storefront was literally a store front, and it’s also your next favorite Staunton stay. Affectionately called “a very small hotel,” The Storefront accommodation begins at street level where you’re likely surprised to find a bar right inside the front door. Yes, BYOB and make yourself at home! Climb the stairs to the second floor where a full kitchen and “the most comfortable queen-size bed in town” awaits.

Above Aioli, the best Mediterranean restaurant in Staunton, is Bella Inn, two studio suites with an abundance of natural light flooding in. Suite One features a king bed, full kitchen, spiral staircase to a loft with a daybed and washer and dryer, and comfortable appointments. Suite Two also boasts a king bed and full kitchen, but trades the loft for a private patio with skyline views. You’ll want to think a while before making your suite choice at Bella Inn.

The Villages Penthouse is a vast industrial accommodation with comfortable touches; a fashionable blend of textures. Wide open space divided only by black steel beams and a curtain for bedroom privacy lets light flood the main living areas. Lots of people can rest here and enjoy the rooftop patio views. It’s an amazing place to grill a fresh steak or burgers!

The Lofts at the Villages

Looking for more cozy places to stay in Staunton? See the options!

Free Things for Adults to Do in Staunton

Families aren’t the only ones looking for freebies these days. All of us want to save a buck where we can, right? Yes, of course! The good news is there are free things for adults to do in Staunton, which helps you splurge where you want to and be a frugalista when you want to, too.

Artsy Things

If you appreciate the finer things – the arts in many shapes and forms – this is your jackpot to free things to do in Staunton.

1. The Beverley Street Studio School Gallery hosts rotating exhibits, which are open to the public seven days a week. See what’s currently on exhibit.
2. When you find yourself in Staunton during lunch time on a Monday in the summer, DO find the Heifetz Institute musicians for a free concert. The summer series is called Mondays on the Market and the location varies.
3. The Staunton Augusta Arts Center is located in the historic R.R. Smith Center for History and Art. Peruse the galleries Monday through Saturday to check out the rotating exhibits, which change every six weeks. See what’s currently on exhibit.
4. Have you ever seen glass blown? Do so for free at Sunspots Studios. It’s free to watch and demos are offered daily until 4 p.m.

Historic Things

1. The Louis Comfort Tiffany windows at Trinity Episcopal Church are always a draw, and we’re always happy to inform you that you can visit the church for free to see them. Learn more about the windows and plan your visit.
>> Also See: Staunton Architecture: Newtown Historic District 
2. Thornrose Cemetery should probably be one of the places on your list if you didn’t receive a nudge from us or someone else with some knowledge of the property. Thornrose is the final resting place of more than 1,700 Confederate soldiers from five area battlefields. The various statues are worth attention as well.
3. A guided tour of Staunton is offered every Saturday – May through October – for free! Connect with the Historic Staunton Foundation to join in.

Outdoorsy Things

1. Betsy Bell and Mary Gray Wilderness Parks are open to the public from dawn until dusk. Walk the nature trails and appreciate the expansive views of Staunton and the surrounding area. Be sure to bring your camera to capture wildlife!
2. In downtown Staunton is the 214-acre Gypsy Hill Park. Some people love the duck pond, others appreciate the swimming pool. We’re sure our skilled readers will go for the skate park. Bring your inlines, your BMX, or your skateboard to thrill onlookers with your mad tricks. During the summer, we’d expect to see you at the bandstand for free summer concerts as well. Featuring a different genre almost every night of the week, with band concerts by the Stonewall Brigade on Monday; Praise in the Park on Tuesday; Bluegrass in the Park on Wednesday; and Jazz in the Park on Thursday. 
3. Those with a need for some adrenaline will enjoy the mountain biking trails at Montgomery Hall Park. Check out the map to see what the fuss is all about.

Tasty Things

1. Shenandoah Hops offers complimentary tastings every Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. Those tastings could include craft beer, wine, or cider.
2. Another evening tasting option occurs at The Wine Cellar. Sometimes the tastings are on Fridays and sometimes they’re Saturdays. Check the calendar to see what’s being poured.
3. If you enjoy cooking stop by Staunton Olive Oil Company’s tasting room for a cooking demonstration and to try their many varieties of infused and fused olive oils and balsamic vinegars. 


Enjoy your time in downtown Staunton and let us know how we can be of assistance. Our Visitor Center is located at 35 S. New Street. Come in for a map, directions, or help with reservations.

Staunton Architecture: Gospel Hill

The beautiful name Gospel Hill comes from the sounds ringing out from Sampson Eagon’s blacksmith shop. 1700s religious meetings occurred in Eagon’s shop, and of course, that included singing. Gospel Hill Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places and is home to grand old trees and grander homes.

238 E. Beverley Street is a beautiful 1840s home that was remodeled by T. J. Collins in 1915. Of additional interest: the home sits on the site of Sampson Eagon’s blacksmith shop; the place where Gospel Hill got its name.

“Oakdene”

An elaborate Queen Anne called “Oakdene” sits at 605 E. Beverley Street. It was built in 1893 by Virginia Lieutenant Governor Edward Echols and features an owl atop its turret.

Civil War mapmaker Jed Hotchkiss added an elaborate addition to the ca. 1840 house at 437 E. Beverley Street in 1888. He called the home “The Oaks.”

“The Oaks”

Kalorama is a street name in Gospel Hill, but it’s also the name of the beautiful home at 19 S. Market Street. While a private residence now, the home has seen use as a hotel, girls school, and a public library over the years since its 1810 construction.

An unusual style, certainly for Staunton, is the 1891 Richardsonian Romanesque home standing at 215 Kalorama Street. T. J. Collins designed it for the City Treasurer, Arista Hogue. The home’s date and the initial A.H. are carved into one of the stones on the façade. This home is the only one of its style in Staunton.

You learned about the First Presbyterian Church and its architectural and historical significance to Staunton, Virginia, and the United States. The church campus initially included a manse – the home of the minister. That manse is now known as the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace. It was built in 1846 in Greek Revival style. It features 12 rooms; in one of the, Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born on December 28, 1856. Wilson went on to become America’s 28th President.

There are at least 12 more sites within Gospel Hill of historic significance marked in the Historic Staunton Foundation walking tour map. Be sure to pick up a copy from their office at the R. R. Smith Center or check out their Flickr Account for a “virtual tour” of Gospel Hill. 

And while you’re here, be sure and visit some of the other historic districts in downtown Staunton:
Beverley District
Wharf District 
Newtown District 
Stuart Addition 

Staunton Architecture: Stuart Addition

Stuart Addition Historic District is named for Judge Archibald Stuart, a wealthy, influential resident who deeded the area to the city in 1803. Mary Baldwin University if located within this historic district, as are notable historic churches.

First Presbyterian Church

Augusta Female Seminary was founded in 1842, but you know it today as Mary Baldwin University. The large Greek Revival building on campus dates to 1844 and was built to meet the needs of the growing school. The building is often the backdrop for photos; take one there yourself.

The Presbyterian congregation in Staunton predates the First Presbyterian Church at 100 E. Frederick Street. Fellowship of congregants began in 1804 and their first house of worship was built in 1818. The church you see today is their second: a Romanesque Revival with a tall white spire. It was dedicated in 1872.

An interesting bit of extra history about First Presbyterian: Reverend Joseph Ruggles Wilson was at the pulpit when his son Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born in 1856. The basin used to baptize the would-be President of the United States is still in use.

The Catholic Church is at home at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, a commanding Gothic Revival designed by none other than T. J. Collins, a parishioner, and built in 1895. The church was Collins’ first major commission in Staunton. 

Formerly the Old YMCA

In our article about the Beverley Historic District we introduced you to a one-time YMCA the locals refer to as the clock tower. In Stuart Addition Historic District, we have another one-time YMCA for your interest. The Renaissance Revival at 41 N. Augusta was built as a YMCA in 1914. The estate of Cyrus McCormick, the inventor of the mechanical reaper, donated $50,000 toward its completion. Today the Y is a series of quirky lofts – the Old Y Lofts – that include nostalgic pieces of the building’s original use. In one loft, a bed platform is actually the old stage. In another, a fun trap door leads into the old pool, which is now a wine cellar. Fun, huh?!

There are at least 13 more sites within Stuart Addition of historic significance marked in the Historic Staunton Foundation walking tour map. Be sure to pick up a copy from their office at the R. R. Smith Center or check out their Flickr Account for a “virtual tour” of Stuart Addition.

And while you’re here, be sure and visit some of the other historic districts in downtown Staunton:
Beverley District
Wharf District 
Newtown District 

Staunton Architecture: Newtown Historic District

If you suppose that Newtown is so named to distinguish it from what was once known as Oldtown, you’re right. Newtown is Staunton’s oldest residential neighborhood and home to significant landmarks.

Trinity Episcopal Church
Trinity Episcopal Church

Staunton’s oldest church is Trinity Episcopal, built in 1855 in Neo-Gothic style. It’s actually the third house of worship on the site; the first was built in 1763. Trinity is a must-see when you’re in Staunton. One dozen Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows grace the space with The Ascension Triptych (dated 1897) believed to be the first installed.

Companion buildings on the Trinity campus include the 1872 Parish House of Gothic Revival style, and the Trinity Rectory (also 1872) in Jacobean Revival style, a rare architectural gem in this area.

From Trinity Church emerged Emmanuel Episcopal Church, an 1894 Gothic Revival designed by T. J. Collins. The interior is no longer exactly what he planned, as church traditions and needs evolved to dictate a shift in floor plan. If you pay a visit, you won’t be able to ignore the soaring vaulted ceiling with its delicate details.

Beverley Street School Studio

Built in 1887, the Stonewall Jackson School was Staunton’s first permanent public school. In 1912, President Woodrow Wilson reviewed a parade in his honor from the front of the school. In 1913, T. J. Collins directed a remodeling of it. Today the school building is a school of a different sort. The Beverley Street Studio School occupies the first floor.

The 1792 Smith Thompson House at 701 W. Beverley Street is an original log home and one of Staunton’s last 18th century structures.  It was built by Revolutionary War soldier, Smith Thompson, a barber who showcased a razor he said he used to shave George Washington. The left side of the house is an addition to the right and sits on a stone foundation. It was appended in 1870.

There are at least 13 more sites of historic significance marked in the Historic Staunton Foundation walking tour map. Be sure to pick up a copy from their office at the R. R. Smith Center or check out their Flickr Account for a “virtual tour” of Newtown Historic District

And while you’re here, be sure and visit some of the other historic districts in downtown Staunton:

Staunton Architecture: The Five Historic Districts

As you look upward at Staunton’s buildings, you’re obviously looking at the handiwork of many men. Yet, one family of men contributed to the look and style of most of what you see. Architect T. J. Collins, his sons Will and Sam, and his grandson Joseph Johnson left an indelible mark on the architecture of the Queen City.

Take a mini tour of the five historic districts in honor of Virginia Architecture Week.

historic beverley District

The center of downtown Staunton is the Beverley Historic District, an area found on the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings here date between the 1870s and 1920s, with one as old as 1830. That building is home to Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery on S. New Street. Its previous uses include life as a laundry facility, taxi garage, print shop, and tailor’s studio. As you look up at the building, note the original stone still exposed on either side.

Perhaps Staunton’s most recognizable architectural feature is the clock tower at the corner of Beverley Street and Central Avenue, city center. The building and tower date to 1890 and originally housed the YMCA and all its athletic space. Indeed, a bowling alley, gym and track resided behind those walls! Today the first floor is the Clocktower Eats & Sweets and the Clock Tower Convenience Store.

If the clock tower is Staunton’s most recognizable architectural gem, the 1896 Masonic Temple is the most imposing. Rising high above the rest of the skyline, the gable roof is quickly identifiable. In addition to its life as a Masonic Temple, the building houses Baja Bean Co., The Split Banana Co., and H. L. Lang & Co. Jewelers.

Stained Glass Skylight in the National Valley Bank

 The T. J. Collins-designed National Valley Bank building on West Beverley Street was built in 1903 and is quite distinct from other buildings in Staunton. It’s of the Beaux-Arts style and features ornate exterior carved limestone. The 10′ x 34′ stained glass skylight is the highlight inside!

One of the most beautiful buildings on New Street is the old Eakleton Hotel, now the R. R. Smith Center for History & Art. Designed by T. J. Collins in the French Second Empire style, the building boasts a series of three ornate iron balconies, arches, and mansard roof. The original windows are still intact in this 1894 structure that now houses the Staunton Augusta Art Center, the Augusta County Historical Society, and Historic Staunton Foundation.

Beverley Cigar Store

We’d be remiss to tell you about T. J. Collins and identify some of his genius without telling you where he drew his plans. On the Corner of Beverley and Augusta Streets is the distinguishable Marquis Building, notable for its rounded corner entrance and stone columns. The style is Romanesque Revival and the building is now home to the Beverley Cigar Store.

One of the youngest buildings in the Beverley Historic District is The Stonewall Jackson Hotel with its iconic neon sign atop the roof. The Colonial Revival was built in 1924 for $750,000, which would be close to a cool $10.5 million today. For perspective, 2005 hotel restoration, renovation and expansion came in at $21.5 million. Indeed, its the beauty that awaits inside that deserves nearly all of the attention. For example, guests are treated to a 1924 Wurlitzer Organ, believed to be the only remaining one of its kind. Additionally, the marble floors have been restored, and original features like the chandeliers and sconces remain in use.

Visit the R. R. Smith Center to pick up your copy of “A Self-Guided Tour of Staunton’s Historic Districts” at the Historic Staunton Foundation for more information on the Beverley Street Historic District and its 10 other notable buildings. Or to complete your virtual tour check out the Historic Staunton Foundation’s Flickr Account and see the other architectural treasures unique to downtown Staunton.

Check back each day as we continue our series on the Historic Districts of Staunton.

Beverley Historic District