#LOVEstaunton

#LOVEstaunton

New Year’s Eve in Staunton

Time flies when you’re having fun, and 2016 sure was a blur. Come ring in 2017 with fantastic New Year’s Eve fun in Staunton! We have a place for you to stay, plenty of food … make yourself at home. PARTIES & Music Pompei Lounge is hosting their annual Masquerade with The Judy Chops. This … Continue reading New Year’s Eve in Staunton

Time flies when you’re having fun, and 2016 sure was a blur. Come ring in 2017 with fantastic New Year’s Eve fun in Staunton! We have a place for you to stay, plenty of food … make yourself at home.

PARTIES & Music

Pompei Lounge is hosting their annual Masquerade with The Judy Chops. This is a party you’ll want to arrive early for as it tends to sell out. The fun starts at 10 p.m. and only costs a $10 cover, which includes a midnight champagne toast. Hang out until 2 a.m., if you want. 

Baja Bean Co. always has one of the best New Year’s Eve parties around – The Findells Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Party with champagne toast at midnight! Enjoy the great food and drinks before the music and countdown begin.

Byers Street Bistro is hosting a New Year’s Eve Party that includes dinner specials, live music from Gypsy Town from 9-12:30, and a champagne toast at midnight.

Redbeard Brewing Company is hosting Magnolia Mountain Grill to offer food, and Drägön Wägön with a special guest for entertainment.

Downtown 27 @ The Clocktower invites you to their NYE Bash with Maybe Tomorrow and DJ Neili Neil. The fun starts at 8 p.m. and winds down at 1 a.m. $15 cover.

Dinner

Zynodoa has a special four-course prix-fixe menu at $65 per person on New Year’s Eve.

Come see us! #loveva #farmtotable #itsbeginningtolookalotlikechristmas

A photo posted by Zynodoa (@zynodoa) on

The Arts

The American Shakespeare Center has a very special showing at 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. It’s the last performance ever of “The Twelve Dates of Christmas,” a play written for their stage by one of their actors. Enjoy $2 glasses of champagne to celebrate the evening.

Enjoy your New Year’s Eve, but don’t forget to designate a driver. Better yet, call a cab. Happy New Year!

 

A Holiday Weekend for Two in Staunton

11/28/2016 Sneak away before Christmas to enjoy a holiday weekend for two. Packed with arts and entertainment, December 16-18 is an ideal time to visit Staunton. Pack for two nights on the town but don’t forget your comfortable walking shoes for last minute downtown shopping.  Staunton Holiday Weekend Check into our historic Stonewall Jackson Hotel … Continue reading A Holiday Weekend for Two in Staunton

11/28/2016

Sneak away before Christmas to enjoy a holiday weekend for two. Packed with arts and entertainment, December 16-18 is an ideal time to visit Staunton. Pack for two nights on the town but don’t forget your comfortable walking shoes for last minute downtown shopping. 

Staunton Holiday Weekend

Check into our historic Stonewall Jackson Hotel and take advantage of the Shakespeare Package which includes breakfast, parking, and tickets for two. Add a night to round out the weekend. You’ll need it!

Friday, December 16

Heifetz Holiday Homecoming is a “dose of holiday cheer” that includes alumni of the Heifetz International Music Institute. A wide range of holiday carols, including Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker for string quartet. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Mary Baldwin University’s Frances Auditorium. TICKETS

Saturday, December 17

Andrew Goldwasser as Scrooge in A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Photo by Michael Bailey
Andrew Goldwasser as Scrooge in A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Photo by Michael Bailey

Put those comfortable shoes to work and explore downtown Staunton for Stop Staunton First Saturday. We’ve even provided something of a shopping list for you, affectionately called our Favorite Things. You’ll love our restaurants and cafes for impromptu stops for coffee and treats along the way. When you need a break and want to sight-see, pick up the Trolley along the green route for just $.25.

The tickets from your Shakespeare Package come into play today. There are two shows to choose from and hopefully you can agree on one. If not, rock-paper-scissors is always a fun way to make a decision.  “A Christmas Carol” is offered at 2 and 7:30 p.m. “The Santaland Diaries” begins at 5 p.m. Be sure to peruse the gift shop at the American Shakespeare Center before or after the show to pick up a souvenir of your visit.

Before you turn in for the night, stroll through downtown to admire our decorated shop windows!

Sunday, December 18

Yelp users love The By and By for breakfast and they’re open at 10 a.m. on Sundays. Grab a bite before you hit the road. Heather R., a Yelp user, wrote, “Quaint and simple place. It fits the charm of the town. I had a simple bagel sandwich. Service was quick and friendly and the breakfast sandwich was hot and fresh.”

Looking for More to Do?

Staunton’s Favorite Things: A Guide to Gifts We Love

“Oprah’s Favorite Things” is an annual guide to what’s hot, trendy, useful, and even traditional for holiday gift-giving. We have a few favorites here in Staunton and have created our very own uniquely Staunton “favorite things” list for your gift-giving consideration! House-woven fabric is used to make this market bag. Find it handmade at Appalachian … Continue reading Staunton’s Favorite Things: A Guide to Gifts We Love

“Oprah’s Favorite Things” is an annual guide to what’s hot, trendy, useful, and even traditional for holiday gift-giving. We have a few favorites here in Staunton and have created our very own uniquely Staunton “favorite things” list for your gift-giving consideration!

Handwoven Market Bag. Staunton's Favorite Things.

House-woven fabric is used to make this market bag. Find it handmade at Appalachian Pieceworks.

Staunton, VA Watering Can. Staunton's Favorite Things.

Add a sterling silver Staunton, VA watering can to your jewelry collection. You’ll find it at H.L. Lang & Co. Jewelers.

Sunspots Glass Ornament. Staunton's Favorite Things.

Blow your own ornament or buy a finished hand-blown ornament at Sunspots Studios. They’re beautiful enough to display year ’round.

Skunk Zooties. Staunton's Favorite Things.

Skunk Zooties baby shoes are handcrafted from locally sourced sheep’s wool in Kyrgyzstan. Latitudes Fair Trade Store has these and other adorable critters for those little pitter-patter feet in your life.

pufferbellies-gamesEveryone loves a good game!  Presenting the 2016 Pufferbellies GAMES THAT YOU TOTALLY NEED RIGHT THIS MINUTE AWARDS! Perfect for holiday gifting.

B-Side Bow Ties. Staunton's Favorite Things.

B-Side Bow Ties are upcycled neckties handcrafted by Staunton local Dylan Sorge and available at Made; By the People, For the People.

Santa Boxes of Chocolate. Staunton's Favorite Things.

Cocoa Mill‘s milk chocolate Santa boxes are filled with their signature bark. Everyone needs a sweet treat around the holidays.

Tuscan Herb Infused Olive Oil. Staunton's Favorite Things.

Staunton Olive Oil Company‘s Tuscan Herb Infused Olive Oil is crafted with oregano, rosemary, marjoram, garlic, and UP certified extra virgin olive oil. Try it as a baste for your next chicken entree.

American Shakespeare Center gift card. Staunton's Favorite Things.

Treat someone special to a play at the American Shakespeare Center Blackfriar’s Playhouse. Give them a gift card and let them choose their date and show!

Dawn Redwood Tree-to-Be. Staunton's Favorite Things.

The first living Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) specimen was discovered in 1946 by a Chinese forester. It was believed to be extinct. Find this special gift at Redwood & Co.

 

Shop Staunton this Christmas season and give something heartfelt. Our Small Business Saturday (November 26) will be booming with shopkeepers welcoming you with grace and hospitality. Later, on December 17, we’ll have another big shopping event you won’t want to miss: Shop Staunton First Saturday. Parking garages will be free for the first two hours of shopping! 

Happy holidays from all of us at Visit Staunton!

Seven Ways to Play Before Santa Comes to Town

The busiest time of the year is upon us as we hustle around taking care of party planning and decorating. Be sure to balance all of that with some down time, doing something fun. Breathe in the season with a quick trip to Staunton.  Enjoy a slower pace for a hot second. Get a cup … Continue reading Seven Ways to Play Before Santa Comes to Town

The busiest time of the year is upon us as we hustle around taking care of party planning and decorating. Be sure to balance all of that with some down time, doing something fun. Breathe in the season with a quick trip to Staunton. 

Enjoy a slower pace for a hot second. Get a cup of coffee and just sit with a friend. When you’re good and ready, stroll our downtown and check out the window displays.

These are the top seven ways to play before Santa comes to town:

1. Sparkles & Sweets | November 11, 6-9 p.m.

This special downtown event kicks off the holiday season with late shopping hours, carriage rides, a variety of street entertainment, and sweet treats at more than 30 participating businesses. While supplies last, a free “downtown. shopping. bag.” will be available at the City National Bank courtyard on Central Avenue and at Sunspots Pavilion.

2. Holiday Window Reveal | November 18

Staunton’s downtown shopkeepers compete in an annual window decorating contest, but the real winner is YOU! The creativity is always impressive, and an evening stroll to admire them is a great way to unwind and enjoy time with the ones you love this season.

#magicalmainstreet #fairyqueencity #finished! #lovestaunton

A photo posted by Pufferbellies Toys & Books (@pufferbellies) on

3. Celebration of Lights | November 21 through January 1

For families in the Shenandoah Valley, the annual trip to drive through Gypsy Hill Park during Celebration of Lights is a tradition. Amazingly, it’s free! The 214 acres will feature lighted holiday displays and creations from 5 to 11 p.m. nightly. Perhaps the best thing about Celebration of Lights is that it’s made possible by community organizations, churches, and individuals who claim a space to decorate. 

4. Small Business Saturday | November 26

Why not abstain from the Black Friday chaos and #ShopLocal on #SmallBusinessSaturday? Our downtown shops will be overflowing with great cheer and deals, carriage rides from Classic Carriage will be offered, and your first two hours of parking at the Wharf lot and the Johnson Street garage are FREE! Plus, it always feels so good to support the “mom and pop” shops, doesn’t it? Lend a hand!

5. Staunton Christmas Parade | November 28, 7 p.m.

“Magical Main Street” is the theme for this year’s Christmas parade and ASC’s Scrooge will be the Grand Marshall. It’s the annual showcase of holiday-themed parade floats, marching bands, local organizations, and of course, Santa Claus.

6. American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse

Oh, the fantastic acts you need to see this season! 

The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris, Adapted for the Stage by Joe Mantella
The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Ginna Hoben
A Christmas Carole by Charles Dickens, Adapted for the Stage by Jim Warren

7. Historic Staunton Foundation’s 44th Annual Holiday House Tour | December 3, 5 p.m. and December 4, 1 p.m.

Come along and celebrate the diversity of Staunton’s architecture as you walk a section of the Newtown Neighborhood. Five distinct private homes will be showcased and discussed.

Cheers to a merry and bright season in Staunton!

 

Staunton: One of the Best Small Towns in Virginia

Cradled by the Blue Ridge and surrounded by massive national forests and vast wilderness areas, the Shenandoah Valley town of Staunton has endless appeal. One of the oldest settlements in the Blue Ridge, the Victorian-era town is a living museum. Staunton was largely spared the destruction unleashed on other locations in the Shenandoah Valley by … Continue reading Staunton: One of the Best Small Towns in Virginia

Crabtree Falls is the highest in the Virginia Blue Ridge, and a very popular hiking destination. Karen Blaha
Crabtree Falls is the highest in the Virginia Blue Ridge, and a very popular hiking destination. Karen Blaha

Cradled by the Blue Ridge and surrounded by massive national forests and vast wilderness areas, the Shenandoah Valley town of Staunton has endless appeal. One of the oldest settlements in the Blue Ridge, the Victorian-era town is a living museum. Staunton was largely spared the destruction unleashed on other locations in the Shenandoah Valley by Union troops during the Civil War—most of the buildings in Staunton’s downtown area are more than a century old, and the town’s residential neighborhoods are still dotted with elegant 18th and 19th century homes. A bustling commercial hub even during the colonial-era, Staunton still lures visitors with its architecturally stunning downtown—now lined with eclectic boutiques, inviting eateries, and cozy tasting rooms pouring locally produced wine and craft beer.

Beyond the proudly preserved architectural wonders, Staunton’s rich past is still evident all over town. Staunton was a stop along the Great Wilderness Road, a southward route used by newly arrived European immigrants as portal to the frontier until the middle of the 19th century—a thoroughfare that later became the Valley Pike, now Route 11. Staunton’s Frontier Culture Museum is a living-history, open-air museum that brings the past to life, demonstrating the daily lifestyles of the Valley’s early settlers through original farmsteads and costumed interpreters.

Marquis Building by Warren Faught
Marquis Building by Warren Faught

One of America’s most influential presidents also called Staunton home: Woodrow Wilson was born in the town in 1865, and the 28th president’s home still adorns a hill in Staunton’s Gospel Historic District, now maintained as the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum.

For outdoor lovers, options in Staunton are almost endless. The strategically placed, mountain-fringed town is the ideal launch pad for a bounty of outdoor adventures. Staunton is flanked by two massive national forests—the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests—long, slender slices of wilderness stretching from one end of Virginia to the other, laden with recreational opportunities. You also have quick access to the spectacular Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway, the most scenic drive in the state.

Staunton is surrounded by incredible hiking trails, like this one near Crabtree Falls, that are particularly scenic in the fall. Karen Blaha
Staunton is surrounded by incredible hiking trails, like this one near Crabtree Falls, that are particularly scenic in the fall. Karen Blaha

The town is also ringed by a collection of vast roadless wilderness areas traversed by extensive trail systems. Just about 20-miles west of Staunton, the 19,290-acre Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness is crisscrossed by 37 miles of trails and loaded with craggy peaks and laced with trout-blessed streams. Just south of town, the 10,090-acre Saint Mary’s Wilderness is flush with 27-miles of trails—capped off by high peaks including Cellar, Bald, and Big Spy mountains—and spider-webbed by gushing mountain streams culminating in cascading waterfalls.

Staunton provides easy access to two of the most scenic byways in the state—and arguably, on the East Coast. Just north of town is the entrance to Skyline Drive, the vista-rich, 105-mile thoroughfare bisecting Virginia’s 200,000-acre Shenandoah National Park, offering access to the area’s 500 miles of trails. Almost immediately after entering the park’s less-frequented southern section, Skyline Drive also intersects the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail, which rambles through the park for 101 miles.

Staunton, Virginia, is located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, serving as the perfect base camp to explore the region. Malee Oot
Staunton, Virginia, is located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, serving as the perfect base camp to explore the region. Malee Oot

In Rockfish Gap, 20 miles from Staunton, Skyline Drive also merges into the southbound Blue Ridge Parkway, the iconic byway running 469-miles from the Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. Some of the most spectacular sites along the entire parkway are in the northernmost section—just minutes from Staunton. First, the Humpback Rocks Recreation Area offers access to a range of hiking trails, with options for quick leg-stretchers or extensive loops. The massive 3,080-foot rock formation known as Humpback Rocks is also touted as one of the parkway’s premier vistas—and one of the most popular.

Just after Humpback Rocks is another treasure: The Sherando Lake Recreation Area is one of the byway’s most inviting detours. The 25-acre, spring-fed lake is edged by hiking trails, leafy campsites, and a sandy swimming beach. Slightly further south, the parkway also offers access to the one of the most stunning waterfalls in the east—and the highest in the Virginia Blue Ridge—Crabtree Falls. Two trailheads just a few miles from the parkway offer hikers intimate access to the cascades plunging 1,800-foot course to the Tye River.

Black Dog Bikes in Staunton is a great resource for cycling in the region. Malee Oot
Black Dog Bikes in Staunton is a great resource for cycling in the region. Malee Oot

The vast tracts of wilderness and extensive byways accessible from Staunton also make the locale a hub for cyclists. Options for bike rides abound—from two-wheeled historical tours of Staunton to longer circuits through the bucolic landscape of the Shenandoah Valley. Find a number of local circuits mapped out by Bike the Valley. In Staunton, local cyclists congregate at Black Dog Bikes in the evenings from spring to early fall for weekly rides, with more leisurely loops on Tuesdays and fast-paced, longer circuits on Thursdays as well as Women on Wheels riding every Wednesday. The town’s cycle culture is also celebrated every October with the Shenandoah Fall Foliage Bike Festival, a weekend of rides showcasing the region’s vibrant seasonal color. You’ll find routes suitable for riders of all levels—from lazy, 12-mile loops to century circuits full of brag-worthy climbs.

The Shenandoah Valley isn’t just a playground for cyclists. The verdant valley is also sprinkled with farms, wineries and craft breweries—linked by routes like the Fields of Gold Farm Trail, the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail, and the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. In Staunton, the bounty of the valley is showcased at the Augusta Farmers Market (Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 7 a.m.-noon, April to November) and celebrated by the town’s vibrant farm-to-table restaurant movement.

But, it’s not just local eateries highlighting the abundance of locally sourced, seasonally rotating ingredients—Staunton has also become a hub of craft beer. The town is now home to three different craft breweries—Queen City Brewing, Redbeard Brewing, and the Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company.

Eclectic microbrews, a seasonally evolving and locally inspired food scene, and a charming, historic downtown—all minutes away from vast wilderness areas, national parks, and forests. The next time you find yourself in Staunton, sipping a freshly poured craft brew while recounting backcountry Blue Ridge adventures, you too may wonder, is this the best kept secret in Virginia?

Originally written by RootsRated for Staunton VA.

 

Five Ways to Holiday Prep in Staunton

We love fall. The colors, the flavors … the shopping! It’s the perfect time to get away, and you can make a weekend whatever you want it to be: wine and food, shopping, the arts, outdoor adventure … we have all of that and more in Staunton. Here are five ways to prep for the perfect … Continue reading Five Ways to Holiday Prep in Staunton

We love fall. The colors, the flavors … the shopping! It’s the perfect time to get away, and you can make a weekend whatever you want it to be: wine and food, shopping, the arts, outdoor adventure … we have all of that and more in Staunton.

The Shenandoah Valley offers one of the best displays of fall colors in the country. m01229
The Shenandoah Valley offers one of the best displays of fall colors in the country. m01229

Here are five ways to prep for the perfect Thanksgiving and Christmas when you take a mid-autumn break and head our way.

  1.  Our sweet boutiques are overflowing with beautiful seasonal decor and gifts. A handcrafted keepsake from Sunspots Studios makes a great gift. Will you choose to blow your own glass pumpkin or an ornament? Here are a few other suggestions to find that perfect Holiday trimming…

2.  Taste before you serve at Ox Eye Vineyards Tasting Room in downtown Staunton. Find the perfect wine for your Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, and don’t forget a dessert pairing.

3.  Some of the best bread you will ever get your hands on comes from Newtown Baking. Grab a sandwich while you’re in town and take a few loaves or rolls to go. They’re the perfect addition to your meal, and they freeze well. Newtown suggests popping it into a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes “to revive some of the crispiness of the crust.”

4.  The American Shakespeare Center Blackfriars Playhouse offers performances every weekend and most weeknights. Treat yourself to a showing of Twelfth Night, King Lear, or The Rise of Queen Margaret (Henry VI, Part 2) and then swing by the gift shop to buy a gift certificate for someone special. 

Insider’s Tip – ASC’s Christmas performances of A Christmas Carol, The Santaland Diaries, and The Twelve Dates of Christmas sell out quickly, so get your tickets ASAP!

Good morning from the beautiful #BlackfriarsPlayhouse. #americanshakespearecenter #theatre #shakespeare #staunton

A photo posted by American Shakespeare Center (@americanshakespearecenter) on

5.  Finally, you’ll need sleep and the gift of a night away is much appreciated to overworked friends, parents of small children, and those with a love of travel. Choose a bed and breakfast, hotel, or cabin for yourself. If you approve, inquire about a gift certificate to give.

Cheers to your holiday prep weekend! We hope you #LOVEStaunton!

 

Staunton After Dark: Tastes and Tours to Savor and Explore

Unlike some cities, Staunton comes alive after five. Tasting and touring your way around after dark gives you a whole new perspective of just how great the Queen City really is. Nights on the town anywhere are best experienced with others, so bring your whole crew or make it a date night! Manse by Flashlight … Continue reading Staunton After Dark: Tastes and Tours to Savor and Explore

Unlike some cities, Staunton comes alive after five. Tasting and touring your way around after dark gives you a whole new perspective of just how great the Queen City really is. Nights on the town anywhere are best experienced with others, so bring your whole crew or make it a date night!

Manse by Flashlight

Did you know Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States, was born in Staunton? His Presidential library and the manse he was born in are located on Coalter Street. The manse will be open November 11 and 12 for flashlight tours between 7 and 9 p.m. If you’ve toured Wilson’s birthplace before, we can guarantee you’ve never seen it like this.

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum at Night
Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum at Night

Ghosts of Staunton

Ghosts of Staunton Tours
Ghosts of Staunton Tours
HURRY! >> While it’s doubtful you’ll encounter anything too scary at Mr. Wilson’s house, the next tour promises the exact opposite. Ghosts of

Staunton offers three tours to choose from, but of course, we recommend trying all three. For more history, choose the Downtown Historical Walking Ghost Tour. To focus on the super cool lore of the Depot, try the Haunted Depot Tour. For a great overview of all of Staunton’s spooky tales, join in the Haunts of the Queen City Ghost Walk. All three occur Fridays and Saturdays at 7, 8, and 9 p.m. during the month of October.

 

Traipse the Town

“Take your brain for a walk” at dusk when you use Traipse, an app that unlocks the city with history and quirky, fun brain teasers. 

Dine Around

While it’s certainly lovely to enjoy a meal in one spot, why not jazz up your night with a dine around featuring a different course at various restaurants? For example:

Drinks, Appetizer, Soup, or Salad: Zynodoa (115 E. Beverley)

Main Course: Aioli (29 N. Augusta)

Dessert: Emilio’s Italian Restaurant (23 E. Beverley)

Delicious blueberry stuff! 🍸

A photo posted by Laura Peters (@peterpants) on

Dancin’ in the Dark

Bruce Springsteen would be so proud of you. Staunton has plenty of places to choose from for live music. Tap your toes or all out shake your bon-bon, for which Ricky Martin would be equally proud. A few ideas:

Baja Bean Co. 

Queen City Brewing

Redbeard Brewing

Byers Street Bistro

The Pompei Lounge

Mill Street Grill

 

Think You Could Bike the Entire Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail?

Imagine riding your bike on quiet country roads with views of forested hills on one side and rolling, pastoral fields on the other. Add refined vineyards and quaint B&Bs. Sound like an expensive trip to Bordeaux, Tuscany, or even the Napa Valley? Nope, it’s right here in the eastern United States. That’s right, two-wheeled adventure … Continue reading Think You Could Bike the Entire Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail?

OxEye Vineyard Tasting Room in Downtown Staunton
Ox-Eye Vineyards Tasting Room in Downtown Staunton

Imagine riding your bike on quiet country roads with views of forested hills on one side and rolling, pastoral fields on the other. Add refined vineyards and quaint B&Bs. Sound like an expensive trip to Bordeaux, Tuscany, or even the Napa Valley? Nope, it’s right here in the eastern United States. That’s right, two-wheeled adventure at its best can be found locally along the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail. Riding the SVWT—like any great bike tour—doesn’t require a particular agenda or pace. Instead, savor the small things and soak up the experiences along the way.

The trail travels approximately 200 miles (though that varies, depending on how many detours you take), through 19 different vineyards. The Veramar Vineyard in Berryville, Va., forms the northern end while Blue Ridge Vineyard in Eagle Rock, Va., anchors the southern end. Although this tour could easily be done in a long weekend, it is best to give yourself some time to truly take in all of what the Shenandoah Valley has to offer. The SVWT lends itself to a casual 5-7 day ride at a leisurely pace.

To really do the trail right, embrace the many worthwhile stops and cultural experiences found within the Shenandoah Valley. On the northern end, riders will probably want to follow roads paralleling the North Fork Shenandoah River. There you’ll find the North Mountain Vineyard and Winery in Maurertown, Muse Vineyards in Woodstock, and the second oldest winery in the state, Shenandoah Vineyards, in Edinburg. Moving further south along the SVWT, you might want to spend some time checking out the spectacular large chamber rooms and unworldly stalactite and stalagmite collection found at Luray Caverns before sampling some of the offerings from Wisteria Farm and Vineyards in Stanley, Va.

Barren Ridge Vineyard
Barren Ridge Vineyard

The northern border of the Shenandoah National Park is found just outside of Luray and following Skyline Drive through the park is a good option as you make your way south toward the college town of Harrisonburg, home of James Madison University. On this leg of the trip you can take in all the splendor of a national park from the saddle of your bike. Harrisonburg would be a good option for a lunch stop. If you need to replenish any supplies or tune up your ride, the Shenandoah Bicycle Company and Rocktown Bikes are located right downtown. Restaurants such as Local Chop and Grill House, Clementine, The Joshua Wilton House, and the Little Grill Collective serve a wide variety of quality food throughout the price spectrum. Just outside of Harrisonburg, you’ll find the beautiful CrossKeys Vineyards and Bluestone Vineyard.

About 25 miles south of Harrisonburg is the town of Staunton, which is one of the most bike-friendly towns in the Shenandoah and one of “America’s Favorite Mountain Towns,” according to Travel + Leisure. Staunton is another great stop on the trail, and perhaps the best place to stay overnight. The town hosts festivals like the Shenandoah Fall Foliage Bike Festival, which is one of America’s best fall bike rides.

Staunton is close to many outdoor attractions, including the 1,200-foot Crabtree Falls, the highest vertical cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi. Another must-do side trip is Humpback Rock, a massive rocky summit with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. With both St. Mary’s Wilderness and the Blue Ridge Parkway nearby, Staunton is ideal for an active rest day filled with excursions.

shen-valley-bike-1

It’s also home to an attractive lineup of downtown restaurants and three breweries, should you want to switch things up. If you want to stick to wine, choose from two vineyards, one of which is located right in downtown, Ox-Eye Vineyards. Restaurants such as Aioli Mediterranean Tapas, Byers Street Bistro, The Shack, and Zynodoa have become destinations for foodies. Queen City Brewing, Redbeard Brewing, and Shenandoah Valley Brewing serve up a wide variety of local craft beer.

Walking throughout downtown, browsing the artisan shops, and taking in the historic architecture provides a nice break from time in the saddle. When you’re finally ready to settle in for the night, there is no shortage of accommodations with many hotels, motels, campgrounds, and over a dozen B&B’s such as the Frederick House to choose from.

As you continue to work your way south down the SVWT you’ll be surrounded on both sides by vast stretches of wilderness in the George Washington Forest. Depending on your level of comfort, you might want to explore some of the nearly endless miles of forest service roads found here. A pure road bike with racing skinnies would be outmatched on most of these roads, but with a fatter tire more suited for touring you’ll be fine.

The last big town that you’ll pass near is Lexington, and in that vicinity you have Jump Mountain Vineyard and Lexington Valley Vineyard. Like Harrisonburg and Staunton, Lexington would make a fine stopping spot with all kinds of amenities available and loads of nearby attractions. Restaurants like the Red Hen and Haywood’s serve farm-to-table style meals with most ingredients sourced locally in the Shenandoah Valley. Prime outdoor attractions like Natural Bridge, Chimney Rock Overlook, and the Blue Ridge Parkway are close by.

Originally written by RootsRated for Staunton VA.

Fall Flavors: Four Field-to-Fork Gourmet Markets

Seasons are exciting! We love the changes in temperature, the visible transitions in our landscape, and the fall flavors of our field-to-fork gourmet markets. If you’re looking for something awesomely autumn, this is for you. Fill up, take something great to go, and don’t forget your craft beer, wine, specialty oils, or other gourmet sundries. 1. … Continue reading Fall Flavors: Four Field-to-Fork Gourmet Markets

Seasons are exciting! We love the changes in temperature, the visible transitions in our landscape, and the fall flavors of our field-to-fork gourmet markets. If you’re looking for something awesomely autumn, this is for you. Fill up, take something great to go, and don’t forget your craft beer, wine, specialty oils, or other gourmet sundries.

1. Farmhouse Kitchen & Wares | 101 W. Beverley Street

Truly farm to table!

A photo posted by Farmhouse Kitchen & Wares (@farmhousekitchenandwares) on

This sweet cafe and kitchen shop offers breakfast and lunch, and always has an eye on the fields for inspiration. “Healthy and hearty” salads include locally grown veggies. Choose one and then add on a seasonal vegetable soup for a fantastic taste of the Shenandoah Valley. A filling breakfast option is the European yogurt featuring local granola and honey.

Local providers include Geezer Farm, Edwards Sausage, Caramont Cheeses, and Wade’s Mill.

2. Lewis Creek Market | 300 Church Street

lewis-creek-market

Hot plates, cold plates, salads, and soups are daily options at Lewis Creek Market, but the flavors change all the time depending on what’s seasonally available. Vegan and gluten-free diners will find something tasty and healthy, as will hearty meat-eaters and vegetarians. With chilly fall days ahead, keep this warming soup in mind: A chowder of cauliflower, carrots, celery, onion, and Lima beans. Mmmm.

Local providers include Grazelen Farm, Shenandoah Peaks, Five Maple Farms, and MeadowCroft Farm.

3. George Bowers Grocery | 219 W. Beverley Street

Four Cheese Grilled Cheese.

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The burgers and hot dogs are the way to go at George Bowers. Load ’em up with fresh fixin’s and know they’re not only the best tasting, but the best for you. From nearby Polyface Farms, the pork even finds its way into soft tacos topped with housemade pico de gallo. 

Additional providers include Newtown Bakery and the Community Garden at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind.

4. Pennywhistle Provisions | 10 S. New Street

Healthy, happy chickens. #eggmobile #polyface #internlife #livethelifeyoulove

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Sure, you can “grab and go” at Pennywhistle, but know that it’s not fast food in the traditional sense of the phrase. The bread is homemade, the meats and vegetables are farm fresh, and it’s all prepared honestly by hardworking hands. “Food & Drink Post Haste” is the way they roll at Pennywhistle Provisions.

Local providers include Newtown Bakery, Polyface Farms, and the Community Garden at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind.

Looking for more farm-fresh favorites? Check out Downtown Staunton’s 10 Best Places to Dine.

How to Tack Three More Breweries on to Your Next Brew Ridge Trail Tour

While Virginia has rightfully emerged as one of the country’s premier wine producers, the Old Dominion State is no slouch when it comes to craft beer. Virginia’s Blue Ridge region is peppered with craft breweries, linked by bucolic beer trails just begging to be explored. In Albemarle and Nelson counties, the Brew Ridge Trail winds … Continue reading How to Tack Three More Breweries on to Your Next Brew Ridge Trail Tour

Downtown Staunton
Downtown Staunton

While Virginia has rightfully emerged as one of the country’s premier wine producers, the Old Dominion State is no slouch when it comes to craft beer. Virginia’s Blue Ridge region is peppered with craft breweries, linked by bucolic beer trails just begging to be explored. In Albemarle and Nelson counties, the Brew Ridge Trail winds past six different breweries, spread from Crozet south to Arrington. But the Brew Ridge Trail is just the beginning. Why stop after just a half-dozen pint savoring pit stops? Just a short hop from the trail, another beer trail awaits. The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail is centered in the historic Shenandoah Valley town of Staunton, which boasts a highly concentrated collection of craft breweries pouring an eclectic array of ales. So the next time you’re savoring inspired local brews with a Blue Ridge backdrop, why not stop and see what’s on tap at Staunton’s three breweries?

Redbeard Brewing Co.
Redbeard Brewing Co.

Start your tasting tour of Staunton at the Redbeard Brewing Company. Grab a seat in the bright and roomy taproom and sample from the brewery’s selection of meticulously crafted microbrews. Redbeard usually has just over half-dozen beers on tap, running the gamut of styles, from choices like the subtly fruity Blueberry Wheat Ale (5.5%), to the refreshing Citra Grisette Saison (3.8%), or the 221B Baker Brown (6.3%), a beer that just medaled at the Virginia Craft Brewers Cup. The tap list changes about every two months, and Redbeard regularly showcases newly concocted seasonal beers with release parties, like the upcoming celebration of autumn-inspired offerings like the Harvest Ale and the Sweet Potato Pie Porter, slated for late September.

Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co.
Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co.

Next, make your way over to Staunton’s Wharf Area Historic District and stop by the cozy taproom at the Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company. The four-year-old brewery has a well-rounded tap list, including rich, full-bodied brews like the Glenhaven Scottish Ale (5.2%) or the Buck and Ball Brown Ale (5.6%), along with European-inspired options like the Three Rivers Belgian (5.3%) and lighter, golden ales like the Long Meadow Kolsch (5.2%) and the ShenVal Lager (4.9%). Beyond the beers, with a laid-back, affable vibe, the homey taproom is also a place worth lingering—there are board games out for patrons to play, and pretzels on the bar to snack on.

The taproom also regularly turns into an intimate musical venue, showcasing regional artists. Home-brewers can also load up on essentials in the supply store attached to the tasting room—and the Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company even has a handful of beer recipes to peruse, from IPAs to porters.

Queen City Brewing
Queen City Brewing

Finish up just a few minutes from the heart of downtown Staunton at Queen City Brewing, touted as the town’s first post-Prohibition brewery. Sit at the bar or grab one of the umbrella-shaded outdoor tables and try not to be awestruck by the selection. With more than two dozen beers on tap, Queen City Brewing pours everything from the crisply drinkable Gypsy Gold (4.7% alcohol) lager, to fruity, seasonal brews like the Grapefruit Shandy (4.5%), to heavier selections like the Black Rabbit Stout (5.3%), a nod to Ireland’s most iconic dark stout.

But it’s not just beer on tap. The place also has options like the Ale-tail Mimosa (7%), Ginger Beer (6.2%), Blackberry Sangria (7%), and even serves a number of non-alcoholic, homemade soft drinks, including birch beer and cherry cream soda. At Queen City Brewing, aspiring brewers also can try their hand at crafting a batch of flavorful beer to take home—with more than 80 different taste-tested recipes to pore over for inspiration. The brewery also regularly showcases live music with Open Mike Nights on Wednesday and Friday night Picks n’ Pints sessions.

Still need an encore? Continue along the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail.  Just 15 miles east of Staunton in the town of Waynesboro, try a tasting at the Seven Arrows Brewing Company. Sample from golden brews like the Aurora Pils (6%), heavier beers like the seasonal Hermenator Dopplebock (7.2%), or branch out and try Barefoot Bucha, an organic, Fair Trade, craft-brewed kombucha. Swing by on a Saturday morning for the brewery’s weekly Om Brew, a yoga session capped off with a craft beer.

Originally written by RootsRated for Staunton VA.