#LOVEstaunton

#LOVEstaunton

Your Leaf Peeping Paradise

If you’re in search of those perfect fall colors, look no further than the Shenandoah Valley and its Queen City, Staunton. Nestled between the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest and Shenandoah National Park, the mountain town is the just 20 miles from the entrance of both the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. These … Continue reading Your Leaf Peeping Paradise

Fall in Staunton Photo by Warren Fraught

If you’re in search of those perfect fall colors, look no further than the Shenandoah Valley and its Queen City, Staunton. Nestled between the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest and Shenandoah National Park, the mountain town is the just 20 miles from the entrance of both the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. These scenic routes make for a great driving tour offering scenic overlooks with breathtaking mountain views ideal for photo ops and picnics. They also provide access to a number of the area’s most popular hiking destinations for all ages and abilities. Here are two that will offer those stunning fall colors you’re clamoring for:

From Skyline Drive try Blackrock Summit, a geological wonder that’s an easy 1-mile loop. From the summit of boulder-strewn Blackrock enjoy views that extend for miles in multiple directions. 

From the Blue Ridge Parkway, try Humpback Rocks; a challenging two-mile hike offering amazing views from the top of this popular rock outcropping. For those looking for an easy leg-stretcher start at the Humpback Visitor Center and take the Mountain Farm Trail (.25 mile) leading to the Outdoor Farm Museum where you can tour a 19th century log cabin and outbuildings complete with costumed interpreters providing demonstrations of subsistence farmers. Another nearby hike, Catoctin Trail, starts at the Humpback Rocks picnic area and is an easy walk (.3 mile) leading you to an overlook of the Shenandoah Valley. Spend the afternoon discovering the region’s flora and fauna culminating in a picnic lunch. 

Route 11
Or take the road(s) less traveled through the Shenandoah Valley. Traveling to Staunton–headed south–hop on Route 11 which parallels Interstate 81 and is a pleasant drive through charming small towns. Along the way, and not too far off Route 11 you’ll find: Route 11 Potato Chips, Luray Caverns and Dayton Farmers Market. From your home-base of Staunton you can continue south on Route 11 to Lexington with a stop at another natural wonder: Natural Bridge.

Route 250
From Staunton take Route 250 west to Monterey. Driving through the town of Churchville consider a stop at T-bone Tooters for lunch and then a jaunt at the top of Shenandoah Mountain. From the top of the mountain, is a popular viewing area and features an easy half-mile, winding-trail that offers an access point to the gently rolling Shenandoah Mountain Trail, and Ramsey’s Draft Wilderness.

Route 252
Another scenic route from Staunton is Route 252 toward Lexington. Start your morning at the Staunton Farmers’ Market for breakfast and some shopping. Take Middlebrook Road from Downtown Staunton (passing Sunspots Studios) and make your way through the small towns of Middlebrook and Newport before hitting the historic Wade’s Mill. Conclude your scenic drive at Rockbridge Vineyard before you heading back to Staunton for a farm to table dinner and a show at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse.

Staunton’s 10 Best Fall Flavors

  The official first day of fall was September 22, but we’ve been salivating—for weeks—at the thought of apples, pumpkins, and anything with a hint of spice and cinnamon. If your palate enjoys these flavors, too, come to Staunton this fall for a full-fledged dine-and-drink-around of epic proportions. Our 10 best fall flavors are waiting … Continue reading Staunton’s 10 Best Fall Flavors

 

Pumpkin Spice Muffins from Paradise Donuts

The official first day of fall was September 22, but we’ve been salivating—for weeks—at the thought of apples, pumpkins, and anything with a hint of spice and cinnamon. If your palate enjoys these flavors, too, come to Staunton this fall for a full-fledged dine-and-drink-around of epic proportions. Our 10 best fall flavors are waiting …

  1. Chef Said Rhafiri’s pan-seared maple leaf duck breast at Aioli is served with butternut squash parmesan risotto, vegetable tempura, and blackberry reduction. It’s one of the finer meals you can enjoy in downtown Staunton this fall.
  2. We’ve come to know that many travelers make their way to Staunton just to eat. Yes, our meals are THAT good. One of their destinations is The Shack, where Chef Ian Boden is inspired to create daily menus based on what the growers are delivering. Watch for delightful treats like Rappahannock oysters, pumpkin pierogi, and apple fry pie!
  3. A name like “Harvest Rigatoni” says it all. At Byers Street Bistro, you can order up this savory dish that includes sweet Italian sausage, roasted Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, fried sage, parmesan cheese, and a garlic white wine sauce. 
  4. Cast iron cornbread is a southern staple and Zynodoa pairs it with house-made Gala apple butter. That’s just one of the special entries you’ll find on their ever-changing menu. You may also want to try the mixed green salad topped with Malcolm’s Market radishes, cucumbers, butternut squash, toasted almonds, Wayside Farm ginger, and herb vinaigrette.
  5. We’re always amazed at the ingenuity and think-outside-the-boxedness of Chef Mike Lund of Mike Lund Food & LunDch. You never know what incredible dish he will whip up, like maybe giant fennel-spiced garbanzo balls with spaghetti squash covered in herb marinara and shaved parmesan? It’s a veggie, gluten-free option that capitalizes on the season. And it’s delicious!
  6. If you love donuts, Paradise Donuts has to be on your list. Apple spice and caramel apple flavors are already rolling out, and maple is one of the all-time best sellers. New for this year are pumpkin spice muffins. You’ll want to arrive early to ensure you score one of these tasty seasonal treats!
  7. Moriarty Day is one for your calendar. It’s the day Redbeard Brewing Company releases their latest edition of Moriarty, a barrel-aged Imperial Stout. This year’s Moriarty Day is October 18, and this year’s pour has been settling in Bourbon barrels from John J. Bowman, Eagle Rare, and Buffalo Trace. 
  8. It’s no surprise that Staunton pulls off a flawless transformation to become the quaint wizarding hamlet of Hogsmeade in September. What may be a surprise is that Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company is tapping their Mischief Butterscotch Ale to coincide with the Queen City Mischief and Magic weekend (previously known as Queen City Potter Party … as in Harry Potter).
  9. Queen City Brewing has two delicious beverages that are perfect for the fall season. Try the hard-pressed Apple Ale or Cranberry Ale, both 7% ABV, and both quite refreshing.
  10. Fall flavored coffee and pastries are likely found in several of our favorite morning hot spots, but we like The By & By for their surprises like pumpkin rolls, peanut butter pie, and of course, their Oktoberfest celebration of craft beer and brats. Prost!

Eat well and enjoy the autumn season in Staunton and the Shenandoah Valley!

Spend Your Football Weekends in Staunton

If you’re headed to the Shenandoah Valley for a JMU, VMI, or perhaps even a UVA football game this fall, consider staying in Staunton. We’re a short and scenic drive to nearby gridirons, and a hip, historic overnight, too! Avoid the crowds and stay at one of our accommodations, which are more likely to have availability … Continue reading Spend Your Football Weekends in Staunton

Spend Your Football Weekend in Staunton

If you’re headed to the Shenandoah Valley for a JMU, VMI, or perhaps even a UVA football game this fall, consider staying in Staunton. We’re a short and scenic drive to nearby gridirons, and a hip, historic overnight, too!

Avoid the crowds and stay at one of our accommodations, which are more likely to have availability than the host cities. In downtown, choose from the Stonewall Jackson Hotel, The Bard’s Nest, and The Storefront, all within walking distance of tasty food and beverages. For those early tailgaters the Comfort Inn is a great option with easy access to Interstates 64 & 81. 

Pregame with a filling breakfast at The By & By, Blue Mountain Coffees, or Kathy’s, then head over to Gypsy Hill Park for a warm-up and stretch. Walk the trails, feed the ducks, and let the kids run off a little bit of energy before it’s time to tailgate. Gypsy Hill is also an excellent place to land after the game. Perhaps a post-game picnic?

Speaking of tailgating, you’ll need to stock up before you head off to the game. Pick up a tasty variety of salads, pastas, and sandwiches from Farmhouse Kitchen & Wares, Pampered Palate or Cranberry’s. All of which offer fresh, homemade eats that can easily be taken on the road. To quench your thirst, pick-up a six-pack of local craft beer at Shenandoah Hops or maybe some Virginia wine at The Wine Cellar

Celebrate your victory at one of our craft breweries or lively restaurants, like Baja Bean Co., Shenandoah Pizza, or Byers Street Bistro. If your team wins, you’ll want to be close to your accommodation before you start celebrating. Should your team lose (gasp!), blow off some steam with your own hot air by blowing glass at Sunspots Studios.

Go Dukes, Hoos, and Keydets! We wish you a successful, winning season!

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 … Continue reading 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!).

A 101: The Virginia Food Truck Battle & Beer Competition

The smells from food trucks on city streets are always so enticing, aren’t they? Think of a field full of food trucks. Now consider that they’re truly bringing their “A game” because such a gathering could only mean one thing: competition. Now in its third year, The Virginia Food Truck Battle & Beer Competition will … Continue reading A 101: The Virginia Food Truck Battle & Beer Competition

The smells from food trucks on city streets are always so enticing, aren’t they? Think of a field full of food trucks. Now consider that they’re truly bringing their “A game” because such a gathering could only mean one thing: competition.

Now in its third year, The Virginia Food Truck Battle & Beer Competition will be held Sunday, September 3rd to benefit The Madee Project, a local non-profit foundation providing support to families facing their own battle: pediatric cancer. The event has grown with more food trucks than before vying for Grand Champion status. They cook well, you eat well, and The Madee Project benefits well. It’s a win-win-win.

HOW IT WORKS

  • Food trucks from across the Commonwealth are split into three zones.
  • VIP ticket holders act as the judges and receive a sample of each truck’s cuisine (six total per zone) and a sample from each of the six breweries in the beer garden. VIPs cast their votes and a winner from each zone plus one brewery is proclaimed. The three zone winners then deliver their wares to a panel of judges who name a Grand Champion food truck.
  • VIPs enter at 11:30 am before the general admission ticket holders are permitted access at 12:30 p.m.
  • General admission tickets provide entry to the Frontier Culture Museum and access to entertainment and children’s activities. Trucks, breweries, and wineries are essentially vendors for a la carte purchases starting at 12:30 pm.

BUY TICKETS
VIP: $40 advance; $45 day-of
General Admission: $10 advance; $15 day-of; free for children five and younger

THE FOOD TRUCKS

These are the known contenders as of this writing. What isn’t known is which trucks will be in which zones until the day of the event. Oh, the suspense!

  • Delicias Marina – Waynesboro
  • Eats on the Streets – Staunton  
  • Grillizza (16 meals tax due) – Broadway
  • Farm Fresh Fixins – Staunton
  • Rock’s Money Pit BBQ- Augusta Co.
  • El Chilango Mexican Grill – Nelson Co.
  • Bella Luna Food Truck – Harrisonburg
  • Cuz Em  Southern Cooking & Seafood – Harrisonburg
  • Dirty Bean – Staunton  
  • Grapevine – Richmond  
  • The Saucy Bird -Staunton  
  • El Budare Grill – Roanoke  
  • Hardman’s Smoke Stack – Lynchburg  
  • Truck 121 -Harrisonburg  
  • Mama’s Caboose-  Harrisonburg
  •  Paella Perfecta – Harrisonburg  
  • Mouth Wide Open – C’ville  
  • Sooners – Stuarts Draft

THE CRAFT BEER

Six breweries will compete for #winning status:

  • AleWerks of Williamsburg (last year’s winner)
  • Seven Arrows of Waynesboro
  • Basic City of Waynesboro
  • Shenandoah Valley Brewing of Staunton
  • Pale Fire of Harrinsonburg 
  • Great Valley Farm of Lexington

COOL THINGS TO KNOW

Most important…BRING YOUR ID!

Need cash? There’s a Farmers & Merchants Bank mobile ATM on site.

Have creative kids? Let them PAINT A CAR, courtesy of Valley Cars! Magic Shows and Freckles & Friends will be performing. Along with several games to take part in!

Is the phone going dead? There’s a charging station, courtesy of Cricket Wireless.

Not much of a craft beer fan? Coors Lite will be available for purchase.

Not a beer fan at all? Ox-Eye and Rockbridge Vineyards will be pouring their wines by the glass as well as selling bottles.

Love selfies and capturing the moment? There’s a hashtag for that: #VAFoodTruckBattle.

Staunton Music Festival – 20 Years Strong

Now in its 20th anniversary season, the festival–known in the community as “SMF”–boasts not only an incredible range of classical and contemporary repertoire, but also a diverse lineup of performers from all over the world. SMF, begun in the late ’90s by Artistic Director Carsten Schmidt as a weekend of music among friends, has risen … Continue reading Staunton Music Festival – 20 Years Strong

Now in its 20th anniversary season, the festival–known in the community as “SMF”–boasts not only an incredible range of classical and contemporary repertoire, but also a diverse lineup of performers from all over the world.

SMF, begun in the late ’90s by Artistic Director Carsten Schmidt as a weekend of music among friends, has risen above its humble beginnings to become one of the region’s most innovative and accomplished chamber music organizations. Although SMF presents recognizable classic works such as Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (which will be played this year during the finale), contemporary pieces by visionaries such as Eugene Kurtz and composer-in-residence Moritz Eggert are also at the forefront of the festival.

“There are some festivals where it’s just contemporary music, or it’s just baroque, or it’s just strings. But when you come to a Staunton performance, you get a little bit of everything,” violist Katie Overfield-Zook said of SMF during a recent interview.

The innovative programming brings audience members from all over the country and performances continue through Sunday, August 20. For more information, visit www.stauntonmusicfestival.com.

Staunton Raises a Glass to Virginia Craft Beer

Celebrate entrepreneurship, ingenuity, perseverance, love of place, and so much more when you celebrate Virginia Craft Beer month with us in Staunton. Bedlam, embracing chaos. A post shared by Taylor Kuykendall (@taykuy) on Feb 25, 2017 at 9:41am PST Bedlam Brewery Staunton’s newest brewery has become a favorite on the local circuit, and it may … Continue reading Staunton Raises a Glass to Virginia Craft Beer

Celebrate entrepreneurship, ingenuity, perseverance, love of place, and so much more when you celebrate Virginia Craft Beer month with us in Staunton.

Bedlam, embracing chaos.

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Bedlam Brewery

Staunton’s newest brewery has become a favorite on the local circuit, and it may be thanks to not only a new variety of craft beer flavors, but also the wood-fired pizza! There’s more than just excellent pizza and an umbrella-filled patio. Come for the brunch, unexpected delights like seafood and poutin, and of course, live music every now and again. Feel free to bring your pooch. The patio is dog-friendly.

Redbeard Brewing Co.

You will never tire of visiting Redbeard because their beer changes all the time. “Small batches of big beer” is their slogan, and they work hard to craft new brews for their dedicated patrons and those new visitors, too. When you go, you’ll be able to choose from about eight house-brewed options, including beers “as close to ‘Real Ale’ as you will find in Virginia, as all are warm fermented, unfiltered, and naturally carbonated in the kegs they are served from.”

Bring your own food or have something delivered to you at the brewery, as food is not served. Live music, however, is. Watch the calendar.

Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company

Many craft brewers are happy to share some of their knowledge and help others along, but the folks at Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company take that generous spirit a step farther by offering homebrewing supplies as well. Craft your own flight to see which of their beers you favor, and then take a stab and brewing your own.

There are no food options on site but you’re welcome to bring your own or order from the Farmhouse Restaurant on Fridays and Saturdays. Happy brewing!

Beer'o'clock? 🍻 from @qcbrewing in Staunton, VA. #vafoodie #vabeer 📷: @travelexperiencelive

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Queen City Brewing

Thirty-two taps could be overwhelming to some, but we would suggest you try a flight (or two or three) to figure out which of Queen City’s “on tap” varieties will be your favorites. With more than 80 recipes to pull from, you can expect a healthy rotation of options pretty regularly. Homemade soda, fruit wines, and hard-pressed apple ale are also available. If you’d like to try your hand at the brewing process, ask to become the brewer.

Like Redbeard, food is not available, but you’re welcome to bring your own or order-in. A food truck is on-site every Friday, and live music rings out every Wednesday and Friday night.

Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail

Our four breweries are just a tip of the Beerwerks Trail. Hop on over to Waynesboro, south to Lexington, and north to Harrisonburg for 10 more. We’re a convenient location to hub-and-spoke your way along the trail and try all of the breweries in a long weekend. See the map.

Freshly stocked cooler! Come build ya a 6-pack. We're open until 4:00!

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Shenandoah Hops

After you’ve tried our breweries, visit Shenandoah Hops to taste more Virginia craft beer and wine. Friday tastings are complimentary, and the knowledgeable staff can help you find something perfect for your palate. They’ll also fill any growler, so stock up!

Michael Allman to Play Shows in Staunton Area

Musical talent often runs in families, which holds true for the Allmans. Michael Allman, eldest son of famed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame star Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band, has the same vocal abilities as his father. So do three of his four other half siblings.  In 2013 Tampa Bay Times wrote … Continue reading Michael Allman to Play Shows in Staunton Area

Musical talent often runs in families, which holds true for the Allmans. Michael Allman, eldest son of famed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame star Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band, has the same vocal abilities as his father. So do three of his four other half siblings. 

In 2013 Tampa Bay Times wrote Michael Allman “looks and sounds almost identical to legendary rocker Gregg Allman, but the son is determined to cut a path of his own …” When asked in 2012 by Miami New Times to define his music, Michael said, “basically the same style as my father, Southern rock-ish blues with a twist, I guess.” You be the judge.

Michael Allman

Michael Allman Plays Staunton Area

Catch Michael Allman and the Nicholson Brothers Band for three performances this week!

August 11 and 12, Allman and the Nicholson Brothers Band will play Valley Smokehouse on Beverley Street. Seating is open at 6 p.m. and the show starts promptly at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 or $30 for VIP seating, and available for purchase at Shenandoah Hops and Beverley Street Convenience.

On August 13, catch Allman and the Nicholson Brothers Band at Basic City Beer Co. in Waynesboro. The show starts at 6 p.m. and tickets are $20. A food truck will be on site for convenient dining, and don’t forget to try a craft beer or two.

Local favorite Crystal Armentrout will open each show. Her style is a great accompaniment to what follows her: rock and roll.

To learn more about all of the musicians, the shows themselves, or to purchase tickets online head over to ShenandoahConcerts.com.

Four Quirky 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 … Continue reading Four Quirky 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 Kids to Do in Staunton

Summer travels, spring break, and impromptu days off here and there often leave parents looking for things to do that won’t break the bank. Ta da! We’ve rounded up a list of free things for kids to do in Staunton and it’s all for you. Pin, Facebook, bookmark, or print this for future reference; we’re … Continue reading Free Things for Kids to Do in Staunton

Summer travels, spring break, and impromptu days off here and there often leave parents looking for things to do that won’t break the bank. Ta da! We’ve rounded up a list of free things for kids to do in Staunton and it’s all for you. Pin, Facebook, bookmark, or print this for future reference; we’re sure you’ll look to it as a resource for a while to come.

Artsy Things

Glow, cad sel, copper ruby.

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One of the coolest demonstrations you’ll ever see is glassblowing, and you can see it everyday in Staunton at Sunspots Studios! Watch the masters seemingly turn glass into wax as they form big bubbles bound for a life of beauty. 

Outdoorsy Things

Most parks are fun, but have you seen our parks? Here’s what’s waiting …

Gypsy Hill Park is 214 acres and has a skate park (BMX, inline, scooters, and skateboards are welcome), the Gypsy Express Mini Trail (almost free; $1 per person), garden center, numerous ball fields, and of course, playgrounds. Don’t miss Family Nite Flix hosted by Staunton Parks and Recreation – free family-friendly movies at the Gypsy Hill Park Bandstand.

Lake Tams is a 2.5-acre lake that’s stocked for fishing. Bring your pole and valid Virginia fishing license to see what’s biting!

If your kiddos just like to ride their bikes or work to gain their balance on a new pair of skates, you’re in the right place. Constitution Drive meanders through the park is a designated play street, meaning kids have the right to play in the street.

Finally visited the Natural Playground at Montgomery Hill Park. Stayed for hours! 😍

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Montgomery Hall Park is 148 acres and is home to the long-awaited natural playground, Nature Ridge. Designed for imaginative play, Nature Ridge has a mud kitchen, rock quarry, pirate ship, ball drop, chimes, and an elevated sand pit accessible to children of all abilities. 

Do you have a little explorer on your hands? Feed the sense of adventure and mystery when you geocache in our parks or downtown.
Learn more about the process and fun of geocaching, then locate our area caches to get started.

Fun Things

Arguably, everything we’ve mentioned thus far is fun, but what about fun with toys? Did you know Staunton has a toy store that lets your kids play while you shop? “Don’t touch” is not a phrase you’ll hear at Pufferbellies. Pop in to play at the largest independently owned toy store in the Shenandoah Valley, and you can help your kids build their Christmas wish list while you’re at it!

Have you ever heard of Kids Bowl Free? Our very own Staunton Lanes is a member of the program that allows your children to bowl two free games every day all summer long. The catch is that once your child is registered, he or she may only bowl at the bowling alley initially chosen at the time of registration. If you never bowl but want to, go ahead and choose ours! 

Discover Staunton by Trolley! Although its not free—the cost is 25-cents per rider—hop on and off as you visit area attractions like the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Gypsy Hill Park and several of Staunton’s historic districts. The Green route runs every 30 minutes from the Visitors Center located at 35 S. New Street. Or explore by foot using the free app, Traipse! Traipse takes you on an adventure that is half historic tour and half scavenger hunt. You can Traipse anytime, with whomever you want, in places like downtown Staunton, Gypsy Hill Park, and the campus of Mary Baldwin University. The app even provides discounts at select local businesses when you complete the challenges at those spots.

Historic Things

If you’re an active duty military family, we have great news! The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum is free for you between Memorial Day and Labor Day! Check out the Blue Star Parent Tool Kit for great ideas to get your kids interacting with what they see during the visit.

History buff families with eager-to-learn children tend to appreciate a good walking tour with a knowledgeable guide. Fortunately, the Historic Staunton Foundation offers such tours every Saturday. Join in for free!


Our Visitor Center is located at 35 S. New Street. Come in for a map, directions, or help with reservations.