August is Craft Beer Month in Virginia, and not just because of the joy of a cold brew on a hot day. Staunton is one of the best places in the Shenandoah Valley to hoist a glass in celebration.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced in June that Virginia is now home to 206 licensed breweries. A newly released economic impact study shows that Virginia’s booming beer industry contributes more than $9.34 billion annually to Virginia’s economy.
Staunton is home to no less than four of the 13 breweries on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, Virginia’s newest contribution to this industry: Bedlam Brewing, Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company, Queen City Brewing, and the Redbeard Brewing Company. Redbeard celebrated its fourth anniversary last month with a free all-day concert at Sunspots Pavilion.
The new energy of the craft beer scene is just one reason Staunton gains so much attention whenever anyone compiles a “10 best places” list. Just last month it was named one of “the Next Great Mountain Towns” by Blue Ridge Outdoors. Staunton is number 16 of “23 Best Small Town Main Streets in America,” as judged by countryliving.com. Architectural Digest just named it one of America’s “15 Most Beautiful Main Streets” and readers of Virginia Living voted Staunton’s Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library the Best Historic Site in the Shenandoah Valley.
Staunton has received many other accolades and August is a great month to visit and see why for yourself. For one thing, the town is rife with summer concerts:
The 20th Anniversary Staunton Music Festival is August 11-20. Thirty performances held at different downtown venues include: Beethoven’s 8th and 9th Symphonies, orchestral music by Copland and Smetana, and over 50 chamber works by Dvořák, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Grieg, Poulenc, and Bach. Hear vocalists and instrumentalists from across Europe and the U.S. There are also free pre-concert talks and special offers with numerous downtown restaurants and hotels. Call 540-569-0267 to find out about the full calendar.
Staunton’s Gypsy Hill Park hosts free concerts all summer with a variety of musical genres. Take a picnic, spread out on the lawn and enjoy the music. See Stonewall Brigade on Mondays, Praise in the Park on Tuesdays, Bluegrass in the Park on Wednesdays and Jazz in the Park on Thursdays. Find out more.
You can still catch the end of the Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts, which began June 24 and runs until August 4 at Mary Baldwin University. The six-week festival consists of over 40 events including daily concerts, outdoor events, and “Heifetz Happy Hours.” Heifetz is a unique institution that focuses on the development of promising young musicians.
One venue that combines music with history is Staunton’s Frontier Culture Museum. The museum is globally known for its authentic displays and demonstrations that bring to life early European influence to the Shenandoah Valley. Their American Roots Music Concert Series brings traditional Appalachian, old time, and bluegrass music to entertain you as well. Every Sunday evening in August, celebrate the influence of music on our frontier culture with four entertaining concerts, held in the Lee S. Cochran Pavilion from 5 to 7 pm. Food and beverage vendors are ready to serve you. The August lineup consists of:
August 6: Whitetop Mountain Band
August 13: Bud’s Collective
August 20: Commonwealth Bluegrass Band
August 27: Amber Collins & Branch House Pavilion
That’s only part of the music scene available in Staunton. And while it’s not musical per se, another performance venue we can’t possibly leave out is the American Shakespeare Center. Their summer/fall season includes: Much Ado About Nothing, Peter and the Starcatcher, Love’s Labours’ Lost, and The Fall of King Henry (Henry VI, Part 3). If you have not visited the ASC’s one-of-a-kind Blackfriars Playhouse you have not seen Staunton.
We suggest your trip to Staunton also include a slight detour to Fishersville and a tour of the extraordinarily beautiful Barren Ridge Vineyards. This family owned operation has been making award-winning Virginia wine since 2007.
Staunton offers a wide range of lodging options, including: the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center, The Buckhorn Inn, and Cabin Creekwood.
Find out more at the Staunton Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.