The Joy of Staunton

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A number of cities in the Shenandoah Valley combine the lure of American history with scenic natural beauty and the vibrancy of modern art and culture. Staunton, especially in the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, does this supremely well.

Many of the buildings downtown are more than a century old, and 18th and 19th century homes still convey Victorian elegance. Easy access to Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway lead one to absolute scenic splendor, at any time of year.

But when you’ve taken in the scenery and visited the historic sites and homes, it’s time to head downtown, particularly on Valentine’s Day. Just a glance at Staunton’s website reveals a number of enticing packages:

  • Zynodoa will offer a delectable prix fixe menu just for Valentine’s Day weekend. The special four-course dinner will be available February 10 through 14.
  • Byers Street Bistro invites you to enjoy a special romance-inducing menu created specifically for Valentine’s Day by Chef Stephen Thacker. Pair your dinner with a tasty his-and-hers drink special!
  • Take a cupcake decorating class with Paris Cake Company and hosted by Lewis Creek Market.
  • Enjoy wine and snacks while you learn decorating tips from Pastry Chef Erinn Paris as you create a Valentine’s Day cupcake bouquet.
  • Make a keepsake together at Sunspots Studios! For a limited time, two people are welcome to blow their own glass Valentine’s ornament together. Make an appointment to create something special between now and February 19.
  • The Woodrow Wilson Presidntial Library is hosting “A Very Valentine Tea” on February 4 from 2 to 4 p.m. It’s a children’s event, (ages 6 to 11) for crafts, games, and a scavenger hunt, too.
  • Lewis Creek Market is hosting “Romantic Wines to Fall in Love With” on February 13 from 4 to 6 p.m. The educational wine tasting experience is free of charge for those 21 and older with a valid ID.

Relatively new, and still growing on the eating and drinking front, is the Shenandoah Beerkwerks Trail—14 breweries in the Valley, all within an hour’s drive of one another. Check details about the Trail’s new Passport Program here.

Staunton members of the Beerwerks Trail include Redbeard Brewing Company, Queen City Brewing, Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company, and Bedlam Brewing. If you worry about drinking and driving—don’t. Shenandoah Tours will get you from place to place on the Beerwerks Trail (and anywhere else in the Valley) safely. (Check their website for specific Craft Beer Tours.)

Then there is the Historic Staunton Foundation’s 8th Annual Winter Wine Festival, February 24th, noon-5pm. Taste a variety of Virginia wines, ciders and sample local artisan fare. Call 540-885-7676 for ticket information. The event will be held at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel  in the heart of downtown. This historic, 124-room hotel features an indoor heated pool, fitness center and a business center, along with 8,500 square feet of meeting space with accommodations of up to 400. Some renovations are underway but are scheduled to be finished at the end of February. The hotel staff are making a concerted effort to minimize disruptions.

Also in February:
The American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse in February offers Hamlet, Richard II, and the “wickedly funny companion piece to Hamlet,” Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

February 19th is President’s Day—and our 28th president was born in Staunton. Visit the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, where guided tours of his birthplace illuminate what life was like in the mid- to late 19 century.

Photo of Staunton courtesy Staunton CVB/ Warren Faught

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