There is nothing like driving along the curvy roads throughout the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. Depending upon the time of year, you might catch some wildflowers putting on a show along the roadside. The air hits just right and the cobalt blue ridge mountains are always in sight. There are moments where you feel free and possibilities seem endless. It’s simplistic beauty that suspends time in the best way. Could you use some moments like this? If you are saying yes, keep reading. If it is your first time planning a trip to this area, you need to know something about the towns that make this area in Virginia so special. Let me start with my favorite town, Staunton. I have everything you need to know in order to start making memories here.
D.C., 2 hours, 37 minutes,(153 miles), Philadelphia, 4 hours, 43 minutes, (296 miles), Harrisburg, 3 hours, 20 minutes, (211 miles), West Virginia, 3 hours, 24 minutes, ( 143 miles), Maryland, 3 hours, 7 minutes, (191 miles), 23 minutes, (17 miles), Pittsburgh, 4 hours 7 minutes, (256.8 miles)
I fell in love with Staunton at first sight…
Ok, I have a thing for Staunton. What can I say? Founded in 1761, Staunton appeals to families, couples, groups, and solo travelers. It is edgy, eclectic, and cultural. The town consists of five historical districts making it the perfect place to explore on foot. Just remember your comfortable shoes!
Mary Baldwin University as well as the American Shakespeare Center, are just part of what makes it unique. At any moment, you might run into a talented musician on the corner. The shops and restaurants are all distinctive. If you can’t find it here, I don’t think it exists. Throw in some ghost stories, prestigious travel awards, and Victorian architecture! You just met the most quintessential town.
At initial glance, you might feel as if you stumbled unto a movie set in a European town with wizards and a little bit of magic. It doesn’t surprise me that Staunton has a yearly event called, “The Mischief and Magic Festival.” Once a year, the town transforms into everything Harry Potter. Why not? It’s the perfect setting. I love a town with creativity that also supports the love of reading. This years event will be virtual, but it is still a highly spirited labor of love. * Important note: Warner Bros. Entertainment and J.K. Rowling are not responsible for or affiliated with this event. If you love this sort of magic and mystery, there are also interesting shops in the area. One of my favorites is the Medieval Fantasies Company. It is a little Medieval, Renaissance, and Victorian with themed events and merch. I am still enjoying one of their crafted loose teas from my last trip.
St. Francis of Assisi Church -Victorian Gothic Style Church built in 1895.
History and haunted tours -Perfect anytime, but especially in the Fall.
Camera Heritage Museum – Put this on your list if you love photography or vintage photos.
Gypsy Hill Park -Perfect for families with children.
Shenandoah National Park– Closest entrance to the park from Staunton is Rockfish Gap. It is approximately a 35 minute drive.
Clock Tower Restaurant– No matter what you do, you need to dine or take a haunted history tour that will stop here. You cannot miss it as it has a commanding presence over town. Built in 1890 to reflect the Romanesque style and then later remodeled to reflect the Queen Anne design, no trip is complete without stopping. I’ll admit that I had a little chill when I first stood and looked up at its clock. That was BEFORE I knew of its haunted tales.
Staunton has something for everyone. I’ve listed a few of my favorites below along with a complete link.
Zynodoa– Inspired southern cuisine in a historic building with metropolitan vibes. I love their cool amber lighting by the bar. Check out their chefs tasting menu when available. Food is farm to table with vegan and gluten free options too.
Yelping Dog- Phenomenal selection of wine artfully housed in a historic building with hardwood floors and cozy lighting. Choose from local and international wines as well as craft ales and ciders. Did I mention that they pair well with one of their tomato jam and cheddar grilled sandwiches or charcuterie boards?
Cranberries Grocery/Cafe– Part holistic grocery and Cafe. I love this place for its healthy options. Dine indoors or outside. You can also take it with you for a morning of sightseeing.
Staunton is not short on places to stay. I will start you out with a few below and a detailed link. Don’t forget some of the local quaint cottages and houses that you’ll find on Airbnb.
Hotel 24 South, aka, Stonewall Jackson’s Resort– Opened in 1924 as the Stonewall Jackson’s resort, it is conveniently located in Staunton’s historic district. Walk to shops and restaurants. *Pet friendly
Frederick House– Across from Mary Baldwin University in a great walking area known for its historic homes. This is a 20 room inn with five historic houses. * Designated pet friendly rooms
Blackburn Inn– Set on 180 acres, the historic Inn and Conference Center has spa services, *Pet friendly rooms, and an extensive outdoor concert itinerary
Here is everything you need in order to start packing for Staunton, Virginia. It’s always the right time for a road trip. The blue mountains are calling. Isn’t it time to make some memories here?
Coming Up This Week: Luray, Virginia