Sometimes I’m just in the mood to sing the praises of my adopted hometown and on this glorious spring day I’m going to do just that!
So much is always happening in our little town — it’s a place that good friend of mine in the boxing world says, “punches above its weight.”
That’s because for a remote valley town nestled between two mountain ranges, and with a nearly constant population of only around 25,000, it has so many great cultural offerings, unique happenings, and just plain pleasant living that it boggles the mind to consider that such a tiny little gem exists.
But it does. And it is good! (You can even vote for us in a current USA Today poll on the nation’s Best Small Town Cultural Scene. Right now we’re at #8 of 20 so please vote in today and every day in the coming week.)
So why don’t you come visit this season? I’ll give you four great reasons to do so in no particular order.
1. The Arts
My gallery, The Artisan’s Loft, hosts its spring art opening of various local artists’ work on May 10 from 6-9pm. It’s called The Colors of Spring and includes a wide range of mediums and styles, with art that spans artisanal crafted works to edgy pieces that inspire thought and conversation.
I hope to see you at the May 10th opening for art, food, and music! That show will be up through mid-summer.
We actually have quarterly arts show at The Artisans’ Loft so our second show in the spring/summer season will open Friday August 9, again from 6-9pm, and running through the fall. Whether you can make the openings or not, just know that when you’re in town we’re open seven days a week for your art-loving pleasure!
From now through the end of the summer you’ll also find that the the American Shakespeare Center is putting on constant plays, including their Homecoming season (when the actors on tour bring the shows back home), as well as the Summer Festival Season (and quite frankly beyond, into the fall).
If you don’t already know of the original staging methods of this amazing troupe of actors and directors, and their lively pre-show acoustic music sets, and how they turn Shakespeare into a BLAST to see…well, come on out!
But that’s not the only arts.
There’s also the Heifeitz International Music Institute’s spring and summer hootenannies and concerts featuring a global roster of young and upcoming talent. It’s truly mind-boggling to have this much music in one small town!
And that’s not all the music — the Staunton Music Festival happens August 16-25 this year and all I can say is, book your reservations now! This event, in its 21st season, is not to be missed — 32 concerts in 10 days? Fans get giddy just thinking about it!
And you do know that this is only the tip of the iceberg on the arts in town? For even more, visit the Staunton Tourism website.
2. The Eats
If there’s one thing Staunton is known for it’s for being a foodie town.
Now, a little fair bragging here that, of course, I can’t help, is that my youngest son, Ian Boden, is a James Beard nominated chef. If you’re a destination foodie then his restaurant, The Shack, is not to be missed for dinners Wednesday-Saturday and Sunday brunch.
As his website says, “The consistently changing and evolving menu is influenced by our region and accented by our family’s mountain roots and our Eastern European Jewish heritage.” You can also get a nice beer, wine, or cocktail to accompany your meal.
Yum! And I’m not just saying that because I’m his mom! You’ll actually want to make reservations there to be sure to get a table.
Another option in walkable downtown is Zynodoa, whose swanky urbane setting and cocktail menu tops the charts in town for many diners.
But you gotta eat lunch, right? So try Lundch, the inspired daytime eatery of chef Mike Lund, formerly a chef at the famous Inn at Little Washington.
All three of the above are locally-sourced chef-driven kitchens with consistently delightful culinary experiences!
3. The Events
In addition to a thriving arts scene Staunton also boasts an expansive set of festivals and weekend events that set the tone for fun and excitement in town.
Whether you’re into antique car shows, rock and roll weekends with Staunton Jams, a curated Indie Maker’s Market, Historic Garden Week, blues fests, or our signature event, the 3rd annual Mischief and Magic Festival (with its nod to a certain round-glasses wearing wizard and his cohorts), we’ve got you covered.
I’d be here all day if I listed everything so trust me, check out the Visit Staunton site for events happening all the time either here or in the region.
4. Destination Antique Shopping, Of Course!
Just yesterday I had a guy come in in search of some of the vintage audio equipment I blogged about last week. He must’ve spent two hours in the shop looking at everything.
Other times it’s the Mid Century Modern buyers who come from far and wide to see our huge selection of fabulous furnishings and decor of the era.
And while you can buzz through our 5,000 square feet of vintage and antique offerings at lightning speed if you so choose, you can also do like he did and settle in to check it all out ever so slowly and thoughtfully! I think if you come to us as a destination antique stop you’ll want to take your time to see it all.
That’s why I wrote an e-book, A Digital Guide to Antique Shopping in the Staunton, Augusta, Waynesboro Region, that’s not only about my shop, but covers key antique shops in our region. It’s free and you can download it today to help in planning your antique shopping trip to the Staunton area.
If all this isn’t reason enough for you to come I don’t know what else to say. Oh, yes I do — natural beauty, hikes in the wilderness, fabulous people, a slow and relaxed pace, walkability, friendliness, wineries, breweries, mountain views and mountain air…you’ve got to see it for yourself!
— Ellen Boden, Proprietress, Staunton Antiques Center