The small city of Staunton, Virginia lies between Lexington, VA, and Harrisonburg, VA. This quirky little city is full of shops, restaurants, museums, a replica of Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Playhouse, Mary Baldwin University, and so much more. We took a weekend visit to this charming little city and decided to share it with all of you.
Staunton, VA is a city of 23,746 people (as of 2018) and is close to where some of my extended family now resides. My husband and I have close ties and wonderful memories in Staunton. My husband graduated from the MLitt /MFA Masters program at Mary Baldwin College (now Mary Baldwin University). He also had his first professional acting job at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse.
Coming back to the little city we love was wonderful. It was fun to see how the city has grown and changed. We decided to visit some of our old and favorite haunts. First up? The Split Banana of course.
The Split Banana is the best gelato shop we have ever been to and we’ve been lucky enough to travel to lots of wonderful places around the world. So whenever we are in the area we make sure to stop at The Split Banana. All gelatos are made on site, every day and the flavors are unique and delicious. A few favorite flavors of ours are sticky rice, pistachio, cocoa ancho, egg nog, and pumpkin pie.
Staunton’s downtown is lined with lovely shops carrying unique items. On this visit, we stopped in Jude’s A Fine Emporium and purchased a gorgeous architectural necklace, a stuffed animal and two umbrellas that turn inside out. Another store we really loved was Made; by the people, for the people. Made offers an eclectic selection of quirky gifts & books, American made vintage clothing, and hand-crafted creative works of dozens of local, regional, and domestic artists.
My kids especially loved posing with the gnome outside the shop. Another standout store was Pufferbellies which has been a favorite of ours since it opened in 2008. We even purchased our daughter’s first baby doll there–such sweet memories.
My family and I watched as The Stonewall Jackson Hotel was completely refurbished ( it went through a $21.1 million renovation) in 2005. So we were super excited when we got to stay there on our visit. The Stonewall Jackson Hotel originally opened in 1924, was designed by H.L. Stevens and is considered an excellent example of the renowned American architect’s work in the Colonial Revivalist style. The hotel was restored to preserve many original features of the property while expanding it to serve today’s guests with a complete range of modern amenities and services.
The accommodations at the Stonewall Jackson are located in two seamlessly-conjoined sections. The first is the hotel’s historic wing, where hallways and entryways have been preserved to their original configuration. Additional rooms in the new wing allow for the hotel to welcome more guests and host small meetings, groups, and weddings.
The hotel also features a porte-cochere, 4,453 sq. feet of meeting and event space, a business center, an indoor pool, a fitness facility, and a gift shop.
We stayed in the new wing which was spacious and lovely. Our room was clean, the beds were super comfortable and room service was A+. The hotel lobby is exquisite and features marble floors, moldings, chandeliers, and wall sconces all original to the hotel.
When we weren’t sightseeing we were eating at none other than our favorite Staunton restaurant, Mill Street Grill. My family and I reminisced over brunch about old times in Staunton and our new memories. Our plates of fried green tomatoes (the best in Virginia), Prosciutto and Provolone Stuffed Chicken and more were piled high and shared among each other.
Over brunch, we also noticed that while small things have changed-our love for the city of Staunton, Virginia has not. If you are planning on visiting Virginia I highly recommend making a stop in Staunton. If you can’t stop for a night at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel at least stop for a gelato or two. We promise you won’t regret it!