About Staunton, Virginia
Our picturesque city in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley used to be a bustling commercial hub from the mid 1800’s to the mid 1900’s. Downtown Staunton, VA had numerous hotels near the train station (See number 12 on the downtown Staunton VA map below. Note that the location of Berkeley House is on the northeast side of the map where you see our logo). As many as 35 passenger and freight trains daily stopped at the railroad station. Now Amtrak serves Staunton three times a week.
Some of Our Favorite Spots in Staunton
The area around the train station is known as “The Wharf” and not because there is any water there but because of the bustling commerce there back in the day. Now there are numerous shops and restaurants in the old warehouse buildings. We even have Farmers Markets in the Wharf parking lot every Wednesday and Saturday from early Spring to late Autumn. You may even want to spend some time at Sunspots Studios and Glassblowing (number 3 on the map) to witness daily glassblowing artisans or have a wine tasting at Ox Eye Vineyards tasting room there. If you prefer craft beer, check out Redbeard Brewing Company.
Not from the Wharf area you will find one of our very special churches (Staunton probably has over 80 churches), the Neo Gothic Trinity Episcopal Church. Trinity (number 2 on the map) has 12 exquisite stained glass windows by Tiffany. In fact, no less than four of those windows was donated by Charles Catlett, son of Richard Henry Catlett. R H Catlett had built Berkeley House Bed & Breakfast and his offspring occupied the house for 76 years!
From Trinity Church, head East on Beverley Street, our Main Street, where you’ll find many of our shops and restaurants. We have wonderful shops to browse and buy in; including antique shops. We also have many 5 star restaurants which we’ll write about in a separate blog.
The architecture in downtown Staunton is dominated by T. J. Collins and Sons. They designed many of the commercial and government buildings and private homes in a broad repertoire of styles. You’ll find Romanesque Revival, Victorian, Second Empire and more.
There are other interesting places to see that are downtown but not on Beverley Street. One of them is the RR Smith Center (number 10 on the map) where you’ll find both history and art. Their building also houses the Historic Staunton Foundation and is the starting point for the free two hour walking tour offered Saturdays at 10 a.m. from May to October. Otherwise you can pick up the Foundation’s brochure, A Self-Guided Tour of Staunton’s Historic Districts (you’ll find our Berkeley House Bed & Breakfast in the Gospel Hill District portion of the brochure).
If you want to really treat yourselves, you must see a play or three at The American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse (number 6 on the map). The Playhouse is the only re-creation in the world of Shakespeare’s indoor theater. Accomplished actors perform period Shakespeare Wednesdays through Sundays all year long. We get four plays each season (most Shakespeare) and it’s done with the lights on.
Want to go to a museum? Heck, there’s one right across the street from Berkeley House. Our 28th President, Woodrow Wilson was born directly across the street (number 9 on the map) from the B&B. Of course, he was looking at a forest as a toddler when looking at our direction. Wilson was a two term president who lead our country through World War I and was the architect of the League of Nations (the predecessor to the United Nations). You’ll want to take time perusing this well done museum about Woodrow Wilson’s life and major themes of his presidency as well as the WWI exhibit. You’ll also want to take a guided tour of his early home.
If you hadn’t had enough walking around Staunton’s Downtown yet, you’ll want to visit campuses Mary Baldwin University (number 8 on the map) and Virginia School of the Deaf and Blind (number 11 on the map). The architecture of these two schools dates back more than 170 years and is quite spectacular.
There is certainly a lot to do here in Staunton and you’ll definitely want to spend at least a couple of days just exploring here.