4 (and a half) Places to Shop for a Book Lover in Staunton

The holidays are almost here! Downtown Staunton is the perfect place to shop for your loved ones during the holiday season. Our quaint, walkable downtown, coupled with our friendly shopkeepers and delicious restaurants, offers a low-key, stress-free holiday shopping experience.

Black Swan Books by Allison Profeta

Black Swan Books by Allison Profeta

Our first in a series of downtown holiday shopping guides, here we’ll share with you four and a half stores where you can find the perfect gift for the bibliophiles you love. That’s right! Four and a half . . . because you may not know this, but Staunton has a secret aisle of books that most people may not know exists! Check it out:

  1. Get comfy at Black Swan Books: Located at 1 East Beverley Street, in downtown Staunton, Black Swan books offers a wide selection of mostly used books – general interest, as well as a focus on local authors, history, and art. Black Swan also offers a children’s section that features standard and collectible fare, as well as a music section with CD’s from local musicians and records from popular artists. Browse their art gallery, curl up in one of their cozy nooks, and enjoy watching the bustle of downtown Staunton go by their large picture windows. Gift certificates available.
  2. Browse Bookworks: Selling the latest bestsellers, as well as eclectic gifts, Bookworks is a fun, family friendly book
    Bookworks by Allison Profeta

    Bookworks by Allison Profeta

    store. Located at 101 West Beverley Street in downtown Staunton, you’ll find sections devoted to popular culture (Dr. Who fans take note!) as well as local history and authors. Owner Ron Ramsey also places special orders for customers. Gift certificates available.

  3. Discover Barrister Books: It looks a bit like a magical trip down Diagon Alley. Turn down narrow Barristers Row from either Augusta Street or New Street, and smack dab in the middle you will find Barrister Books. This bright, cozy book shop features an eclectic mix of old, used, and rare books, as well as local art. Gift certificates are available – and are provided on beautiful, old post cards!
  4. Play along with Pufferbellies Toys and Books: Across from Staunton’s historic Wharf District, at 15 W Johnson Street, you will find a children’s paradise! Lovingly curated by Susan and Erin Blanton, this mother/daughter team put to
    Pufferbellies Toys & Books Story Time

    Courtesy of Pufferbellies Toys & Books

    good use their experience as a children’s librarian and editor, respectively. Here you can discover the most popular children’s authors. From classics to the bestsellers list, their selection will guarantee you a choice to please the littlest readers on your list!

And a half . . . Love visiting a new place and feeling like a local? Here’s a secret only a Staunton expert would know! Visit Worthington Hardware, an old-fashioned antique store, at 26 West Beverley Street in downtown Staunton. Walk in the door and proceed straight back until you almost can’t go any further. Make a left, and walk until you cannot go any further. Turn left and you will find yourself in a secret book aisle! It’s dimly lit and quiet and feels a bit like you stepped into some sort of book Narnia! The shelves extend floor to ceiling and are stocked with a wide selection of used books that you can spend hours sorting through. A unique Staunton shopping experience!

This holiday season, visit downtown Staunton for a holiday shopping experience like no other!

Written and photographed by Allison Profeta of Staunton Insider

Queen City Fire Circus Lights Up Staunton

Queen City Fire CircusStaunton, Virginia proudly hosts thousands of artists in our city, both as residents and business owners. However, none light up the city as brightly as the Queen City Fire Circus performers. Formed about four years ago, the fire circus consists of a group of local performers who spin, throw, and swallow fire in their exciting performances throughout the city of Staunton.

Frequently performing in our famous downtown Wharf District parking lot, the Queen City Fire Circus delights audiences who gather around the lot to watch this well-known local spectacle. After lighting various objects aflame, they twirl and spin their way through the captive imaginations of the audience. Each performance varies a bit, and you can usually see them performing with a variety of flaming objects, including hula hoops and nun-chucks.

Performances combine elements of dance, acrobatics, and theatre and the performers themselves hail from a variety of backgrounds. With experience that ranges from color guard to marital arts experts, the Queen City Fire Circus Performers each bring a different flair to the their individual performances.

Staunton’s fire spinners have become a popular staple at our monthly downtown Fourth Friday Night vibes, evenings where performers roam the streets of downtown Staunton while businesses host special savings offers and events. In addition, you can frequently catch the Queen City Fire Circus performing at some of Staunton’s popular street fairs. They always bring an element of surprise and wonder to every performance!

Article written and photographed by Allison Profeta of Staunton Insider

October is Virginia Wine Month

October is Virginia Wine Month! Virginia is home to over 230 of the finest wineries in the country. Surrounded by the lush, picturesque Virginia landscapes, October, with all the splendor of the turning leaves, is the perfect time to visit Staunton and get a taste of what our local Virginia wineries have to offer.

We asked Staunton’s premier wine experts to share with us their top Virginia Wine picks, as well as the special events they have going on in Staunton throughout October in celebration of Virginia wine month.

1. The Wine Cellar:

Red Barren 2012Wine choice: Located at 8 Byers St, in the Wharf district of downtown Staunton, Nancy Artley of the Wine Cellar chose the Barren Ridge Red Baron as her top Virginia wine month pick. “It’s a fun, easy-drinking wine whose blend changes with each vintage,” said Nancy. “The winery is one of two within Augusta County and a very popular spot for tasting and enjoying the sunsets.”

October events at The Wine Cellar: Throughout October, The Wine Cellar will be highlighting Virginia wines with “Saturday Sippings,” a casual tasting of one winery each Saturday.

Ongoing events at The Wine Cellar: Their ongoing Friday night wine tastings, on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month, always offer discounts during tasting hours. They also offer beer, cider, and mead tastings on the 3rd Friday of each month. They offer custom wine and beer baskets all year round, but especially during the holidays. Their “Tasters’ Case” is an especially popular gift box of wine. This year, shop their special “6 for $60” wine selection, a variety of excellent, well-priced wines that will ring up to an even $60 if buy 6.

Phone – (540) 213-9463 or Email – stauntonwinecellar@hotmail.com
Like The Wine Cellar on Facebook
Visit their website to sign up for a once weekly email that includes information on their Friday night tastings as well as descriptions and discounts.

2. Ox-Eye Vineyards:

Ox Eye VineyardsWine choice: With a tasting room located at 44 Middlebrook Road in Staunton, owner/operators John and Susan Kiers chose Ox-Eye’s Scale House Riesling Reserve, 2013 as their top Virginia wine month pick. “From the soil’s limestone base, Riesling picks up minerality, which expresses itself in the lemony finish,” Susan shared. “The Scale House Riesling Reserve, a dry, white wine, was produced from fruit that achieved exceptional ripeness in Ox-Eye’s upper vineyard. As it ages in the bottle, this reserve Riesling’s notes of peach, honey, and lemon will intensify, making it a lovely wine for Thanksgiving dinner, shellfish, or cheese and crackers.”

October events at Ox-Eye Vineyards: Throughout the month of October, enjoy 10% off all half-case purchases. In addition, check out the following special events:

• Sunday October 12, 2014 – From 3:00 – 5:30 PM Ox-Eye will host the opening reception for artist Steve Doherty in the Ox-Eye Tasting Room’s Upstairs Gallery.
• Sunday October 19, 2014 – From 2:00 – 5:00 PM enjoy music by Ragland. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Larry Ragland will entertain with mostly cover music and a few originals thrown into the mix.
• Saturday, October 18, 2014 – From 3:00 – 5:00 PM Winds of Time recorder group will entertain with beautiful music through the ages.
• Friday, October 31, 2014 – From 4:00 – 7:00 PM Cool Beans jazz musicians will perform.

Ongoing events at Ox-Eye Vineyards: Ox-Eye’s Staunton tasting room offers daily wine tastings. They currently have nine estate wines. Varieties include Chardonnay, Gewerztraminer/Traminette, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Lemberger, and Cabernet Franc.

Phone – (540) 849-7926 and (540) 849-7614
Like Ox-Eye Vineyards on Facebook
Visit their website by clicking here.

3. The Staunton Abbey:

Staunton AbbeyWine choice: Located at 2217 North Augusta St, in downtown Staunton, Bill Evans of The Staunton Abbey chose the Virginia Mountain Vineyards Petit Verdot and Chardonnay as his top Virginia wine month picks. Bill made his selection based on the “talented winemaker.” He explained that “Virginia Mountain Vineyards is a small winery with great wines located in Northern Botetourt County.”

October events at The Staunton Abbey: Throughout October, The Staunton Abbey will be hosting tastings every Friday and Saturday from 11 AM – 8 PM.

Ongoing events at The Staunton Abbey: Offering a large variety of wines, craft sodas, and over 250 craft beers, The Staunton Abbey always offers select wine bottles at an affordable 3 bottles for $18!

Phone – (540) 580-1271 or Email – thestauntonabbey@gmail.com
Like The Staunton Abbey on Facebook
Visit their website by clicking here.

4. The Yelping Dog:

Yelping DogWine choice: You can find The Yelping Dog at 9 East Beverly Street in downtown Staunton. Owner/Operator John Reese chose the Lovingston Vineyards Rotunda Red 2010 as his top Virginia wine month pick. “Over the last year we have developed a friendship and admiration for winemaker Riann Rossouw,” said John. “This particular vintage is a delicious blend of mostly Virginia Merlot grapes, and is a wonderful example of the big, bold, and delicious wines that are being produced throughout this ever-developing wine country that we have here in our backyards.”

October events at The Yelping Dog: The Yelping Dog hosts wine and beer tastings from many of the local vineyards, as well as from time to time host representatives who bring wine to taste from around the world. They do not charge for their wine tastings, but instead kindly ask for a small donation to the local SPCA.

Ongoing events at The Yelping Dog: They offer over 200 bottles of wine in their shop, change their by-the-glass list weekly, and give people the opportunity to taste as many wines that they have to offer as possible. They are constantly trying and purchasing new wines to bring to the Shenandoah Valley and keep as many varieties from as many regions of the world as possible. They always participate in downtown Staunton events, including Sparkles and Sweets, Staunton’s yearly downtown kick-off to the holiday shopping season, being held this year on Friday November 14th, from 6 – 9 PM.

Phone – (540) 885-2275 or Email – yelpingdogwine@gmail.com
Like The Yelping Dog on Facebook
Visit their website to sign up for their email list that includes information on their upcoming and ongoing events. You can also find that info on their Blog and Events pages.

Written by Allison Profeta of Staunton Insider

Staunton Welcomes Fall With Bike Festival and Street Party

riders (3)Every year, during the third weekend in October, Staunton hosts the Shenandoah Fall Foliage Bike Festival. This year, from October 17 – 19, 2014, Staunton is pleased to announce a new street party held in conjunction with the bike festival to welcome cyclists from near and far to downtown Staunton!

Recently featured in U.S. News and World Report, this two day cycling event, last year, attracted approximately 650 bike enthusiasts from 14 different states and two foreign countries. This year it promises to be even more popular! Our street party, which is open to the public at no charge, will feature live musical performances, as well as delicious food from downtown vendors and restaurants.

riders 2 (4)The bicycle ride begins Saturday morning, after Friday evening’s registration, at Shelburne Middle School. Bicyclists are able to choose from a variety of trails and routes, situated between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, based on individual ability and the type of bike being ridden. Along each route riders are met with volunteers from area youth groups, such as 4H Clubs, church organizations, and Boys and Girls scouting packs who serve food and drinks that are provided by the bike festival organizers.

The street party, which begins at 5:30 PM on the evening of Saturday, October 18, 2014, offers riders and residents a chance to enjoy a gorgeous, fall evening here on historic West Beverley Street in Staunton. An entire city block will be closed to traffic, offering a fun, safe event for children as well as adults. Staunton loves welcoming visitors to our city. We can’t wait to see you there!

Written by Allison Profeta of Staunton Insider

An International Adventure – A Hometown Welcome!

Good Times, Tastes & Traditions 2014Good Times, Tastes & Traditions; featuring Farming in the Valley returns to the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, VA on Saturday and Sunday, September 20th and 21st, 2014.  $15 – Advanced Tasting Tickets / $10 – Non – Tasting Tickets / $6 – Children’s Tickets.

Dabble in the 5 featured countries culture (America, England, Germany, Ireland and West Africa) with your passport, as you sample a little of their unique entertainment, arts, crafts, ethnic food & a Farming in the Valleyshowcase of wineries & breweries. Farming in the Valley recognizes the importance of our agriculture community with educational activities, a Children’s Barn & Buy Local products. Purchase tickets online or at the Chamber office (30 Ladd Rd. Fishersville.) Voted Top Food Festival in the Shenandoah Valley by Virginia Living Magazine.

A portion of the proceeds benefit The Frontier Culture Museum Education Foundation.

Cody PurvisNashville recording artist, Cody Purvis will perform Sunday at 3:45pm, which will round out a weekend full of live entertainment, among 3 stages and a variety of genres.

Tickets: www.GoodTimesAugusta.com Daily updates: www.facebook.com/goodtimestastesandtraditions.


Photo by Mike Tripp courtesy of The News-Leader http://bit.ly/1uGjsj1

Photo by Mike Tripp
courtesy of The News Leader

Last year, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of a local theatre, the Staunton Performing Arts Center organized a nostalgic, family-friendly street fair that was so fun, so appealing, that it is not only returning . . . it is doubling in size! Join downtown Staunton on Saturday, September 13, 2014 from 10 am to 5 pm as we celebrate at the PAC’n the Streets Fair

The PAC’n the Streets Fair is a unique event that brings together

Photo by Mike Tripp courtesy of The News-Leader http://bit.ly/1uGjsj1

Photo by Mike Tripp
courtesy of The News Leader

some of the areas most talented performers, artisans, and vendors for a full day of events that appeal to a wide audience. With events that are geared towards young and old alike, the street fair proved so popular that it will now stretch across two city blocks, from Market to Augusta on East Beverly Street. This year will also see the introduction of a Tasting Garden, located at the Hardy municipal parking lot on the corner of Market and East Beverley Streets, where fair-goers can sample from some of the area’s finest wineries and breweries.

The fair boasts a main stage featuring a full day of over 20 performances from a variety of bands, dancers, cloggers, actors, and much more. In addition, expect to be dazzled by a continuous variety of roaming street performers that include storytellers, comedians, magicians, wizards, and artists. One of the highlights

photo by Mike Tripp courtesy of The News-Leader http://bit.ly/1uGjsj1

photo by Mike Tripp
courtesy of The News Leader

from last year, and we are excited to welcome back this year, is a pots and pans children’s parade through the fair led by Anne Paulus, a local performer and storyteller with Grimmcrackery. Last year’s guests were delighted as children joyously weaved through the fair, a mini-celebration that brought smiles to the faces of all who were there to witness it. Staunton is so proud to see our community come together to showcase area talent and create a day that is as inspiring as it is wondrous!

You should arrive hungry because this year’s PAC’n the Streets Fair boasts area restaurants and food vendors that will be dishing up tasty plates all day! From savory to sweet, and everything in between, visitors to the fair can expect a day filled with tantalizing aromas.

It already sounds like a full day of fun, but this is just the tip of the iceberg! The Dixie Theater lobby will be open for a Memory Station Photo Booth in which event goers can create photo memories of their day. The Festival Committee donated space to Cat’s Cradle who will be offering the opportunity to adopt kittens in need of homes. The Staunton Parks and Recreation Department will provide a full half block of children’s activities that will include a live interactive animal demonstration from 11 to 12 put on by the Wildlife Center of Virginia and a number of different animals. All of this plus chalk drawings in the street, interactive arts and crafts activities, a live bobble-head Woodrow Wilson character, and a long list of artists and artisans displaying their creations. It’s a full day of memories in the making!

Join us as Staunton celebrates not only its diverse performing arts community, but also its commitment to providing family-friendly fun in our historic downtown setting. PAC’n the Streets promises to outdo itself in 2014! We can’t wait to see you there!

Written by Allison Profeta of Staunton Insider

Staunton Jams, A Local Tradition

Twice per year, downtown Staunton shuts down a portion of Beverley Street for a free local music festival called Staunton Jams. Featuring a selection of the best local bands and musicians, this event is an amazing street fair for the entire family!

Staunton Jams by Allison Profetta

Staunton Jams by Allison Profeta

The event lasts all day – from 12 PM – 10 PM this Saturday August 30, 2014 – with several bands taking the stage and several businesses participating as well. It is sort of like a block party, but on a much grander scale, and with much better music! Just check out this lineup:

• Noon–VS.
• 1 pm – Lost Indian
• 2 pm – Lola Mullen
• 3 pm – The Judy Chops
• 4 pm – Sarah Lynna & the Misfit Toys
• 5 pm – The No Lonesome
• 6:30 pm – Brian Patrick Band
• 8 pm – The Findells

Staunton Parks and Recreation department always joins the fun and provides entertainment for the littlest guests. They usually set up on the opposite end of the block from the stage and provide games, ride-on toys, bales of hay, and more for children to play with and explore. This year there will also be a face painter! In addition, the Staunton Music Guild is hosting a used music gear sale out of 16 West by Virtually Sisters. Don’t just watch the music . . . make some of your own!

Sarah Lynch, co-owner of Baja Bean Restaurant helps to organize the biannual Staunton Jams events. She took up the reins from the previous organizer in 2006. “It is really a grass-roots community event,” she explains. “Local restaurants and businesses donate gift certificates that we pass along to the musicians. The Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport is a huge sponsor and their support allows us to get the tents and sound equipment. It’s so much fun, and that’s why I jumped in to help organize it all of these years.”

Along with being a fun way to spend a day in Staunton, it also has a history of bringing the community together in service to others. Back in 2005, the second Staunton Jams of the year was held right after Hurricane Katrina hit. “We welcomed the Red Cross to that event,” Lynch says, “and we raised over $14,000 for hurricane victims.”

So come down and join the fun at this free, kid-friendly event featuring the finest in musical talent from the Shenandoah Valley! We can’t wait to see you there! (Be sure to bring your dancing shoes!)

Written and photographed by Allison Profeta of Staunton Insider