Hot Glass in the City

Staunton recently received national press from Travel+Leisure and Smithsonian Magazine for its vibrantly historic atmosphere. Smithsonian identified Staunton during its search for America’s 20 Best Small Towns because Staunton is a culture-rich locale where visitors can experience “enlightened good times in an unhurried, charming setting.” Mentioned by Smithsonian as well as Travel+Leisure’s America’s Greatest Main Streets article are some of Staunton’s most notable treasures – the American Shakespeare Center, the red-brick district, and the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library. Another gem that you should NOT miss in Staunton is the Frontier Culture Museum, a living history museum illustrating the daily lives of Shenandoah Valley’s early settlers.

No one can argue the value of Staunton’s architecture, historic icons, and cultural vibe, but the artisans who translate sweat and tears into beautiful “somethings” are major contributors to the appeal of sweet Staunton as well.

This weekend – Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29 – is the 10th annual Virginia Hot Glass Festival. Hosted by Sunspots Studios, this festival happens to be Virginia’s only festival devoted to hot glass artistry… and it’s free!

Hot glass artisans from around the region will demonstrate their craft and even attempt to create new works of art based on the drawings of children attending the festival. For those who wish to try their hand, er… lips at glass blowing, several attendees will be selected to help blow ornaments.

Festival Need-to-Knows:

~ The Festival is Saturday from 9 to 6 and Sunday from 10 to 5.

~ Beware the fire-breathing dragon and flaming ray gun.

~ Bring your camera.

~ Rain won’t keep you away; the festival is indoors.

~ Mother’s Day is not too far away. Think about her. (wink, wink)

~ Go social. Snap pics and share them to Twitter with the hashtag #VAHotGlass.

~ Check out Virginia Stone Carver’s Guild who will be exhibiting and demonstrating their craft nearby, too.

~ Parking is plentiful. Festival goers in need of an accessible entrance should use the lot and entrance at the back of the building.

~ Nearby dining includes Byers Street Bistro (next door,) Mockingbird (3 blocks; Farmer’s Brunch 10-2 Saturday & 10-5 Sunday), Downtown 27 at The Clock Tower (4 blocks; closed Sunday), The Split Banana (5 blocks), The Beverly (5 blocks), and Shenandoah Pizza (6 blocks; closed Sunday)

Casey Higgins is a Shenandoah Valley girl residing in the Richmond area with her husband and two children. She writes for Virginia Tourism Corporation presenting travel ideas for families and couples, shining a light on hidden gems, and uncovering hometown delights. Staunton might just be her most favorite find. Follow Casey on Twitter at @jccjhiggins.

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