Why should you stop and shop in Staunton?
Great places to stay in downtown Staunton
Staunton is home to many great, independent businesses, making it a magnet for savvy shoppers. For visitors staying at the Choral Gardens, there are wonderful shopping opportunities in downtown Staunton within easy walking distance of your accommodation. For your comfortable accommodations, there are two vacation rental properties located in downtown Staunton and one more at the north end of town. "Traveler's Rest" will sleep up to three people and "The Gilpin Willson House" will sleep up to ten people. Both of these accommodations are right in downtown Staunton. "The Craftsman," located at the north end of Staunton, will sleep up to six people and is just over a mile from the downtown area.
Visitors to the town will find the thriving antique and collectibles scene perfect for shopping for unique gifts and unusual additions to their home decor as well as adding antique items to add to established collections. Unsurprisingly in such a historic area, you will find many independent shops specializing in all kinds of antiques and collectibles. Some dealers offer mainly items of local interest whilst others trade in antiques from all over the world. Vintage clothing is particularly popular, as are other textile items such as quilts, rugs and coverlets. Native American jewelry and weaving can also be found, and some shops also arrange workshops demonstrating how artifacts were made. Make sure you pay a visit to 17 East Beverley Antiques where you will find more than fifteen individual dealers specializing in everything from vintage clothes to retro furniture.
Clothing and accessories
If you are looking for something unusual you will find it in one of the individual boutiques all within easy walking distance of downtown Staunton. As well as designer clothes, there are shops trading in handbags, shoes and jewelry. Pretty, Pretty on East Beverley Street specializes in unique pieces of beaded jewelry made from vintage glass and other materials as well as more contemporary designs. For those on an activity vacation, Wilderness Adventure on Middlebrook Avenue specializes in clothing and equipment for hiking, backpacking, kayaking and other outdoor sports and activities.
Staunton has more than its fair share of bookshops among its many independent businesses, specializing in both new and used books. According to Forbes, there is a resurgence of independent retailers throughout the towns and cities of the US and one of these, Bookworks on West Beverley Street, was chosen as one of the three favorite independent bookstores in the Shenandoah Valley by readers of “Virginia Living” magazine in 2012. The store continues to supply customers with a wide range of books and everything from children’s fiction to autobiographies can be found here. If you are looking for books of local interest or by local authors you will find them well represented here. Black Swan Books and Music on East Beverley Street specializes in new and used books and music, including rare vinyls and books on many subjects. Although not simply a bookstore, The Sacred Circle stocks a wide range of books along with its fair trade goods. The store also hosts book signings, book clubs and other special events from time to time. Staunton’s bookshops also devote a fair amount of space to William Shakespeare because the town is home to the American Shakespeare Center and the famous Blackfriars Playhouse, built as a replica of Shakespeare’s original theater.
Part of the joy of exploring a new area is discovering really unusual shops, and in downtown Staunton, visitors will not be disappointed. There are shops specializing in natural and organic foods, and supplies for pretty much every hobby from cycling to photography and arts and crafts. Acoustic musical instruments and instructional materials can be found at Fretwell Bass on West Beverley Street, as can musical accessories and gifts. Relaxation is the theme at Harmony Moon, an independent specialty shop and community center on New Street. Here you will find incense, candles and aromatherapy products, wind chimes and gentle music to aid relaxation. They also stock a range of jewelry, clothing and accessories handmade by fair trade artisan groups. Many shops also host workshops or live music, giving visitors to Staunton an unforgettable experience.
Food and drink
If you have a sweet tooth be sure to pay a visit to the Cocoa Mills on East Beverley Street. This company is famous for its exquisite chocolates and produces special selections for different occasions such as Easter and Mother’s Day. Their Valentine Truffle Heart Box was chosen by the Wall Street Journal as “best overall”. There are also plenty of bakeries in Staunton where you can find all kinds of cookies, cakes, brownies and pastries as well as cakes for formal occasions. Also well worth exploring are some of Staunton’s wine and beer shops, some of which also arrange tastings. Local wines from Virginia vineyards are well represented, as are locally brewed beers from some of the area’s microbreweries. Shenandoah Hops on Byers Street carries a vast range of stock that includes gourmet items and locally made gifts as well as beers and wines.
Whatever your primary reason for visiting Staunton, you will not be disappointed at the range of shopping opportunities on offer. In addition, you'll have a choice of several very special downtown accommodations at Choral Gardens.
-- Melissa Neville, Freelance Writer