News & Politics

Reader Deals: Staunton, Virginia

The Virginia town of Staunton has some big draws—including good food and terrific theater. Thanks to these exclusive offers, it’s also a deal.

Staunton's Blackfriars Playhouse, a replica of an Elizabethan-era theater in London, is a wonderful venue for seeing Shakespeare's classics.

Staunton, a small city in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, draws visitors for its history, arts, and, most recently, culinary scene. It’s the birthplace of President Woodrow Wilson and home to his presidential library. The historic downtown has been a popular location for films such as Gods and Generals. And it’s a magnet for theatergoers, thanks to the American Shakespeare Center at Blackfriars Playhouse, where the Elizabethan-style company stages works in the world’s only replica of the Bard’s Blackfriars Theatre. For a list of upcoming shows, visit or call 877-682-4236.

Staunton (pronounced “Stanton”) is also gaining a reputation for its restaurants. Michael Lund, formerly sous chef at the Inn at Little Washington, is now at the helm at Zynodoa. Chef Ian Boden’s Staunton Grocery has been lauded in the New York Times for its farm-to-table approach. Lee Gregory, a chef from Six Burner restaurant in Richmond, heads the kitchen at the new Mockingbird.

A 2½-hour drive from Washington, Staunton makes for an easy getaway. The Washingtonian has negotiated special rates for readers at these accommodations.

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, 540-885-8885;

It’s hard to imagine a better backdrop to kick off a Shakespeare weekend than Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. The inn is a reproduction of Shakespeare’s wife’s cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon, complete with thatched roof, oak beams, and slate floors. Through March 31, Washingtonian readers can book two nights in either the Romeo or the Juliet room and get two theater tickets, full breakfast for two, and a fruit-and-cheese plate for $250, a savings of more than $100. Or choose a one-night stay with tickets, breakfast, and fruit and cheese for $175.

Stonewall Jackson, 540-885-4848;

The Stonewall Jackson hotel has been restored to its circa-1924 grandeur with crystal chandeliers and an original Wurlitzer organ. Those touches are now coupled with modern amenities such as a heated indoor pool and wi-fi. A longtime sponsor of the American Shakespeare Center, the hotel is offering readers a rate of $142 for two people, which includes an overnight stay, breakfast, parking, and a pair of tickets to the Blackfriars Playhouse next door. The offer, good through March 31, is a savings of more than 20 percent off the regular rate.

Frederick House, 800-334-5575;

Another option is to stay in one of the antique-filled rooms at the Frederick House, a group of five historic buildings where some rooms have a fireplace. Book the Winter Washingtonian Getaway Theater and Dinner Package and get an overnight stay, two tickets to the theater, two backstage passes for a private tour of the playhouse, and a $25 gift certificate toward dinner at the Dining Room, a local favorite in Staunton. The package, good through February 28, starts at $188, a savings of up to 20 percent, depending upon the room chosen.

The Storefront, 804-218-5656;

For one of the region’s most unusual destinations, try the Storefront. Washingtonian readers can be among the first to try out the one-bedroom, two-level store-turned-inn for $95 during the week and $115 on weekends through March 31. Owner Terry Shulman, a historian and author, will throw in a free two-hour historical/sightseeing tour of the town’s five National Historic Districts.

Andrea C. Poe ( writes frequently about travel.