Monday, January 7, 2008

STAUNTON, VIRGINIA

When my husband surprised me with the news that he had booked a weekend getaway to Staunton, Virginia, and that we would be staying at the historic Stonewall Jackson hotel, I tried hard to act excited.
About ten years ago, I had stayed at the hotel while on a photo shoot and remembered it as dark and depressing. The place had seen better days. How much worse would it be now, I wondered?
(photo from Henvy V, American Shakespeare Center)
Since a weekend getaway was an appealing idea, however, I put on a brave face and we headed off to spend the last weekend of 2007 in Staunton.
When we arrived in town, I was amazed. The main street had been spiffed up to emphasize its small town charms. Fine restaurants, trendy bistros, and antique stores had replaced boarded up buildings.And, the hotel had undergone a complete renovation. It was gorgeous! You could sit by a fireplace in the lobby bar, swim in an indoor pool or work out in the fitness center. We did all three.

Next to the hotel, the Blackfriars Playhouse, the world's only re-creation of William Shakespeare's original indoor theatre, is a worth a visit from anywhere.We saw two plays. Henry V was very well done.
Taming of the Shrew was hilarious. The American Shakespeare Company makes the audience part of the show (their motto is “we do it with the lights on”) and could make a Shakespeare lover out of anyone. Really!
Located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, Staunton’s hilly terrain and church steeples create picture perfect vistas.
Because the town was unscathed in the Civil War, 18th and 19th century homes survived and have been beautifully restored and preserved. (I'll try to post more about the homes later in the week.)On Sunday, we toured the Woodrow Wilson Museum and adjacent house where Wilson was born. The Greek Revival manse is restored to the year 1856 and decorated with period furniture.Although Wilson didn’t live in Staunton very long -- his family moved when he was a toddler—he maintained strong ties to the town and locals are mighty proud of the 28th President of the United States.
Wilson bought his presidential car, a 1919 Pierce Arrow Series 51, upon leaving office and it now resides at the museum.


Photo Credit:
All Shakepeare photos by Mike Bailey

37 comments:

Cottage Magpie said...

What a wonderful trip that must have been. I'm glad you had a good time! It all looks so charming and European. I am definitely putting it on my "to visit" list! Fun!
~Angela :-)

Alison Gibbs said...

What a great place to spend a weekend. So many things to do and see.
Alison

Lisa said...

This looks like such a fun vacation. What a treat with all the beautiful shoppes, architecture and theatre troupe.

Have a great week!

Ruth Welter said...

Thanks Barbara for sharing your wonderful trip with us.

Brook~ebay ID decoratingwithroses said...

Love the great weekend getaway idea, and the charming pics of old homes! Sounds like a fun place to visit! _Brooksie

Genevieve Olsen said...

Wow! That sounds like a wonderful
get away trfip! I grew up in Va. and I miss it.We are planning to move back down south in a few years!I hope that you have great week! "see" you soon!

Mary said...

That looks like such a wonderful place! Have you ever been to The Homestead, in Virginia? It's quite beautiful, too. Glad you haad such a good time!
xoxo,
Mary

NeereAnDear said...

They say Virginia is for lovers! I dont know about that but I LOVE living here...
Its so funny how we live close to some of these things and never visit... I may have to change that and soon ... looks wonderful

HUGS
JO

NAME: CIELO said...

Hi Barbara... it sounds you had a marvelous time!

Edith Wharton once said: "If only we'd stop trying to be happy we'd have a pretty good time." Smart woman, wasn't she?

Have a lovely evening!

Cielo

Siobhan said...

Hi Barbara,

What a beautiful place! Looks like you had so much fun. Thankyou for sharing these lovely pics with us all.

Siobhan xo

Jen r. said...

It sounds like a great time and the place looked beautiful. It looks like you got a much deserved break. I think I am going to have to nudge my hubby a little!
Jen R

Susie Q said...

A wonderful get away!
We were last in Stanton in 2006 while re-visiting Virginia. We lived in the Norfolk area for 8 years and I was happy to see how lovely Stanton had become.
I do miss VA in so many ways...
The theater troupe looked like such fun.

Have a sweet Tuesday!

Hugs,
Sue

Sue said...

What a fun get away. Lucky you!
Hugs,
Sue

Tutti Chic said...

Barbara~I'm so happy you were so pleasantly suprised! What a wonderful place to spend a weekend!:) chris

The Desperate Diva said...

Oh how pretty and quaint. I LOVE places like this. I'm a Virginia girl myself and am only about 2 hours away. I NEED to GO there...:)
I know you had fun!
Dianne

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

What a wonderful place. The town looks quite charming and the hotel is amazing.
Penny

Rosehaven Cottage said...

The hotel looks just spectacular! Now I want to go on a getaway. "Hubby...." ;)

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

Rhondi said...

Looks like a wonderful place to visit. What a nice surprise for you to celebrate the end of the year. Rhondi

love.boxes said...

Oh how fun. I love Shakespeare and Henry V is a favorite. The hotel looks beautiful too!

Jenn and Jacqui said...

Bi Barbara, what a fanatastic getaway! The more we see of Vitginia the more we love it, think it will be a must-see of our trip to the States! What a fantastic place, those mansions, and it's so great it has lifted from being dark and depressive...it's certainbly not that now by the looks of it!! That would be such a waste of a place with so much history. Thanks for sharing this with us all, we love tours of the States :) Jenn and Jacqui

The Old Painted Cottage said...

Barbara, what a charming town and great pics. There's no such thing as a "bad weekend getaway". Thanks for sharing!

oxox
Jennifer

Shabbyfufu said...

I guess if any place in the U.S. has history~it would be Virginia! Looking forward to seeing photos of the old Victorian homes Barbara~ XO~ Janet

FrenchGardenHouse said...

wow! What a wonderfully charming place...so glad it has been "improved"~

Looks like you had a great time. I agree with Jenifer, is there really such a thing as a "bad" get-away?
xo Lidy

Lori @ Katies Rose Cottage said...

Wow !! That is gorgeous and I do have to admit that I would never have thought that it would be so pretty inside by looking at the outside ~
What a wonderful and relaxing weekend it looks like you had !
xoxo,
Lori

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Great pics & looks like a fun trip. I really love to visit other parts of the country & see the different architectural styles they have. I'm always glad to see downtowns get cleaned up & revitalized. Good to know.

Rhoda

Antique Paperie said...

The Main Street photo does look like it's full of quaint little gift shops, with antique nooks & crannies along the way,(remember the mom & pop restuarants that served the BEST food! we had those everywhere in Texas) and they do have the Wreaths out and about, hanging on the signs & poles, giving a touristic atmosphere. The inside of the Hotel is Fabulous - sounds like you had a wonderful vacation! I am happy you enjoyed yourself - I have always wanted to go to Virginia. Such a state is full of appealing history to unearth as you journey through it, I am sure. Alas, Maybe one day....
xo Sherri

Miss Sandy said...

Wow, what a weekend, it looks lovely, especially those homes.

daisy cottage said...

So glad you had a great time and your hubby is a sweetheart!

xo,
Kim

Rachel said...

I was overjoyed to have found your blog a few months ago, and commented then. I loved reading your editorials in the magazines that I have read for years. I started a blog this year, and just wanted to drop by...say hi...and that I love your work.

PAT said...

Barbara...I think you have hit upon an idea for another Pat and J Road Trip! Virginia isn't far from Missouri...right?

This looks like our kind of place!

Pat

karlascottage.typepad.com said...

I am moving to Virginia (part time) and love to have tips on places to visit, thanks!

the feathered nest said...

Looks like a beautiful place to visit! I would have loved to have seen the Shakespeare plays. Thanks for sharing your pics!

Manuela

Barbara said...

A lovely post and how it shows how our preconceived ideas can cause us to miss something new. Brings back memories for me from 1960, not the hotel the area and the houses. I can see yu had a wonderful time.

Gail McCormack said...

Thanks Barbara for the tour, I love finding out about all these interesting places

Barbara said...

Barbara, you have an award on my blog

Pufferbellies said...

Staunton IS pretty great, huh? Come back anytime!

lillian said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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