Staunton (pronounced “STANN-tun”) is another one of those charming towns that has landed on several “best” lists. Smithsonian says it’s “one of the best small towns in America,” and Travel + Leisure says Staunton has “one of America’s greatest main streets.” Go Magazine gushes that Staunton is “impossibly charming,” and Southern Living states, “With a downtown energized by locally owned shops and restaurants, the Shenandoah Valley town is one of the prettiest and most progressive in the South.”
Founded in 1747, Staunton has one architectural advantage over most of other small towns in the Shenandoah Valley: it was unscathed in the Civl War, and many of its 18th and early 19th century homes and buildings still stand and are well preserved.
We spent a few hours walking the town on a self-guided tour of its five National Historic Districts dating back 250 years. While we saw one beautiful home or building after another, we found ourselves agreeing with what those magazine writers said about it. Staunton is a cool town worth a visit.
Following our stroll around Staunton, we breezed through the Blue Ridge Parkway. I say “breezed,” because we only drove 50 miles of its 469-mile length before opting for a straighter route south. After a couple of days of driving the curvy roads of Skyline Drive (which was a lot of fun!), we decided we had enough on this third day of switch-backs– this time with few guard rails or barriers. It sure was a gorgeous drive, though.
Oh! That reminds me! As a footnote to yesterday’s post, we saw a young black bear crossing Skyline Drive perhaps 50 feet in front of us! Neither of us had seen a black bear in the wild before, so it made our day!