Why You Should Re-Think Classical Music

Staunton Music Festival Welcomes World Class Chamber Musicians

Staunton Music Festival

“Re-think Classical Music.” That’s what the Staunton Music Festival encourages you to do during their upcoming festival. And you’ll thank them for it when you hear these world class performances. That’s because SMF welcomes the top classical musicians from around the world August 11-17, 2017.

But that’s not unusual for our small town.

The Heifetz Institute is right in the middle of their summer teaching program for gifted young musicians. And we get the benefit! Students perform to the delight of Staunton audiences throughout the summer season.


One of Virginia’s Favorite Classical Music Festivals

Now in its 20th year, the Staunton Music Festival continues to attract the world’s finest chamber musicians. Because of the rich musical talent, the festival entertains, engages the audience and enriches all who attend.

With a powerful selection of music, the Staunton Music Festival features several concerts daily with a music selection that begins in the Renaissance era. From there, these talented musicians move us through the ages with an intensity and smoothness that’s beautifully moving.

All of the Festival’s performances take place at historic venues here in downtown Staunton. For the complete summer schedule, click here. For the fall schedule, click here.


Critic’s Pick

Moritz Eggert
Moritz Eggert

The Washington Post named the Festival its “Critic’s Pick,” while the Southeast Tourism Society hailed it as a “Top 20 Event.” For the music lover, it is not to be missed.

You’ll hear orchestral music by Copland and Smetana, highlights from Beethoven’s 8th and 9th Symphonies, compositions from Grieg, Mendelssohn, Dvorák, Poulenc, and Bach, and more. Over 50 chamber works by these and other well-known composers.

Additionally, composer in residence Moritz Eggert, will perform some of his own music. Plus, there will be formal and informal performances with Happenstance Theater.

Inn at Old Virginia Hosts the Stay for Musicians/Composers

For at least the past seven years, the Inn has hosted the stay for at least one of the Staunton Music Festival’s musical artists. For many years, the internationally known John Yanelli stayed with us while performing in the Festival. This year, we welcome other highly regarded musicians/composers. We don’t know who it will be, but we’re excited to be a part of it all!

Make reservations with the Inn at Old Virginia now and don’t miss any of these fine performances!



Barren Ridge Vineyards: Summer Wine & Summer Fun

Barren Ridge Vineyards

Barren Ridge Vineyards: Your Stop for Summer Wine & Fun

Barren Ridge Vineyards offers a big plus for summer fun. Actually, they offer it all year round. But what could be more heavenly than spending an evening outside surrounded by the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains? And with friends!

As a lazy summer evening casts the brilliance of a setting sun, Barren Ridge Vineyards provides not only a breathtaking backdrop but also exquisite offerings of wine as well.

Every Friday and Saturday evening, music is complimentary from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. During the winter, music is scheduled from 4:40 p.m.-7:30 p.m. The Vineyard welcomes a local solo musician to play on their patio or tasting room, usually, it’s Buddy Thomas or Larry Ragland.

Bring a picnic basket and enjoy both great wine, good food, and plenty of good music!

Get their full calendar here.

The Barren Ridge Vineyards Music Exception

However, on the third Friday of every month, Barren Ridge mixes it up a bit. For the small admission fee of $10, Firelight Friday or Sunsets at the Vineyard sets the stage for a great evening party!

The admission fee covers the music and the souvenir wine glass you take home with you. So what will you find at this event?

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Heifetz Institute, Staunton, VA

Heifetz Institute
Classes and concerts at the Heifetz International Music Institute photographed on Wednesday, 7/29/15.
Photo by Pat Jarrett

Gifted young musicians from around the world—some as young as 11 years old—come to the Queen City for six weeks of intense training.

The glorious part of this program is that we, as a local audience, get to enjoy the incredible talent of these young musicians. All while the Heifetz Institute teaches them how to hone and master their skills. How?

The Institute teaches them to play more than just notes. It teaches them to transform those notes into their instrument and to ignite their musical passion as they display their maturing skills.

Local Staunton patrons get to hear gifted violin, viola, and cello students from around the world. Students receive instruction from world-renowned faculty from institutions such as the Juilliard School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, and more.

For the complete Heifetz calendar, click here.

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Red Wing Roots Music: Natural Chimney Music

Red Wing Roots Festival: 

Say That 3 Times As Fast As You Can!


Red Wing Roots FestivalSeriously, this is a spectacular music festival you do NOT want to miss. And it’s right here in our own backyard! You can also enjoy hiking, biking, and yes, even yoga, during this years three day festival all while enjoying a fantastic musical line up.

The Red Wing Roots Festival has really outdone themselves this year with an incredible line up of musicians, starting with the music power house Steve Earle. He’s considered one of the great American songwriters of our time. He also had close friendships with other great songwriters like Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark.

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The Split Banana, Staunton, VA

The Split Banana: Hot Fun in the Summertime


The Split BananaWith unusual names like Sticky Rice, Pineapple Sage, Mohito, Espresso Biscotto, and Highland County Maple, you get a pretty good idea of the creativity behind The Split Banana, Staunton’s very own gelato storefront.

Then there are the more traditional names like Strawberry, Black Raspberry, and Lemon. In all, Nick Blanton has 18 homemade gelato flavors that really are too good to be true. What’s more, the flavors change on a regular basis. (Be sure to try the Guinness Stout when it’s available!)

Nick’s heavenly dessert shop has hit all the right notes with his customer base, and it’s easy to see why. “All gelato is made on the premises every day. We make only as much as we need for that day because homemade gelato doesn’t last but 2-3 days.” When asked if he ever has to throw any of his product away, his quick reply was, “Rarely.”

No surprise there!

Homemade Gelato from The Split Banana
Homemade Gelato from The Split Banana

The Split Banana differs dramatically from just about any other gelato store in the area. The reasons are simple.

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Blues & Brews Festival, Staunton, VA

Muddy Waters, Jr., Night Hawks, John Huggins
Muddy Waters, Jr. The Nighthawks, and John Huggins


John Huggins is an expansive person. Everything about his personality is warm, open, and engaging.  You can’t help but feel instantly at ease. With a nose for business and a heart as big as the Shenandoah Valley, John loves music, specifically “the Blues.”

But when he moved here 9 years ago, there were no music festivals. Worse, there were no Blues music festivals. That’s when John decided to give the music scene a boost, and Blues & Brews was born.

The kick off festival was held at Oak Grove. Then for 6 successive years, it was held at the Frontier Culture Museum. Then the venue moved downtown. But challenged with space, this year it will be held at Ironwood. “It’s a perfect location,” John said.

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Memorial Day Weekend Fun, Staunton, VA

Memorial Day Weekend Activities Fun for All!

The official beginning of summer, Memorial Day Weekend, will soon be here! And, as usual, Staunton has its annual Art in the Park to celebrate the occasion. This year marks the 51st year of the Gypsy Hill Park art festival. It’s a bit more special than previous years.

That’s because the Virginia Living Magazine awarded the long-running festival the #1 Art Show Venue in the Shenandoah Valley! It’s certainly a deserving award. With this year’s celebration boasting 60 vendors for the two-day weekend, there are plenty of high quality vendors to enjoy.

3 Different Artists You’ll Want To See

There are so many talented artists at the festival this year. Each brings their own interpretation and style to their chosen art. We thought we would showcase three to give you a feel of the quality of the work.

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

We think Mom’s are Special and deserve more than just one day to celebrate!!!

Won’t you join us at the  Inn at Old Virginia  the Entire month of May as we celebrate the special ladies in your life?  We have created two special add-on packages, perfect for pampering the special ladies in your life.


Tea for Two In The Garden

Tea in the Garden, Inn at Old VirginiaJust $27.50

This wonderful add-on is a great way to spend time with Mom. We’ll have your choice of hot or cold tea of the day served to you in our lovely patio garden.

Or, if the weather is rainy, we’ll serve you in the glass conservatory. Either way, enjoy tea with a savory selection of sweets and treats.

Tuesdays-Thursdays, 3-5 p.m.



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Aioli Restaurant: The Mediterranean Lands in Staunton VA

Aioli Restaurant on Mediterranean Cuisine

Chef Said Rhafiri, Aioli Restaurant
Chef Said Rhafiri, Aioli Restaurant

“My mother used to send me to the market every day,” Chef Said Rhafiri said. “She only cooked with the freshest ingredients.” It was that kind of early training in Casablanca, Morocco, that shaped the direction of a young boy’s life. Eventually, it would lead Said to own Aioli Restaurant.

At 20, Said packed up his culinary passion and left for Florence, Italy. There he would study the culinary arts for seven years. It proved to be a worthy investment of time and energy.

Eventually, he moved to the States and landed in Charlottesville, working at some of the most prestigious resorts and inns in the area. Keswick Hall, Clifton Inn, and Boars Head Inn top the list of outstanding hospitality leaders where Said has worked.

He also designed and opened the kitchen at Veritas Vineyards & Winery. Chef Said prepared for 58 weddings each year at the Veritas, plus five-course meals for parties.

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Why You Should Visit Shenandoah National Park In April


Spring in the Shenandoah Valley
Photo by Leo

Ah, Spring in the Shenandoah Valley! You’ll be hard pressed to find a more beautiful place on earth, unless, of course, it’s Fall in the Shenandoah Valley.

Mother Nature paints her work with extraordinary grace all over the Valley. To witness her broad lush strokes of beauty, we encourage you to visit the Shenandoah National Park.

From cascading waterfalls, quiet wooded hollows to spectacular views of the mountains, prepare to be awed and amazed.

With 200,000 protected acres, you’ll delight in the wildlife as well as the over 500 miles of trails. Here’s a map you can refer to when planning your hike.

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