Love Chili? VA Chili Blues & Brews Festival Is For You!

Virginia Chili Blues & Brews Festival 2017

VA Chili Blues & BrewsWhether you’re a serious chili lover or just love the combination of chili, blues, and craft beer, the Virginia Chili Blues & Brews Festival has a ticket with your name on it!

In its 10th year, you’re encouraged to “dust off your grandma’s recipe or conjure up a recipe that would make grandma do the two-step.”

That’s some serious chili talk!

With over 3,000 attendees expected this year, the event is held in downtown Waynesboro in the Lumos Plaza, formerly Spring Lane.

All for a good cause! Virginia Chili Blues & Brews Festival benefits the Waynesboro Arts & Culture Initiative.

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Stable Craft Brewery: A Farm-to-Table Brewery

This Brewery Is Really One-of-a-Kind!

Hops at Stable Craft Brewery
Hops at Stable Craft Brewery

Stable Craft Brewery is billed as a “farm brewery.” You don’t hear that very often, do you? But the description is spot on!

Committed to green living practices and an organic approach to crafting beer, Stable Craft Brewery even grows its own hops.

Currently, they have over 800 hops plants to ensure the high quality of their beer.

With a rotation of 16 beers on tap and a small batch rotation, there’s a beer to suit every palate.

Stable Craft Brewery offers farm and brewery tours too. From the magnificent horses to the hop fields, you can get a close-up look at how a sustainable brewery farm works.

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The Farm to Table Food Truck: Appalachian Inspired Cuisine


Appalachian Inspired Cuisine Comes to the Shenandoah Valley

Farm Fresh Fixin ChickenCarter Raab comes from a long line of cattle farmers and great cooks. Not surprisingly, he was raised to appreciate the land and our relationship to it.

Those values also taught him to appreciate the environment in which food is grown and prepared.

With grandmothers and great aunts to nurture his love of cooking, it was the women in his life that fueled his culinary desire.

These women were raised on a true “farm-to-table” life. In the same vein as the Waltons, Carter’s relatives were committed to the “work the land to feed your family” lifestyle.

With a love for fixing fresh wholesome food, even his deep roots in Appalachia couldn’t keep him in Virginia. Driven to learn more, Carter attended and graduated from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu culinary school.

From there, he found his way into the kitchens of fine dining restaurants in Florida, South Carolina, Oregon, and Virginia.

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Inn Focus: The Gift Shop at Inn at Old Virginia

Not Your Everyday B & B Gift Shop

Gift Shop at Inn at Old VirginiaEverything about the Inn at Old Virginia is beautiful and elegant. So, of course, the gift shop is too! It’s filled with all kinds of unusual items that will delight and surprise you.

Kathryn Gavel, one of the innkeepers, is responsible for the beautiful and tasteful selection of gifts on display. Kathryn’s sharp eye for unusual gifts includes calendars, children’s books, and puzzles by Will Moses, Grandma Moses’ great grandson. Mr. Moses’ style, American folk art, bears a strong resemblance to his great grandmother’s work.

Then there is the extraordinary photography of local artist Rebecca Lilly, a nature lover.  When looking at her photography, you won’t look at Mother Nature in the same way again. Her note cards have exquisite photographic arrangements of flowers with mountains and pastures as the backdrop.

But the gift shop has much more to offer.

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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.

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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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