BIG TIME CULTURE, SMALL TOWN COOL
The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum is located in one of five National Historic Districts in beautifully preserved downtown Staunton, Virginia. Recent investments in Staunton’s historic downtown now total more than $200 million. In 2002, Staunton received the Great American Main Street Award, recognizing it as one of the ten most unique small cities in America.
Today Staunton looks much as it would have to Woodrow Wilson, yet despite its deep commitment to history Staunton is not stuck in the past. Historic rehabilitation projects, adaptive reuse of old buildings, and brand new businesses continuously breathe new life to this vibrant town. In 2005, the City partnered with private firms to complete the restoration of the 124-room Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center. The Blackfriars Playhouse, a perfect replica of its Elizabethan namesake in London, opened in 2001 as the performance space for the American Shakespeare Center.
Visitors come to Staunton from all over the world, but most are Americans interested in Virginia’s many historic towns, battlefields, and museums. Less than three hours from Washington, D.C. and 35 minutes Charlottesville, Virginia—the site of Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello; James Monroe’s home, Ash-Lawn Highland; and the University of Virginia—Staunton sits conveniently at the intersection of I-81 and I-64.
Virginia has more than 25 Presidential Landmarks representing 13 U.S. Presidents. The Presidential Trail of Virginia offers travelers an itinerary highlighting many presidential homes, museums, birthplaces, memorials and gravesites across the state. While visiting presidential landmarks, travelers can explore many other historical sites as well as experiencing modern day Virginia life.