Staunton, VA

Shirley Menendez grew up in Staunton, VA, a small town located in the Shenandoah Valley. It was named one of the best small towns in America by Smithsonian magazine, one of the great small towns near Washington, D.C. by Washingtonian, and one of America’s greatest main streets by Travel & Leisure. The town is pronounced Stanton. Drop the u to pronounce it like locals.

Some of its amenities include:

Blackfriars Playhouse, a re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre, presents plays by Shakespeare as well as other noted playwrights.

Woodrow Wilson, who was born in Staunton, is memorialized by the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum. A highlight is his restored 1919 Pierce Arrow limousine.

The Museum of American Frontier Culture illustrates the daily lives of the valley’s early English, Irish, and German settlers.

Mary Baldwin University, founded in 1842, has a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs.

There are unique shops and delicious dining options downtown.

Click here to explore more about the town.