My story is one that the Staunton Chamber of Commerce needs to know about. Having lived and worked most my life in Alaska, I was the victim of an over-active retirement fantasy (it comes with the territory). I knew that I didn’t want to grow old in Alaska, so I decided to shop for a retirement home. I knew the general parameters of what I was looking for, which pointed me to the Southern Blue Ridge. Even though I was too young to retire, I began vacationing along the Blue Ridge, shopping for real estate.
I visited Staunton during the early 1990’s and was not impressed (it looked a little shabby at the time, if you ask me). I bought property near Boone, NC in 1997 and retired there in 2006. In the meantime, much to my surprise, Dr. Ralph Cohen and Shenandoah Shakespeare had sneaked in and built the Blackfriars Playhouse, which opened in 2001.
Being a life-long Shakespeare fan, I found myself visiting so often to attend the plays that Staunton became a home away from home. Finally in 2011, I bought a condo in Staunton as a “second home”, which it was for about two weeks, when I decided it was to be my primary residence. Now Staunton is home and the mountains of NC is where I go to beat the heat in summer.
I am always surprised when I talk to my neighbors about the Blackfriars and here them say, “Oh yes, I’ve always intended to go there sometime.” I only wish that they could appreciate the jewel in their midst, that has attracted me from afar.
– Robert Sloan, Staunton transplant and ASC Enthusiast