Home to the University of Virginia, Charlottesville has become a favorite vacation destination for thousands of people every year, and not just because of the football. Today the city is known for its entertainment industry, beautiful scenery, eclectic foods, and hospitable people. Charlottesville dates back to 1762, when it was named after Princess Charlotte, who later became Queen of England. The town—which was officially named a city in 1888—has been the home of three US presidents, served as a camp for housing prisoners during the Revolutionary War, and was farmed by Meriwether Lewis’ great great grandfather.
For the History Buff:
If you’re planning a trip to Charlottesville, don’t miss out on the awesome opportunity to freshen up on your history. Visit Thomas Jefferson’s former home at Monticello; take a peek around Ash Lawn Highland, home of President Monroe; go for a stroll down the Jefferson Heritage Trail; and check out the Confederate Memorial. Or browse through the collection of books in one of the many historic libraries (including the Woodrow Wilson library, located just north of Charlottesville) or do some shopping in the historic Charlottesville mall.
For the Foodie:
For those with a more refined palate, a dinner set among rolling country hills and picket fences in the country will not disappoint, especially if it’s at the Clifton Inn. While dinner is on the pricier side, the restaurant offers guests the option of choosing a tasting menu with fresh, local ingredients on an individual basis. Dining in a large southern mansion—complete with pillars and all—you’ll feel as though Rhett Butler himself just may appear.
If you prefer a more easygoing atmosphere but still enjoy high-quality tastes, Aberdeen Barn won’t disappoint. Known for preparing food from the fires of its open charcoal hearth, Aberdeen specializes in seafood and steaks, and can accommodate needs for a large party, a romantic candlelit dinner, or a guys’ night out (the restaurant boasts a Sportsmen’s Lounge).
To satisfy your sweet tooth or indulge in a breakfast croissant, Baker’s Palette has you covered. Owned by the world-renowned Sheila Cervelloni, the stop specializes in one-of-a-kind creations and always has something new and surprising for sampling. Known for its wonderful customer service and variety of sweet treats, the bakery offers everything from scones to cinnamon rolls, bagels to brownies. And many of the products are offered gluten free.
For the Fun-Haver:
A vacation isn’t any fun if, well, you don’t do anything fun. Try one of the multitude of festivals that occurs year round in Charlottesville, visit the Southern Cafe and Music Hall, explore the wine trails, discover the many hiking trails, enjoy the plethora of boutiques and stores within the Downfall shopping mall, experience the breweries and vineyards, and much, much more.
Before you pack your suitcase and make your way to this lively southern town, check the weather report and visit the city’s website for information about activities, specific concerts, and festivals that will take place during your visit. Remember, it can be hot in the summer and chilly in the winter, so pack accordingly, and prepare yourself for good food, good people, and a good time.