If you’re planning a weekend getaway via a road trip anytime soon, there’s one place you should keep in mind, especially if you’re in the Mid-Atlantic area of the US. Charlottesville, Virginia, is a small city nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia. With its beautiful, majestic views and plenty to do, let’s dive into why this town should be your next weekend trip’s destination.
Charlottesville Is Rich in History
You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy all the rich history that Charlottesville offers. Known most for its affiliation with Thomas Jefferson and his home there, Monticello, Charlottesville has plenty of other historical offerings. Virginia as a state is known as “the birthplace of presidents,” so you are a short drive to many of our country’s president’s homes while in Charlottesville. In addition to that, you’re a short drive to Colonial Williamsburg and Richmond, Virginia, which was once the nation’s capital of the Confederacy.
The University of Virginia
With most of its campus designed by Thomas Jefferson and inspired by French architecture, the University of Virginia has what many consider the most beautiful college campus in the state and country. Edgar Allen Poe lived in a room in the campus’s historic “Lawn” area and is still available to be viewed in its original state. An area of Charlottesville known by locals as The Corner surrounds a large part of the campus and is home to plenty of charming bookstores, boutiques, and local restaurants.
You may not think you could find high-end or luxury shopping in a small town like Charlottesville, but the opposite is true! Take a stroll on The Downtown Mall, which is the country’s longest pedestrian mall, and enjoy all it has to offer. You can pick up some rare books at one of the many bookstores, grab lunch at one of the many restaurants (you should try The Whiskey Jar). Your companion can spend hours shopping for cute tops for women at any of the many boutiques, and you two can end the night at the famous Miller’s restaurant, where Dave Matthews was a bartender for years before making it big. Charlottesville’s other noteworthy shops are Beecroft & Bull for phenomenal menswear and Scarpa for luxurious womenswear and shoes.
Charlottesville sits at the foot of part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which means virtually everywhere you turn, you get majestic views of the mountain line. There are boundless opportunities for hiking in and around Charlottesville like Old Rag, Humpback Rock, or anywhere along Skyline Drive. Local quarries like Blue Hole offer the chance to swim in natural bodies of water with small trickling waterfalls in the backdrop.
In addition to exploring through hiking or trail walks, you have many orchards surrounding Charlottesville that make a fantastic treat if you’re in town during the right season. Chiles Family Orchard is a local favorite as well as Carter’s Mountain. Carter’s Mountain boasts the best apple cider donuts you’ll ever eat, not to mention live music every Thursday most of the year when the orchard is open.
Arts and Music Scene
Charlottesville has a phenomenal art and music scene, especially when considering how small the city is. The town’s annual Tom Tom Music Festival attracts people from all over the globe. The amphitheater in Charlottesville, owned by Dave Matthews’s manager, attracts more prominent names than many big cities nearby. Aside from that, there are smaller local venues like The Paramount and The Jefferson that host outstanding live performances. Charlottesville is also home to several fantastic art galleries and many artists. Whether you want to stroll through the McGuffey Art Center or go to a more modern gallery-like Les Yeux Du Monde gallery downtown, there is art everywhere you turn, it seems.
There is more to Charlottesville than this list can cover, of course. If you’re looking for a town that can somehow feel “sleepy” and “exhilarating” simultaneously, then it’s worth a trip. Charlottesville is the type of town where you can get what you want from your trip and have a jam-packed day or a lazy one. Let the places mentioned above be your jumping-off point for places to visit while you’re there because you’ll be coming back for more. Happy Trails!