Most visitors don't pay attention to this device in my picture. It's a spherical sundial indicating apparent solar time. The device was designed by Thomas Jefferson and placed on the North Terrace of Monticello. It was something of a novelty in Jefferson's time and probably the first spherical dial in use in North America.
Walking off the beaten path around Jefferson's house I've found numerous beautiful trees in fall colours and the fish pond. Fish caught in neighbouring streams were kept alive in this pool until needed for table use.
Walking around Charlotteville's downtown I've found many examples of great local architecures (see my next pictures) and impressive, historic statue of two guys standing on a post placed in the middle of green space of Midway Park. The statue of two Virginians: Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and Sacagawea was unveiled in 1919.
The Lewis and Clark expedition (1804–1806; over 8000 miles during 28 months) was the first United States overland expedition to the Pacific coast and back, led by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark, of the United States Army. It is also known as the Corps of Discovery. Sacagawea was a Shoshone woman who accompanied the Corps of Discovery. Lewis was born near Charlottesville and he was appointed private secretary to President Thomas Jefferson.
On the way to Jefferson vineyards I stopped for a while in a settlement called Simeon to visit a church built in 1892 - Saint Luke's Episcopal Chapel. But doors were closed in the late afternoon.
Scenes in Ford's novel Janice Meridith are laid in Simeon. Ive got to know from the sign (picture 3) that there was a house of Jefferson's friend Philip Mazzei in Simeon - it was called Colle. He was Italian surgeon, merchant, and horticulturist. He adapted grape culture to Virginia.
Some 300 yards south of VA-53 and VA-732 crossroads I've found the old Simeon farm store. Now it's BRIX Marketplace, a fantastic place to get lunch, I suppose but I was not hungry. Instead I amazed countryside landscape with vineyards along hills and meadows with pasturing cows.
The Saunders Monticello Trail at the base of Jefferson's little mountain is a gorgeous easy hike or even bike ride. We found it at http://www.charlottesvillewelcomebook.com/Sports_&_Outdoor_Adventures/ The wide gravel path is full of strollers but as you get higher, people start returning down but you can get all the way to top on trails and see much more with a unique perspective as opposed to parking with the multitudes at the visitor's center. You can do the trail just for the trail's sake, check out the exhibits at teh free visitor's center or even go all the way up to Jefferson's home at Monticello.
Blue Mountain Brewery is a must-do. This new brewery at the gorgeous foothills of the Blue Ridge. You can enjoy great food and take a tour of the microbrew in Afton, right between Charlottesville and Wintergreen. After your tour, lounge on the big patio and enjoy a great meal, tasty beer and a view of the picturesque countryside. Come on the weekends for local music too.
Most visitors to University of Virginia visit the Rotunda which is a must-to-see. Apart from that I took a walk around university grounds including the area located north of main University Avenue.
I've seen a few charming, old buildings hidden behind picturesque fall trees:
1. Booker House;
2. Brooks Hall (the Anthropology Department) completed in 1877 in style completely different from the Jeffersonian tradition;
3. Madison Hall opened in 1905 for YMCA. It currently houses administrative offices, including those of the University president. It was named in honor of President James Madison, who succeeded Thomas Jefferson and became the second president of the University.
Lee Park contains all of the land bounded by Jefferson Street, First Street N.E., Market Street and Second Street N.E. (map here).
Imposing, equastrian Robert Edward Lee Monument dominates the park standing at its highest point. The statue was unveiled in 1924. Robert Edward Lee (1807 – 1870) was a career U.S. Army officer and the most successful general of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. Another famous Confederate soldier - Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson - has an equastrian monument in nearby Jackson Park since 1921.
Walking around Charlottesville's downtown I've found a few impressive buildings in classical style. Well, copying classical ancient temples is a worldwide custom, not only American. They are pit up to house noble and important institutions like government offices, libraries, banks etc.
In Charlottesville I've seen among others:
- Jefferson-Madison Regional Library (formerly post office and court building) along the Downtown Mall (201 E. Market Street) - it's a place to access the internet (for free up to 1 hour 9am - 9 pm) if you need,
- building of the Bank of America (corner E. Main St. & 3rd St. E.).
As usual, in especially smaller American cities and towns, I took at least 30 min. walk without a map (next time I'll use GPS not to get lost :-) just to see what's around the corner.
In Charlottesville I've found empty streets with 2-3 floor brick, square buildings and old, large advertisements written on the walls. Something I knew well from movies - boring for Americans, I suppose but may be interesting for a foreign visitor who looks at the buildings for the first time.
Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826 - exactly on the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence - and is burried at Monticello with other members of his family in fenced, charming Monticello Cemetery hidden among trees at the west end of Mulberry Row. The cemetery was closed but I could see all graves through a decorative fence.
The letters "O.S." appearing after birth dates on Jefferson's tombstone stand for "Old Style." The Julian or Old Style calendar was in effect in England and her colonies until 1752, when the Gregorian or New Style calendar was adopted. This added eleven days to the current date to bring the calendar year into step with the astronomical year. Thus, the birthday of Jefferson, who was born on April 2 under the Old Style calendar, is now celebrated on April 13, the New Style date. The Gregorian or New Style calendar is still in use today.
Walking around the West Lawn of Jefferson's house in Monticello I amazed colorful flowers in bloom in late October. Well, there are more blooming flowers in April, May, I am sure but... those I was lucky to see looked great as well.
Jefferson was a passionate gardener and he grew over 100 species of herbaceous flowers at Monticello. He received seeds by ship from Paris. For fans of gardening there are guided garden tours (free of charge; one hour) - ask for details at the ticket office.
Keep your eyes open when you visit Monticello in late October or early November. Walking around the Jefferson's house I've seen a lot of amazing fall trees and even more on the trail back down to the parking lot. My advice is to skip the shuttle down and walk down on foot and to pay a visit to Thomas Jefferson's grave on the way. Close to the Jefferson's house some trees (rare species?) are signed with the name in English and Latin.
In my homecountry (Poland) fall trees look amazing as well but there is one difference. Leaves on each fall tree has almost the same one colour (red or yellow or still green) in Poland while in Virginia there are trees with leaves of different colours on particular branches. Fantastic!
1) Hogswaller Neighborhood/Livestock Market/Woolen Mills tour: This is an unusual part of the town. Check out the livestock market on Saturday Afternoons. Park on Franklin St (on google maps), where the market is located. You can even buy a sandwich there while you watch the inscrutable old farmers buy their animals. Walk or drive north up to East Market St and turn right. Go to the end of the road and park by the river. The Rivanna river is still a fairly neglected river, with a totally wild feel to it even in the parts that skirt the city limits.
2) Spudnuts Donuts. Avon St at Monticello Rd. Apparently, this was once a large franchise, but nowadays there are only a few left, all but one of which are located west of the Mississippi. The Charlottesville branch has very limited hours, so it is best to come before noon. The donuts are made out of potato flour and are quite unlike any other donuts I have ever had.
3) UVA Gardens at night. This isn't really off the beaten path, as many people visit these unique gardens right alongside the academical village and Rotunda. However, the gardens are really much more interesting at night. Almost all of them are kept open all night long and the lighting is perfect for nocturnal adventures. Creep around laughing at the students making out and imagining how Edgar A. Poe must have felt way back when.
4) Deadalus Book Store. Charlottesville has an amazing variety of used book stores for a town its size. I would start with Deadalus Books on 3rd (or 4th? I can never remember) St NE and East Market St. This is advertised as a "labyrinth" of books, and that is a pretty good description.
5) Drive south on Old Lynchburg Rd (on google maps). Pretty much any small road leaving Charlottesville will put you in some beautiful countryside, but I think this is an under-appreciated country drive that you will appreciate even (perhaps especially) if you end up getting lost.
Wintergreen Resort is nestled on the Eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is a place where the Blue Ridge can be enjoyed year-round. There are ski slopes for winter fun and tennis and two golf courses for summer sports. There is a fabulous spa available 12 months of the year.
This area provides interesting history trips, wine tasting stops and lots of offerings for different seasonal sports.
We visited Wintergreen during the early part of November. Most of the color was gone from the trees but the weather was perfect.
Outside the apartments at Wintergreen there are piles of wood available for fires in their real wood-burning fireplaces.
There was also a shuttle available to take us to the spa and the pool and even to the different restaurants.
The fee included daily maid service.
Very nice place indeed.