Architecture off the beaten path
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.
- Budget Travel
- Hiking and Walking
Top 5 unusual Charlottesville
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.
Hike to Monticello
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.
Brewery & hops farm
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.
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
Jefferson's Wine Cellar
There was a pulley arrangment on either side of the fireplace in the Dining Room that would allow wine to be transported from the cellar to the table:)
Underneath the house
The rooms and storage areas that run under the house and the porch are lit only by windows like this. The rooms where people lived only had doors, so in the winter they would be very dark indeed.
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
The Jefferson family gravesite
This is located at the far end of the kitchen garden and down a small hill. It is on the path back to the visitor center and parking lot.
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
Bus up -- walk down ...
I'd recommend taking the bus up to the house from the parking lot, but walking down.
This was a unique tree wrapped around a tree on that path.
hey our old friend Sam...
hey our old friend Sam -Walmart-Walton is really going gangbusters now that martha stewart and her k-mart cronies are going up the river. Now I'll have to look to Sam for my McMonticello furnishings.