Fun things to do in Charlottesville

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    Murals along a staircase in Old Cabell...
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Charlottesville

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    Humpback Rocks

    by chewy3326 Updated Jul 21, 2011

    Humpback Rocks is a short and steep hike to a beautiful viewpoint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, about a half hour drive from Charlottesville. From the Humpback Gap parking area, the very wide and well maintained trail climbs continuously uphill, with benches along the way if you get tired. The trail eventually narrows and ascends a rock staircase until reaching a junction on the ridgetop, where a spur leads slightly downhill and reaches Humpback Rock about a mile from the trailhead. The rocks are quite extensive but are unfortunately covered with graffiti; despite that, the views from the top are still amazing. The views into the Shenandoah Valley are wide: you can see Waynesboro in the distance. To the north, the ridges of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park are visible. To the east, the views encompass the Piedmont's rolling hills.

    The hike is one of the most scenic in the Charlottesville area. Locals often hike this mountain to see the sunrise; if you choose to do so, bring a flashlight! The rocks lie within George Washington National Forest. It's possible to make the hike a circuit by returning to the main trail and heading down the other side of the mountain through a pleasant forest with plenty of deer; however, there are no views on that trail.

    View into Shenandoah Valley Humpback Rock sunrise
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    Carter Mountain Orchard

    by chewy3326 Updated Jul 20, 2011

    Situated atop Carter Mountain, a large hill in the Piedmont, this orchard not only offers delicious apples in the fall and peaches in the summer- it also offers incredible views over the city of Charlottesville. From the patios of the orchard's shops, you can look out over the University of Virginia and the downtown mall and see the Blue Ridge Mountains rise over the entire area. Turning around, you can see the hills of the Piedmont roll off to the south.

    In the summer and fall, you can come to Carter Mountain Orchard to do pick-your-own peaches and apples for reasonable prices. You can also pick up any number of delicious apple-based goods produced by the orchard- be sure to try the apple cider, apple butter, and apple donuts!

    View from the orchard View towards the Piedmont
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    Charlottesville City Hall

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 17, 2011

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    The old city hall was once the Levy Opera House in 1852 and in 1981 it was remodeled and converted into the Old City Hall. Grigg, Wood, and Brown who designed the present City Hall in 1967 and sadley two years later the old city hall was razed for a parking lot.

    What makes this City Hall unique is the three figures that grace the corner of City Hall. James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.

    Open: Monday - Friday
    8:00am - 5:00pm

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    Tobacco Barn 1790

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 17, 2011

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    This barn was once a place to hang and dry harvested tobacco plants. Tobacco was the primary cash crop in early Virginia. Many large landholders, including the Michies, grew tobacco as their principal money-making crop. However, in time, these same planters cursed tobacco for depleting the soil. Furthermore, as the 19th century approached, tobacco became less profitable. Farmers switched to wheat, corn and other "small grains" which allowed the Old Dominion to be more self sufficient. This barn was relocated to Michie Tavern in 1992. In the near future this structure will restored much like the The Clothier and Metal Smith Shop.

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    Sowell House 1822 ~The Clothier Shop

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 17, 2011

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    The Sowell House was acquired by Michie Tavern in 1993. The initial construction took place 173 years ago, six miles south from here. The original owner, Pleasant Sowell, is believed to have been a cabinetmaker. His craftsmanship and craftmanship of his heirs renders an intimate portrait of a rural Virginia family who owned the house for 150 years. Unlike many other historic houses which illustrate a specific time period, the Sowell House reveals the structure's development over time. We show this structure's development in transition, revealing the transitions in this family's life. Much like Michie Tavern itself, the Sowell House was dismantled piece by piece and moved to this location. Soon after its reconstruction the Sowell House was recognized with three architectural preservation awards.

    Now it is a lovely shop of colonial wear.

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    Piney River Cabin~The Metal Smith Shop

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 17, 2011

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    Virginia's virgin forest provided materials for the settlers' most basic shelter. Centuries ago, first growth trees were felled and the wood hewn to form this single room log cain in Peny River, Virginia, 45 minutes south of here. The structure is being reconstructed on this site and will be used to highlight 18th century trades. Now is serves as a gift shop of metal crafts and art.

    Next to the Michie Tavern and Monticello.

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    Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center Theater

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 17, 2011

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    In the theater is a film about Thomas Jefferson and the visions he had for America's future. How he played in such a crucial role in the revolutionary struggle for our independence, his career and all the wonderful interest he had. The conflicts he had in owning slaves and waiting to be able to free them.

    They have a 15-minute film, developed by Monticello historians and Donna Lawrence Productions of Louisville, Ky., is shown three times per hour every day in high-definition on a 16-foot by 9-foot screen with six-channel surround sound in the 2,400-square foot, 125-seat theater.

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    Robert H. and Clarice Smith Gallery

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 17, 2011

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    This gallery has four wonderful galleries:

    Stacy Smith Liss Gallery (The Words of Thomas Jefferson) is a spiral located on the floor and I found that fun and interesting to look at.

    Michelle Smith Gallery (Thomas Jefferson and 'the Boisterous Sea of Liberty') is an exhibit anyone can put your hands on and learn from. I enjoyed this one too.

    David Bruce Smith Gallery (Making Monticello: Jefferson's 'Essay in Architecture') is neat too because it illustrate the building of Monticello itself and there is copies of Jefferson's drawing and notebook along with models too.

    Jeffrey C. Walker Family Foundation Gallery (Monticello as Experiment: 'To Try All Things') "Useful knowledge" could make life more efficient and convenient ~Jefferson. He was a firm believer in this quote and Monticello was his experiment. So always try things new.

    The Robert H. and Clarice Smith Gallery is accessible from both the courtyard and upper (shuttle bus station) levels of the center. The four exhibitions in the building are open daily.

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    Jefferson's Grave

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 16, 2011

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    Thomas Jefferson is buried at Monticello with other members of his family in a graveyard chosen by him in 1773. Laid out upon the death of his closest friend and brother-in-law, Dabney Carr, this plot is still owned by an association of Jeffersons descendants through his daughters, Martha and Maria, and is still used as a cemetery. Despite Jeffersons astounding range of accomplishments, the epitaph he wrote for his tombstone included only: "Author of the Declaration of American Independence, Of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia."

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    Vegetable Garden & Vineyard

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 16, 2011

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    The Vegetable Garden's dramatic setting is enhanced by the pavilion that Jefferson noted "for the center of the south long walk of the garden" in a manuscript dated ca. 1807-1810. Built along the outer edge of the vegetable garden terrace, it was distinguished by its double-sash windows, Chinese railings, and pyramidal roof. According to one account, Jefferson used the pavilion as a quiet retreat where he would read.

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    Joinery

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 16, 2011

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    Although the chimney is all that remains, this was once a vital part of the plantation. A joiner was a woodworker who made doors, windows, and decorative finishwork, such as cornices and mantels, balustrades and railings. In the forty-year course of the construction and reconstruction of the Monticello house, some of the finest architectural woodwork in Virginia was made in the Mulberry Row joinery. Pine and poplar were the main woods used by Monticello's joiners for the architectural woodwork, which was then painted or, in the case of some of the doors, grained to look like mahogany. The parquet floor in the parlor, the work of James Dinsmore, was of cherry and beech. Most of the joiners were also skilled cabinetmakers, and numerous joinery-made pieces of mahogany, cherry, and walnut furniture survive. John Hemmings was known to have made chairs, tables, desks, and the body of a landau carriage.

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    Slave Cabin

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 16, 2011

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    One of three, one­room log cabins (Buildings r, s, and t) built roughly on top of the old Negro Quarter in the mid­1790s along the eastern extension of Monticello's Mulberry Row. On a 1796 insurance plat, Jefferson described Buildings r, s, and t together, stating: "r. which as well as s. and t. are servants houses of wood with wooden chimnies, & earth floors, 12. by 14. feet, each and 27. feet apart from one another." The design of these buildings contrasts to the barracks­style housing provided for enslaved people on Mulberry Row in the 1770s. Monticello's archaeologists surmise that this change, which coincides with the transition to the cultivation of grain in the 1790s, represents a change in the status of Monticello's slaves, many of whom were gaining valuable new skills and establishing strong family groups.

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    Levy Gravesite~ Stone Dwelling

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 16, 2011

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    In 1809 Jefferson had a stone house, intended as quarters for enslaved workers, built at this location on Mulberry Row, generally where the washhouse once stood.

    This is the grave of Rachel Phillips Levy (1769-1839), daughter of Jonas and Rebecca Machado Phllips of Philadelphia and mother of Commodore Uriah R Levy, USN (1792-1862), who purchased Monticello in 1836. An ardent admirer of Thomas Jefferson, Commodore Levy believed that the houses of great men should be preserved as "monuments to their glory", and he bequeathed Monticello in his will to the "People of the United States." The government relinquished its claim to the estate, however, and litigation over the will deprived Monticello for eventeen years of an owner to care for it. In 1879 Jefferson Monroe Levy (1852-1924), who shared his uncle Uriah's admiration for Jefferson, gained clear title to Monticello and began to make badly needed repairs. After adding considerable land from the original Monticello tract, he sold the house and 662 acres to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation in 1923. At two crucial periods in the history of Monticello, the preservation efforts and stewardship of Uriah P. and Jefferson M. Levy successful maintained the property for future generations.

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    Wine Cellar

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 16, 2011

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    Wines from all over Europe and elsewhere were served at Monticello. The use of this cellar for storing wine is evident from the pair of bottle­sized dumbwaiters that rise through the cellar's ceiling and into both sides of the mantelpiece in the Dining Room above. The dumbwaiters allowed bottles to be discarded and replenished with minimal intrusion in the Dining Room during post­meal conversations.

    Orders for casks and bottles of wine were made on at least on an annual basis. For instance, in February 1820 Jefferson recorded receiving 382 bottles of various wines and "1. cask . . . of Muscat of Rivesalte." The following January he noted that the Muscat "is out, to wit 62 galls in 11. months."

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    Cook's Quarters~South Pavilion Cellar

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 16, 2011

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    This room, completed in 1802 and located next to the Kitchen, was reserved for Monticello's chief cook. First occupied by Peter Hemings, the room became home in 1809 to the family of Edith (Edy) Fossett, Hemings's successor, and her husband and blacksmith Joseph.

    The Fossetts were part of an extended family of farm workers, artisans, and house servants. Because of their skills, they had greater access to money than enslaved people without trades. The Fossetts may have supplemented their food rations by hunting, fishing, and gardening. In the evenings, they pursued a variety of activities here, including cooking, sewing and mending, and, as recalled by their son Peter, spelling.

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