Fun things to do in Charlottesville

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

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    Kitchen~South Pavilion Cellar

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 16, 2011

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    The kitchen was among the best equipped in Virginia. While serving as U.S. Minister to France, Jefferson purchased a large number of cooking utensils for his residence in Paris. In the early 1790s, as part of an 86­crate shipment of goods, he had them shipped back to America and eventually to Monticello. While the cellar of the South Pavilion housed Monticello's first, relatively small kitchen, a second kitchen was constructed during the expansion of the house. Completed by 1809, the newer, much larger work space featured a bake oven, a fireplace, and an eight­opening stew stove with integrated set kettle. A tall case clock also stood in the kitchen: Isaac Jefferson, one of Monticello's former slaves, recalled that the only time Jefferson went into the kitchen was to wind the clock.

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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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    Side trip to Shenandoah National Park

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Apr 12, 2009

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    When in Charlottesville, be sure to make the 30-minute side trip to Skyline Drive at Shenandoah National Park. The cost is $10 per car for one week of unlimited entry and exit. The feature of the park is Skyline Drive, a twisty, turny two-lane road that follows the ridge of the mountains providing countless breathtaking views to the east and west, along with wildlife, hiking trails, falls, and a few rest areas with snacks and souvenirs.

    Shenandoah National Park is a 105 mile long park that sits in Western Virginia between Interstate 66 to the north and I-64 to the south. The park covers almost 200,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness, with scenic, winding Skyline Drive running through the middle. Most of Skyline Drive is atop the ridges and has dozens of beautiful overlooks, quiet picnic areas, and peaceful hikes.

    Skyline Drive is the centerpiece of Shenandoah National Park. It is controlled-access, meaning only vehicles which pay the $10 fee may enter. Though the price seems steep, it greatly limits the numbers of vehicles on this scenic and historic route. The 105 mile long roadway, running northeast to southwest has only four entrances, from north to south: Dickey Ridge off US Highway 340, Thornton Gap from US 211, Swift Run Gap at US 33, and Rockfish Gap at US 250 and Interstate 64.

    Skyline Drive is packed with overlooks, gaps, and picnic areas announced with fanciful names such as Bearfence Mountain, Little Stony Man, and Hogwallow. You will be hard pressed to find a 1/4 mile stretch with no pull-off areas. Food and gas are a little more difficult to find... the drive has about 5 areas with food and only 2 with gasoline. You may need to venture off the parkway to get necessities.

    Sunset from Skyline Drive
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    Visitor Center Information Downtown

    by Yaqui Written Jun 24, 2011

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    What a huge visitor center. The wonderful lady was very helpful is sharing information about all the downtown acitivity. If your not sure about an area, make sure to check places like these out.

    Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily
    Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

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    South Pavilion~Cellar

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 16, 2011

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    The South Paviion at the end of the terrace was the first building erected on the mountaintop. Jefferson lived there from November 1770, while the first Monticello was under construction. He and his wife, Martha, started their married life in the pavilion's upper room in 1772.

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    Stables~ North Pavilion Cellar

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 16, 2011

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    The stables is part of the North Dependency wing, which was completed in 1809, contains the North Privy, the Ice House, and an area for parking carriages. It connects the main house to the North Pavilion.

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    Three Notch'd Road

    by Yaqui Written Jun 19, 2011

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    The marker reads: Three Notch'd Road Q-21 Also called Three Chopt Road, this colonial route ran from Richmond to the Shenandoah Valley. It likely took its name from three notches cut into trees to blaze the trail. A major east-west route across central Virginia from the 1730s, it was superseded by Route 250 in the 1930s. Part of Jack Jouett's famous ride and the Marquis de Lafayette's efforts to prevent Gen. Charles Cornwallis from obtaining munitions took place along this road. Today West Main Street and part of University Avenue approximate the Three Notch'd Road's original course through present-day Charlottesville.~Q-21

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    North Pavilion~Cellar

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 16, 2011

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    The North Pavilion was completedin 1808 and was used at one time as study by Jefferson's son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph. Restoration of the dependencies is under way. The North Privy was on of six known "necessaries". The pit under the seat connects to a sink that opens in the hill side.

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