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Where Tradition Meets Contemporary Living - It’s Charlottesville
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Hill Mountains in Virginia, Charlottesville invites visitors to experience a world where old meets new, the kind of place where you can watch a modern performance one day and explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site the next. There’s so much to see and do here that you’ll want to stay a while. Thankfully, there’s a good choice of accommodation options that will help you do just that. Whether you’re looking for a historic B&B or would prefer to choose from the city’s selection of modern hotels, you’re guaranteed a warm welcome.
The Jefferson Effect
History here revolves around Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s Founding Fathers and the country’s third president. His legacy can be best explored at Charlottesville’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. At the University of Virginia, you can admire Jefferson’s architectural design expertise, in particular, at the neoclassical Rotunda. His work at the university gave birth to modern college campuses across the country. Five miles southeast of the campus is Monticello; Jefferson’s former home, another example of ingenious design, and an internationally acclaimed destination. If you’d like to visit more presidential homes, Highland, the home of James Monroe, and Montpelier, the home of James Madison, are both within driving distance. While in the mood for history, be sure to stop for refreshments at Michie Tavern, a Virginia Historic Landmark established in 1784.
The area surrounding Charlottesville is blessed with a stunning natural landscape. The numerous hiking trails available to visitors include those at Ragged Mountain and Ivy Creek although if you want to experience true wilderness you should head to the Shenandoah National Park. The potential activities here include not only hiking but also kayaking, swimming, rock climbing, and horseback riding. Of course, you don’t have to solely explore on foot; the landscape lends itself perfectly to scenic drives. Popular routes include Skyline Drive along the crest of the nearby mountains although, in truth, there are sumptuous views to be enjoyed on pretty much every turn. In the summer, the James River is ideal for tubing and fishing while the winter months bring with them the chance to enjoy skiing and snowboarding.
Shopping for Souvenirs
The piece de resistance of Charlottesville’s shopping scene must be the Historic Downtown Mall in the Main Street area. Home to more than 120 shops and boutique stores, this eight-block strip is said to be one of the nation’s most beautiful pedestrian malls. On Saturday mornings, the focus turns to local produce and artisan gifts when the Charlottesville City Market vendors set out their stalls to tempt passers-by. Similar local offerings can be found throughout the week at The Corner and West Main Street while additional highlights for label fans include Albemarle and Seminole Squares. Fashionistas will want to head to Fashion Square Mall while those who like to make a day of it can head to the Shops at Stonefield where high-end stores and boutiques sit alongside dining options and an IMAX movie theatre.
Foodies will have absolutely nothing to complain about during their time in Charlottesville. The eclectic mix of dining spots on offer include everything from cheap eats to plush hotel restaurants. Highlights, of course, include the option to dine al fresco at one of the pavement cafes and restaurants in the historic downtown area, not to mention the chance to take the whole family to visit one of the many family-run orchards and farms just outside the city. Of course, you’ll need a drink or two to wash your meal down. The Brew Ridge Trail celebrates craft beer in Virginia while wine lovers can set off the Monticello Wine Trail; a collection of more than 30 wineries, all within a 30-minute drive of Charlottesville.
Enjoy Arts & Entertainment
Charlottesville boasts an impressive arts and entertainment scene. Music lovers can catch a performance at intimate venues such as The Southern and the Jefferson Theatre or go large with a night at the Paul Jones Arena or Sprint Pavilion. Those who prefer performing arts are equally well taken care of. You can watch local companies performing at the Heritage Theatre Festival or grab a ticket for one of the many touring acts that pass through the city; many performances can be found taking place at the University of Virginia or at the stunning Paramount Theatre. Visitors can also enjoy the workshops and artist galleries found along the Monticello Artisan Trail.