Featured Day Trip: Charlottesville, VirginiaNovember 15, 2017
Andrew J Quillen
There’s nothing better than getting out of the house and making new memories; one of the best ways to do this is by taking a daytrip. George Mason is perfectly located for a number of fantastic daytrips: Harper’s Ferry, WV, Annapolis, MD, and Charlottlesville, VA, just to name a few. For this post I will focus my attention on Charlottesville. With its vibrant, friendly feel and close proximity (two hours via car, bus, or Amtrak), Charlottesville, Virginia is a perfect day (or weekend) trip.
I’m from the Charlottesville area, so I know and love its incredible restaurants, breweries, tours, and sights. While C-Ville’s to-do list is extensive, I’ll highlight a few top spots in the city and surrounding area to get you started:
Monticello is an ideal first stop. Once Thomas Jefferson’s home, this picturesque house and grounds form an enveloping museum of American history. It is a World Heritage Site, historic house and plantation, museum, research institute, presidential library and private, non-profit organization. Explore the gardens, take in the views, learn about the 3rd President’s past, and hear the trying stories of the servants and slaves who maintained the estate. Monticello will certainly transport you back to the youth of the of our nation. Remember to ask for change in two dollar bills!
Nelson151 has been dubbed Virginia’s Weekend Address, and for good reason. This region claims an incredibly diversity of breweries (Devil’s Backbone, Blue Mountain, Wild Wolf, Bold Rock) and vineyards (Veritas, Flying Fox, Afton Mountain, Hill Top) to keep you busy. It boasts easy access to a number of incredible hikes (Spy Rock, Appalachian Trail, Humpback Rock), and you will most certainly never go hungry. Some of my favorite food stops include: Paulie’s Pigout (BBQ), Basic Necessities (European), and dining (brunch, lunch, happy hour, and dinner) at the breweries. Come down for a day or a whole weekend – whatever you do, take a visit!
Historic Downtown Mall – Are you looking for food, entertainment, and shopping? This is the place to be. The Downtown Mall hosts a plethora of dining options – the trick? They’re ALL delicious! Some of my personal favorites include: Marco and Luca Noodle Shop, Bizou, The Flat, Bang!, Downtown Grille, and Christian’s Pizza. Check out a live performance at the Paramount or Jefferson theaters, or attend the Sprint Pavilion’s line-up. Finish the evening with a stop by Splendora’s gelato shop, South Street Brewery, the Whiskey Jar, or Tastings wine bar. This is a great one-stop for a day of food, entertainment, and fun!
Scattered around Charlottesville are some true hidden gems: Swannanoa Palace is an Italian marble masterpiece right off the interstate – it’s definitely worth a visit. Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie is one of my all-time favorite restaurants – it’s worth the drive by itself! Nearby Pippin Hill Vineyard and Lovingston Winery are perfect to visit while in the area.
This post offers just a taste of the expansive, diverse offerings to get you started in Charlottesville. Whether you drive, take a bus, or ride the train, C-Ville is a perfect place to visit no matter what your tastes. I just warn you: you won’t want to leave!