Charlottesville is the ideal location for learning about U.S. history (at Monticello or Highland, which are the homes of the first country’s politicians) or its coming years (at the University of Virginia, for instance). You also can simply enjoy the present moment. To do so, experience a nice route along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park or a wine trip to one of the vineyards on the Monticello Wine Trail. No matter what you are seeking—historical sightseeing, picturesque scenery or local wine— Charlottesville surely has it all, and fall is the ideal season to visit.
Charlottesville is named after Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of King George III of Great Britain, who was taught music by Johann Sebastian Bach’s son Johann Christian Bach, and who installed the first Christmas tree back in 1800. In addition, it is this queen who owns the recipe for the world’s most famous apple pie, which is why it is called Charlotte. What is more, this city is believed to be the birthplace of oriental shorthair cats known as Havana brown. You can also find Thе Cat House, a lovely shop for cat lovers.
Monticello is an architectural masterpiece developed and then lived in by Thomas Jefferson, the founding father and the third president of the United States. “I am happier than anywhere else, in any other environment, and my strongest wish is that my days end in MontiCello,” wrote Jefferson, who built his dream house for 40 years and finally finished it in 1809. To date, this is the only house in America designated as a UN World Heritage Site. Built in the Roman neoclassical style, the house was the main, central part of a 5,000-acre plantation, tended by 150 slaves. Today, Monticello does not embellish either Jefferson’s role as a slave owner or the fact that he probably had children with slave Sally Hemings—the confusing past of the man who proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that “all people are created equal.” Jefferson and his family are buried on a small wooded plot of land next to the house, which can only be accessed as part of a guided tour.
You can’t visit Charlottesville without observing the Blue Ridge Mountains, which peer over the rooftops of buildings, and seeing them up close is essential. Skyline Drive, which runs along the crests of those highs, is the region’s most popular way to see all of that golden Virginia greenery this season. Take note: It’s a long, spiral bear crossing, so obey the 35-mph vehicle speed and do not forget anything.
Less risky prospect lovers can just exit Charlottesville via Barracks Road, which quickly turns to hedges and grasslands before becoming Garth Road, recognized for its horse ranches, wineries and fascinating views of the above-mentioned mountain peaks. The braver should discover one of two secret entries to the abandoned Blue Ridge Tunnel, which is situated just outside of the city. You cannot pass through it anymore, but the entry is mesmerizing.
Virginia is one of the leading wine-producing areas in the U.S., with over 40 vineyards in the Charlottesville region. It is an ideal wine location that allows you to search for a bottle for a weekday evening as well as one to keep for a special occasion.
Over the last few years, the quantity of wineries in this region has risen from a couple to a slew. Since the 1990s, the wine situation in Charlottesville and Albemarle County has exploded due to land, weather and enthusiasm for producing high-quality beverages. Thomas Jefferson imagined the Charlottesville region full of wineries and even tried to grow grapes and start producing wine himself.
In the Charlottesville region, you may visit vineyards of all types and sizes, and its wine society has something to give everyone. Wineries are inviting locations to have a rest and relax with friends and relatives, no matter if you are a newbie to wine or have been drinking it for ages.
In case you enjoy trekking, backpacking and exploring beautiful scenery, come to Charlottesville and Albemarle County, where nature-lovers can experience adventure at every height and speed. In Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the neighboring Shenandoah Park, there are numerous picturesque paths to discover, with possibilities for tourists of all skills and experiences. The Shenandoah National Park is a wonderful place for daily hikes, with 500 miles of magnificent pathways and 500 acres of protected areas. Charlottesville’s mild weather and rich land allow for the growth of many lovely farmlands and fruit trees. People come from all over the world to devote an enjoyable day to collecting fruits and learning more about what farm-to-table implies.
Food and Drink
Charlottesville is well-known for its large concentration of eateries, and you will discover a wide range of cuisines here. Taste different flavors from all over the world in one location, including those from Nepal to Peru and Honduras to Turkey. Traditional American dishes are also available, as are an enormous amount of local products. Chefs and restaurant managers collaborate with nearby farms to supply fresh food, meat, cheese and other ingredients for their seasonally influenced recipes.
Arts & Culture
Charlottesville and the Albemarle region have a vibrant cultural and artistic scene that includes it all from big-name entertainers to well-known local musicians. Actually, the iconic Dave Matthews formed his group while working as a bartender on the Downtown Mall and still performs sold-out concerts in Charlottesville on a constant schedule.
There’s a reason why “Virginia is for lovers,” whether it be wine lovers, outdoor lovers, culture lovers or history lovers.