Friday, May 23, 2008

Short Trips from Fredericksburg - Charlottesville

Jeff has a great idea over at the fburg real estate blog. So I'm stealing it for a post.

Short Trip ideas so as not to break the bank on gas or airline fees.

Charlottesville VA
1 to 1.5 hours South West of Fredericksburg

Charlottesville is a very historic town. The home of Thomas Jefferson, who also founded the University of Virginia. The city now is home to some 50k residents plus a sizeable student population. Back in the 70's and 80's, to revitalize downtown, they closed several blocks of main street to traffic, bricked over the street, planted trees, and created a downtown mall. Today it's just one center of activities, and always lively (except maybe Sunday mornings).

How to get there is part of your adventure. I suggest going west on RT 3, the south on RT 20, when you get to the traffic circle at Gordonsville you have no less than 3 choices. Go west on 33 to 29 south (passing Barboursville and Horton vineyards), or go 231 south to 64 through horse country (passing Keswick vineyard), or take the bigger road 15 south to 64 east to cville.

If you aren't big on 2 lane roads, you can either take 3 west to 29 south or go south on 95 to 64 west.

Things I suggest doing
- take off Friday early and hit the free downtown concert Fridays After Five
- wake up early on Sat to enjoy the farmers market, go early
- visit Monticello or Montpelier
- for children, go to the discovery museum on the downtown mall (bricked over treed walking mall)
- on a warm summer day, get your bathing suit on and try tubing on the James River ( or )
- for adults, check out a wine tour

Suggestions on vineyards
Stone mountain vineyards (tiny country road, well worth it for the view)
Horton vineyards
Barboursville (Shakespeare in the ruins is fun)
White Hall
There are many many more, so be sure to check both the Charlottesville website and google

While in town, be sure to experience cville dining. I suggest Mas for Spanish tapas, Blue Light for seafood and pasta, Bang for Asian, South Street Brewery for good food and delicious in house microbrews. Sal's pizza and atomic burrito are always good and quick. I haven't tried Ten, but I hear its THE place for sushi.

This town has a lot of art and music. You can catch a show at the restored Paramount Theatre (get tickets well in advance) or check for concerts either at the downtown amphitheater (Charlottesville Pavilion) or at John Paul Jones arena on UVA's campus. If you go in the fall the school hosts the Virginia film festival with shows all over town. Almost all of the places downtown and on 'the corner' have live music one night a week. Even atomic burrito which has all of probably 5 tables has a DJ or band. Art galleries are spread throughout the city, and have various hours. Stop at any grocery store on the way into town and pick up either C'Ville Weekly or The Hook for a good listing of happenings.

Of course if you have teens thinking of college, be sure to get a tour of the UVA campus. Look for the signature Jefferson walls, and the optical illusion of the lawn. Go to 'the corner' (around 1500 University Ave for your GPS) for a view of college life, get a UVA cap at the bookstore, or a Gus burger at the white spot restaurant.

Whew, I started this thinking of a weekend, but I think you could easily turn it into a week. If you stay, check out the many b&b's. Silver Thatch Inn is a popular place, if you have the time to venture up the blue ridge parkway, you might think of staying at Graves Mountain Inn.

Keep your eyes open for celebs, but if you see one please act like a local and don't act crazy. They are all very normal people. Its funny to look down the bar and realize who you might be having drinks with. They much prefer to talk about the special on the menu as the last thing you saw them in.

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