Friday, January 14, 2011

Charlottesville, VA Roadtrip!

On Saturday, January 8, Joel & I set out on our road trip to Charlottesville. For those who are unfamiliar with this "charming" little town in Virginia, it's claim to fame is that it's the home of Thomas Jefferson (Monticello), and also the area in which the University of Virginia resides.  I've been wanting to take this trip to Albemarle County for quite some time now, and alas the day finally came.

The trip took 2 hrs 45 min for us.  As we continued getting closer to Charlottesville, the vast Shenandoah Mountains provided a lasting view for miles.  It was so cold both days (below freezing!) and as we traveled we could see snow falling in the mountains.  I always took the mountains for granted before - growing up in the western Pennsylvania region where what I refer to as "hills" Joel insists are actually "mountains".  The Blue Ridge Mountains gave us a great backdrop for almost the entire trip.

We arrived in Charlottesville late in the afternoon, and after checking in to the hotel, we headed out to explore what the "Downtown Mall" had to offer.  Unfortunately it was so cold that neither of us could hardly stand to be walking around outside, but the Mall area did look intriguing with all of the shops (used book stores - yikes!) that I failed to browse through.  Instead, we opted to spend an hour milling around a wine shop, on a search for Tosti Asti (champagne), and left with many other bottles of wine, beer, mugs and a new champagne to try (it did not disappoint!).  We dined at the College Inn (the pesto white pizza was bangin'!), and then later downed some of our purchases from the wine shop.

On Sunday we woke up and had breakfast at The White Spot (I love all these college food joints!), and then drove around UVA's campus.  I have to say, I was highly disappointed in UVA's bar scene.  I kept saying to Joel, "There has to be more than this!".  I guess Happy Valley is the only place who knows how to do it right :).  We did check out UVA's Rotunda - one of their well-known buildings on campus that goes all the way back to the time Thomas Jefferson founded the school. 
The Rotunda w/ TJeff
Joel acting like it's his house!

We had lunch at Padow's Hams & Deli before we headed to Monticello - the home of Thomas Jefferson.  Monticello was AWESOME. 
holding hands with the little Lego's Man outside the deli

What a beautiful home!  I just couldn't get over how amazing it was - built on top of a large "hill" overlooking Charlottesville.  It offered amazing views, beautiful grounds (which I'm sure look much better in the spring/summer/fall), and an architecturally savvy home.  Imagine building something this grand back in TJeff's time... just imagine people!  I loved it AND the guided tour - I would strongly recommend this if you ever make it to Charlottesville.
TJeff & I before the trip to his house

Downtown Charlottesville from Monticello
neat tree on the tjeff property - the branches grow down to the ground

leaving Monticello
We finished off our trip with a stop at the Thomas Jefferson Vineyard, and finally headed back to Mary-land.

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