Weekend Getaway-Charlottesville, VA

One of my favorite ways to intentionally travel is to schedule little weekend getaways in advance so my sweet husband and I can steal away for some exploring, rest, and rejuvenation in the midst of this busy life.  A few months ago we settled on making plans to visit Charlottesville, VA.  We had heard such great things about this cute little town from friends and wanted to discover for ourselves all it has to offer.  It was the absolute perfect weekend away and we will definitely be back to visit again!

Day 1: Friday

We arrived around 4pm to check into our Airbnb  and freshen up after our 4ish hour drive from Charlotte.  {Side note: vital go-to road trip snacks included Trader Joe’s sparkling water, dried mango slices, cheez-its, and dark chocolate covered pretzels}

Y’all, this was an amazing pick and I highly suggest it.  James and Tracy,  the hosts, were great and have an amazing space that is so versatile, clean, and brand-spankin’-new.  I wanted to take the bedding home with me (I didn’t, to my dismay)–felt like I was in a giant marshmallow. Bliss. Since trying Airbnb several years ago on a trip to Asheville, we have never used anything else for lodging during our travels.  We have found the coolest places to stay that are not your cookie-cutter hotel and I highly recommend it if you have never ventured into the world of Airbnb. 🙂

We strolled down to the Downtown Mall, a short walk from our Airbnb, and explored the cute shops and began the search for dinner.  Luckily, we happened upon The Main Street Arena  and it was public ice skating night!  We had been talking for awhile about wanting to go ice skating so it was perfect.  Grabbed a snack at Marco and Luca Dumplings and drinks at the attached cafe in the arena and skated (read: held onto wall trying not to break my neck as I scooted at a snail’s pace around the rink….) for awhile.  It was SO much fun and a perfect welcome to Charlottesville.  We were pretty wiped out from the drive so we got Thai food (in an ethnic mood apparently) to-go from Thai Fresh  (right off the downtown mall) and took it back “home” to enjoy.  Highly recommend this little hole-in-the-wall joint, amazing price and amazing food. Day 1-success!

Day 2: Saturday

Woke up early-ish to head out for a bite of breakfast at the highly recommended Bodo’s Bagels.  Such an unassuming little bagel shop and SO delicious. You can tell it is a go-to for local regulars and tourists alike.  After fueling up on the deliciousness below, we headed to Monticello.  I had never been and David had only visited as a child so it was wonderful to explore and learn together; we are huge history nerds and proud of it, so we had a great time 🙂

IMG_0151

all the food. mmm. mmm. mmm.

After Monticello and not eating since breakfast we had planned to visit a local winery (Pippin Hill Vineyard) to get a bite to eat and try some local wines.  However, when we reached Pippin Hill, it was not our scene at all.  It was extremely crowded and there was no clear direction in taking part in a tasting so we enjoyed the view for a minute and hopped back down the road to Albemarle Ciderworks.  Luckily we had passed this quaint stop on the way to the vineyard so immediately headed that way when Pippin Hill was not a good fit. So glad we chose this place instead.  Very laid back, only a few other couples there, and live music from a very talented guitarist.  We “feasted” on a fresh, warm baguette with local cheese and a flight each of their unique and locally-made ciders.  We took our time, enjoyed the ambiance and chatted for awhile.  A short drive back to our Airbnb resulted in a much needed nap after a long morning of exploring.

 

We were definitely in need of an actual meal so went back to the Downtown Mall in search of sustenance.  First we browsed through a bookshop that was closed the day before, Blue Whale, and hit the jackpot.  Both went home with a few treasures to read back in Charlotte.  Clearly I purchased a Julie Child biography and a book about the real countess of Highclere Castle (the setting for Downton Abbey). Typical.

A short walk from Blue Whale, we found Sal’s Caffe Italia, a small, romantic, local italian spot with absolutely delicious food and massive portions (took half of mine home for dinner the next day. Score.).  Had to stop in next door on the way back at Chap’s Ice Cream to get some of their widely acclaimed ice cream.  I cannot even discuss how delicious this stuff was.  Please go and thank me later. Really fun 50’s atmosphere and Wonder Woman playing on the small TV above the counter. So random, so great.

Day 3: Sunday

Sundays on vacation are for rest and brunch so we slept in and took the short drive (it was FREEZING and we were not walking) to Bluegrass Grille and Bakery.  Y’all…so worth the 45 minute wait. A tiny little brunch spot with some of the best brunch I have ever had.  I had the Hungry Norman–english muffin with goat cheese, eggs, sausage, and blackberry jam on top. Just stop. So so good. Got some coffee over at Mudhouse (I have a personal rule of visiting a good local coffee shop everywhere I go) for the road and headed out of Charlottesville.  As a last stop we explored UVA’s campus for a bit to get some activity in before making the drive back to Charlotte.  May or may not have gotten a small bust of Thomas Jefferson at the bookstore as a souvenir….he’s going to find a good home on our bookshelf in our new place. Pumped.

Looking for a weekend away with your hubby, girlfriends, family?  If you couldn’t tell already, I highly recommend Charlottesville!  About a 4 hour drive from Charlotte, totally doable for a long weekend away. Great food, great atmosphere, so many things to do, all around a great getaway.

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