Overview of Charlottesville, Virginia
Nestled near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville, Virginia is a picturesque city that is home to the University of Virginia. Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, is just three miles outside of the city limits. The city is also known for its rich history, terrific vineyards and its brick-paved Downtown Mall. Charlottesville’s rich past draws many visitors each year who want to experience all the historical charm that the city has to offer.
History of Charlottesville
The history of Charlottesville starts in 1762 when the city was first established by an act of the Assembly of Albemarle County. The Convention Army was imprisoned in the city from 1779 to 1781 by Congress in the Albemarle Barracks. During the Civil War, the city managed to escape much of the fighting that happened in Virginia. The first black church in the city was established in 1864, and the building housing the Congregation Beth Israel is the oldest standing synagogue in the state.
University of Virginia
One of the original nine public Ivies, the University of Virginia was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819. Along with Monticello, the UVA is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Jefferson served on the university’s original Board of Visitors together with presidents James Madison and James Monroe. The UVA has had many famous alumni, including Edgar Allen Poe.
Charlottesville hotels include a broad range of lodging options that can fit nearly any budget. Many hotels can be found along Emmet Street, giving visitors quick access to area attractions, historic sites and more. Some visitors prefer to stay in one of the downtown hotels, which offer everything from economic lodgings to luxurious accommodations. Charlottesville hotels are also located close to the UVA so that visitors can enjoy the social scene and action of college life or quick access to the UVA School of Medicine.
There are a large number of high-quality Charlottesville restaurants from which you can choose. You will find traditional Southern food, Chinese cuisine, seafood and upscale French fare. Whatever you might prefer, you are sure to find it when you visit this beautiful city.
Things to do in Charlottesville
There are a huge variety of different things to do in Charlottesville during your visit. You can visit Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, take a tour of the beautiful UVA campus, head to one of the many art galleries or museums or tour the local vineyards. In fact, there are so many things to do in Charlottesville that you’ll likely need to visit more than once.
The Charlottesville events calendar is jam-packed year round, lending a vibrancy to the city. You can enjoy First Night Virginia on the Downtown Mall to help to ring in the new year. Held for five days during the spring, the Virginia Festival of the Book allows an in-depth exploration of literature for book lovers from everywhere. The 4th of July celebration held annually at Monticello offers you a one-of-a-kind opportunity to celebrate the country’s independence at the home of the Declaration of Independence’s author. No matter what time of year your visit is planned, you’re sure to find events that coincide with it.
Thomas Jefferson and Charlottesville
There is a deep connection between Thomas Jefferson and Charlottesville. When you visit the city, you’ll be walking over the same streets that Jefferson himself once traveled, and his impact on the city can be witnessed at nearly every turn. A philosopher, gentleman farmer and one of the fathers of our nation, Thomas Jefferson considered the city to be his heaven on earth.
If you love craft beers or fine wines, you’re going to love the wide variety of Charlottesville breweries and vineyards that you can discover during your visit. Thomas Jefferson even got in on the action and dedicated acres to his personal vineyard. Today, you can sample from a huge portfolio of wines. The area is also planted with a huge variety of hop vines, allowing some of the city brewmasters to produce award-winning ales and beers. It’s also well worth visiting some of the cideries in the area which allow you to sample the refreshingly delightful drinks that are produced right in town.
No matter the reason you’re planning to visit Charlottesville, you will have an enjoyable and memorable time. This city is a true jewel of Virginia and will draw you back for return visits again and again. You can lose yourself while exploring the city. Don’t forget to save some time during your stay to explore the bucolic countryside that surrounds the city in the County of Albemarle and beyond, including the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.