Are you looking to hop in the car for a quick getaway within the Mid Atlantic region? Charlottesville, Virginia and the surrounding area is great place to visit especially if you are interested in wine, history, and great food. With so many places to drink great wine, it’s common to hop from vineyard to vineyard. I’ll focus on the ones I have visited and group based on location.
Since this is an election year, I’ll begin with the Trump Winery which is a scenic vineyard with good wine and a nice tasting room. Just don’t discuss politics with the person pouring your wine. Across the street from Trump is Dave Matthew’s vineyard called Blenheim, smaller tasting room but it has a cool vibe.
Further away in Afton, VA (about 20 minutes) is Afton Mountain Vineyard, which has wonderful views of the Blue Ridge mountains and a perfect patio to sit, open a bottle of Chardonnay, and enjoy the scenery. Veritas Vineyard, is perfect for picnics, and is close to Afton Mountain. Blue Mountain (also in Afton) is a brewery/restaurant with good food and a great outdoor atmosphere. Silverback Distillery (for the vodka or gin drinker ) is close to Afton as well as Bold Rock Cider Brewery. Bold Rock is huge and has a cider museum on location. For the beer drinkers, Starr Hill Brewery in nearby Crozet is a must. Visit the tap room and order a flight of beer and order food from one of the food trucks.
If you are visiting with kids during the summer months and want to visit a vineyard, King Family Vineyards has polo matches on Sunday that allow for a kid friendly atmosphere and wine tasting. It’s basically a picnic with a bunch of guys riding horses and hitting a ball but it makes for a great time.
Getting tired of drinking and looking for a touristy thing to do? Monticello (Jefferson’s home) is a great place to visit. I’ve done the tour with my kids and I’m always amazed how smart and ahead of his time Thomas Jefferson was. The tour takes you into Jefferson’s house but also allows you to walk the grounds and visit the slave quarters, gardens, and Jefferson’s grave.
The University of Virginia is another place to visit while you are in the area. I love watching my kids play Frisbee on the Lawn and visiting the Rotunda. I like to visit the numerous gardens, walk past the dorm that Edgar Allan Poe stayed in and visit the library which has an original copy of the Declaration of Independence. If you are visiting in the winter, visit the John Paul Jones Arena and catch a UVA basketball game and cheer on the ‘Hoos as they battle for an ACC championship.
The downtown pedestrian mall in Charlottesville is a nice area with tons of restaurants. It’s not a mall, it’s an outdoor area with restaurants, bars, shops and an amphitheater. I’ve eaten dinner at Zocalo twice and it’s a great restaurant with a Latin cuisine and has an outdoor patio in the center of the mall. The Corner is another area in Charlottesville that has a lot of cool bars and restaurants that’s closer to the university, so there will be a lot of college students hanging around there.
I have visited this area many times as I have relatives in the area, Charlottesville is a wonderful place to visit.