Charlottesville, August 21, 2012 - The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau invites visitors to plan a trip to the area to discover its rich bounty of local restaurants, and to visit local wineries and farms.
The Charlottesville region, home to our nation's third president Thomas Jefferson, his home Monticello, and the University of Virginia, has evolved into a vibrant destination where foodies rejoice and epicureans delight. Mr. Jefferson himself was extremely passionate about food and wine. He is credited with bringing the very first vine to American soil from Europe and experimented with dozens of varieties of produce. To this day, Monticello guests can learn all about Jefferson's efforts as America's -first foodie‖ and his championed vegetable cuisine, plant experimentation, and sustainable agriculture.
Charlottesville is racking up more and more food & libations related honors. Our area was a finalist in the Rand McNally/Best of the Road national competition in the -Best for Food‖ category for 2012, and we were recently named one of the -Top ten vacation cities for beer lovers.‖ In addition, Virginia was acclaimed as one of the top ten wine destinations in the world by Wine Enthusiast magazine. With over 30 wineries in a 30-mile radius, Charlottesville is at the epicenter of the state, and is without a doubt a great place to discover our amazing Virginia wines.
Here are the top ten reasons for foodies to visit Charlottesville and Albemarle County:
1) Monticello's Revolutionary Garden Tours & Heritage Harvest Festival: This new experiential tour of Thomas Jefferson's vegetable and fruit gardens - his Revolutionary Garden - includes an in-depth guided walk followed by a Meet the Gardener segment with Monticello's professional staff. Visitors participate in seasonal gardening activities, such as planting, harvesting, and sampling spring crops ranging from asparagus to baby root vegetables. The Heritage Harvest Festival (held this year on September 14 & 15) proposes heirloom vegetable and fruit tastings, cooking demonstrations, lectures, workshops, special tours, and family activities. (www.monticello.org )
2) Monticello Artisan Trail: Those who are passionate about agriculture will love this regional trailway, which connects destinations including craft artisan studios, galleries, agri-artisan farms, markets, local restaurants, lodging, and area points of interest in Albemarle and Nelson Counties and the City of Charlottesville to the always popular Monticello and Ash Lawn-Highland. (www.artisantrailnetwork.org )
3) Monticello Wine Trail: Comprised of 30 wineries, the Monticello Wine Trail provides a great tool to plan a visit to local wine producers. With tasting rooms open year-round, guests can explore the countryside of Albemarle County on their own or hire a local transportation company and just enjoy the ride! Every winery is unique, and some even belong to some famous oenophiles such as Dave Matthews and Donald Trump! (www.monticellowinetrail.com)
4) Brew Ridge Trail: Prefer to drink beer? No sweat! The Brew Ridge Trail has taken the craft brewing world by storm. With medals at the Great American Beer Festival in 2009 and highest honors at the 2012 World Beer Cup, Nelson County and its Albemarle and Charlottesville counterparts have all eyes on Virginia beer. Explore all 6 amazing micro-breweries and tour the facilities to learn more! (www.brewridgetrail.com )
5) Cideries: Yes, we've got those too! Castle Hill Cider and Albemarle Cider Works offer crisp, refreshing cider for you to enjoy! Visit their tasting room and stay a while!
6) Award winning chefs & restaurants: Culinary talent overflows in the Charlottesville area and many of our Chefs have received nation-wide recognition. Award-winning restaurants, such as The Clifton Inn, Fossett's (at Keswick Hall), and the Old Mill Room (at the Boar's Head), offer seasonal cooking demos... some will even customize a class for a couple or small group!
7) Farmers' market: Many farmers' markets take place seasonally throughout the area, but the Charlottesville City Market on Saturday mornings is something to experience! Meet the produce and meat growers, buy some fresh flowers, drink some unique, freshly squeezed limeade... and you must try those donuts! While you stroll the market, you will see some of our best chefs buying the ingredients that will inspire them to create their menu on that same day! And don't miss the -Meet Yer Eats‖ tour, held for the 4th consecutive year on Labor Day weekend, for a fascinating tour of local farms (http://meetyereats.wordpress.com/)
8) Variety of eateries: A quick calculation reveals that there is one restaurant per 210 residents in Charlottesville... And the variety of offerings is astounding! In the mood for southern food? Italian? French? Indian? Authentic Turkish? We've got it all. On the eight-block Historic Downtown Mall area alone, there are 65 unique eateries to choose from!
9) Local orchards: Less than 10 minutes from downtown Charlottesville, you can be at Carter Mountain Orchard where you can pick seasonal fruit right off the tree and get a spectacular view of the area at the same time! Other orchards located throughout the county provide juicy, tasty fruit almost all year long!
10) Unique food-related stores and shops: Charlottesville offers so many places for food lovers to shop! Unique stores like Oil & Vinegar, The Virginia Shop, Feast! (which just celebrated its 10th anniversary), The Happy Cook, and Foods of All Nations, provide unique edible products from the area, and around the world, as well as fun and beautiful tools to prepare them into something delicious! Those coming to the area for a while can do just like the locals and use Relay Food, an amazing service, which allows you to shop online for your favorite items from a large variety of local shops. Relay then does the shopping for you and delivers all your items at a place that is convenient for you! (www.relayfoods.com).
Go to www.visitcharlottesville.org for comprehensive information about the Charlottesville region and all its culinary delights!