Expedia Viewfinder partnered up with Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau to reveal some of the best places to visit during a trip to C'Ville this summer.
Charlottesville, Virginia, is a quaint and charming destination, located near the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's home to Monticello and the University of Virginia, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. From its rolling pastures, which have yielded crops for hundreds of years, to the grounds where Thomas Jefferson once roamed, it feels like everything in this historic town has a story to tell.
Here at Expedia Viewfinder, we wanted to uncover these historical tales, along with some of the destination's must-see attractions, so we joined efforts with the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau. Together we summed up some of the best places to see in Charlottesville and surrounding Albemarle County during the summertime:
Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, designed and built the Monticello plantation on a mountaintop, just outside of Charlottesville. Visit this attraction in the summer to avoid the flocks of tourists during the spring and fall. Tour the original home, gardens, and even the cemetery where Jefferson is buried. Discover the home's intricate architectural details and learn about Jefferson's experiments in the vegetable garden. Kids, too will have fun at Monticello as the lower level of the visitor center includes a hands-on exhibit. In addition to Jefferson's plot of land, this region also features two other presidential houses, James Monroe's Ash Lawn-Highland and James Madison's Montpelier.
Monticello is surrounded by natural beauty, and those who prefer a little adventure can stroll along the 2-mile Saunders-Monticello Trail, which begins at the Kemper Park Arboretum and ends at the Monticello ticket booth. During the spring, the trail bursts to life with pastel flowers, and the foliage glows in the fall when the leaves begin to change color.
The Monticello Wine
Jefferson also yearned to grow wines in his home state. Although his vineyards were never successful, a flourishing wine industry has since developed in the region around Monticello. Today, 30 vineyards dot the 25 miles surrounding Charlottesville, making up the Monticello Wine Trail. Afton Mountain Vineyards is one of the first farm wineries in Virginia, while King Family Vineyards offer views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Tour the scenic grounds at Pollak Vineyards, visit musician Dave Matthews's Blenheim Vineyards, or check out (Donald) Trump's Winery just down the road. In addition to wine, visitors also enjoy sampling the local artisanal cider and craft beers while they're in town.
Experience 18th-century saloon life with a stop at the rustic Michie Tavern, located near the Monticello grounds. The staff dressed in traditional period clothing serve home-cooked southern cuisine at this historical landmark dating back to 1784. After dining, indulge in more of the historical scene with a tour of the oldest portion of the tavern. Check out The General Store and Tavern Gift Shop, and don't miss the Metal Smith Shop.
Second Street Gallery
Take a break from the history lessons and visit Second Street Gallery in downtown Charlottesville. This gallery features art exhibitions as well as movement and meditation workshops. It also hosts yoga sessions, concerts, lectures, and more. The gallery strives to offer a place where guests can decompress and let themselves become inspired by creativity. During a trip to this part of town, join one of the workshops or admire the artwork in the exhibits.
During your summer stay in this Virginia town, tour Jefferson's plantation, sip on wine at the historical tasting tours, visit an old-fashioned tavern, and lose yourself in the art gallery exhibits. From the past to the present, Charlottesville continues to enchant visitors.
Expedia Staff Writer