When the Pope came to Philadelphia, the media immediately scared the whole entire city. My school was closed on Friday and all of my classes were moved online on Monday. So while I wasn't scared, I did have a perfect long weekend fall into my lap. I've been to Charlottesville before, but this time I wanted to take Paul with me. I got a TON of questions about "Why would you choose to visit Charlottesville?" Me saying "just because" did not satisfy everybody. So, my friends, I am here today to help you decide if you should visit Charlottesville. And then if you get the same question, you'll be ready to answer it.
Should You Visit Charlottesville?
Do you like drinking?
Let's be blunt here.
I don't know if you know this, but this region of Virginia is pretty dang good for wine. I saw plenty of party busses escorting bachelorette parties in and out of various wineries. What I didn't know, however, is that Charlottesville is not ONLY home to wine. Oh no, my friends.
When Paul and I were there we did not hold back. We went wine tasting. We had a beer flight. We went cider tasting. We went to a whiskey bar. I'm making us sound like alcoholics here, but the point is that you can find any sort of tasting you want.
Do you like food?
Honestly, if you don't like food I'm not sure you're following the right blogger here. I'm nowhere near what I'd call a "foodie." But I appreciate good (and even sometimes mediocre…) food. Charlottesville has a ton of places to try. Our AirBnB hosts were absolute darlings (seriously, have you capitalized on your credit yet?) and gave us an extensive list. And everything they listed was delicious.
My two favorites we were actually too busy enjoying for me to remember taking a picture (read: I am a bad blogger). First of all, Continental Divide is my number one. Let me tell you, it is a time and a half actually finding the place. The sign is written very small on a brick outside. But you MUST go here and get the enchiladas. They were so good. It's been so long since I've had a good enchilada. Sorry, Philly, you just don't do them well.
The other place we loved is called Brazos. We stopped there for breakfast on our way out of town and were super pleased. HOWEVER, I will say that the more "plain" breakfast taco that Paul got was not a full taco. Get something with chorizo or potatoes. Combos with those are the best.
Do you like being outside?
So this is what originally brought me back to Charlottesville. I love living in a city, I really do. But it is just a pain in the freaking butt to do outdoor things without planning everything out ahead of time. Not so in Charlottesville. While last time there was a lot of biking, Paul's bike actually didn't make it with us to Virginia.
Instead, we spent a morning trail running. There's a trail that runs around the perimeter of Charlottesville, the Rivanna Trail. GUYS. It is right in the city! It was a little tricky to get onto, but I can't speak as to whether that was the fault of the trail blazers or the navigators. It was fun to get out after the rain the night before and explore the muddy trails. If we weren't so busy relaxing, I would definitely have made Paul do even more trail running. Options are endless.
Do you like street art?
So this one actually surprised me! I wouldn't call myself an expert on the street art scene, but big cities usually come to mind when I think about it. Not a place like Charlottesville. And boy, I got this one wrong.
They have a whole freaking park dedicated to art installations (also notable…Brazos is IN this park). We also happened to stumble upon it when there was a festival going on. Food trucks galore! ANOTHER thing I wouldn't have pegged a city like Charlottesville for. I've learned my lesson and will never be so silly again.
Do you like history?
I will be the first to tell you that my history education failed me as a child (and yes, IT failed ME, but that's a conversation for another time and place). I know much less than I should about American History. So I've been having fun exploring places with some history to it. And Charlottesville is home to Thomas Jefferson's house: Monticello. Hello, history.
I don't often pay for tours (ahem, #gradschool budget), but I might start to more after this tour. It was $25 when I visited, but I learned SO. MUCH. Learning about the slave history was just mind-opening. And I really liked how our tour guide didn't pretend that Thomas Jefferson was a perfect man, either. However, I had no idea that Thomas Jefferson was such a freaking genius! Seriously, take this tour and find out for yourself. His entryway was filled with things from around the world so people could educate themselves and become more worldly while they waited to with him. Part brag, part genius.
Also: freaking UVA. Need I say more? This campus is freaking beautiful. And I do happen to know they have an exercise physiology PhD program, in addition to a portion of the Berlin Wall. What else does a campus need, am I right?
In conclusion: if you've answered "yes" to at least one question above…YOU SHOULD GO TO CHARLOTTESVILLE.
- Have you been to Charlottesville, Virginia before? Which item on this list would get you there?
- Are you a history buff, or do you need a couple (thousand) lessons too?