Honeymoon in My Hometown: Charlottesville, Virginia

I’ve been asked to share my recommendations for visitors to Charlottesville many times via private message on Weddingbee. When I learned about the “Honeymoon in My Hometown” tradition among Weddingbee bloggers, I was excited to write my own edition.

First of all, know in advance that if you visit Charlottesville, you will always want to return. People call it a boomerang town because everyone who leaves will wind up coming back.

Where to stay

There are plenty of wonderful hotels and inns around Charlottesville. We also have several companies that serve as clearinghouses for people who rent out vacation properties, carriage houses, or second homes to visitors. Mr. Mink and I agreed that if we were honeymooning in Charlottesville, we’d stay at Keswick Hall, a small resort on the outskirts of town.

Just an afternoon at Keswick’s infinity pool can make the office feel a million miles away. An extended stay would be wonderful!

keswick

Keswick Hall / From Keswick.com

What to see

A visit to Charlottesville isn’t complete if you haven’t stepped foot on a property with historic significance. Thomas Jefferson’s vision for higher education was realized in the University of Virginia and his “Academical Village,” where students and faculty lived and learned side-by-side as a community of scholars, is still the heart of the school. I think every visitor has a spine-tingling moment when they realize that they are walking where Mr. Jefferson walked years ago.

Across town, Jefferson’s Monticello sits on a beautiful hill. It isn’t as grand as many expect, and I think its approachable scale makes Jefferson seem like more of a man (and an imperfect one, at that).

montice

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello / From Monticello.org

James Madison’s home, Montpelier, is also nearby, and James Monroe’s summer home, Ash Lawn-Highland, is a short drive as well. The fact that Virginia was home to many US presidents isn’t a surprise; if you’re a history buff, there is a lot to see here.

Charlottesville is also perched on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains and many outdoor enthusiasts are attracted to the region. You can hike the Appalachian Trail, visit Shenandoah National Park, ride down the James River, and even ski nearby.

Where to eat

The food scene in Charlottesville is worthy of a book. Suffice it to say the locavore movement has thrived here, and we are serious about great locally sourced food. We also rave about Brookville, where Mr. Mink can satisfy his inner carnivore.

There are a few “districts” to consider when choosing restaurants. The Corner is the shopping area next to the university. There are a few blocks of shops and restaurants that serve the university community. For a quick lunch, we often like to stop by Take It Away for great sandwiches (always get the house dressing), Sushi Love for bento boxes, Boylan Heights for burgers, and Mellow Mushroom for pizza.

The previously mentioned Brookville is located on Charlottesville’s pedestrian-only Downtown Mall along with many, many other restaurants. There are just too many fantastic spots to list them all! We tend to stick to restaurants with tables on the mall so we can bring Junior Mink with us.

3967860

Junior Mink at his favorite hostess on the Downtown Mall / Photo by Mrs. Mink

The Belmont and “Midtown” areas of Charlottesville have some amazing restaurants as well. I put Midtown in quotes because we live there and that’s a new name. It’s the area between the Uva Corner and the Downtown Mall. Midtown has a great string of restaurants that we love—L’Etoile, Maya, Horse & Hound Gastropub, One Meatball Place, Moto Pho Co, and Zinc are just a few of the great options.

It’s hard for me to write the names of these places without mentioning the wonderful people behind them. We don’t just go to these restaurants, we consider many of the people who work in them to be friends.

If you come to Charlottesville, please come hungry. We will feed you well!

cville+

Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall / Photo by Roy Van Doorn / From the Charlottesville Facebook page

Where to drink

Drinking gets its own category in this post because the Charlottesville area has an amazing number of wineries, breweries, and cideries. You may already know that we were married at a vineyard called Pippin Hill Farm, but you might not know that we had dozens of options when we decided that we wanted a vineyard wedding. The Monticello Wine Trail is a fairly comprehensive list of the wineries in the area. Our favorites are Pippin Hill (of course), Barboursville, Veritas, Blenheim (owned by Dave Matthews), and King Family Vineyard, which hosts polo matches on Sundays. I recently visited Early Mountain Vineyards as part of a blogger event and thought it was stunning. I can’t wait to take Mr. Mink there.

The Brew Ridge Trail covers many of the craft breweries in our area. We love Starr Hill Brewery and Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company. Mr. Mink selected some of their beers to be served at our wedding.

Lastly, there’s a growing cider scene in Charlottesville. We’ve had the apple orchards for years, but hard cider seems to have become very popular more recently. There are so many cider houses opening that Mr. Mink convinced the organizers of a local beer festival to have a tent dedicated just to cider this year. One of our favorites is Bold Rock Cidery.

What to do

Between meals and tastings, I think every visitor should take advantage of the thriving creative community in Charlottesville. We have wonderful galleries and an amazing music scene. A great day in Charlottesville, to me, always includes music. We have scores of talented local musicians, but we also attract major touring acts.

cvilled

Some local musicians (props if you know the guy in the glasses on the left) / From Charlottesville’s Facebook page

If you plan to come to Charlottesville, please comment below. I’d be more than happy to tell you more!

BLOGGER

Mrs. Mink

Location:
Charlottesville, Virginia
Wedding Date:
June 2012

Related Posts

Add a comment

comments

  1. Member
    wubewe 143 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:17 pm

    I’ve never heard it referred to as “Midtown” before, only West Main. Speaking of which, I have to plug Continental Divide, their tuna tostada is SOOO GOOD!

  2. Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:45 pm

    Ugh. I can’t believe I forgot The Divide. Silly me!

    We kind of laugh about the Midtown thing. There’s a Midtown festival now that closes down our part of Main. It’s a ton of fun…but I think it’ll take a while to get used to the name.

  3. Member
    LaughLines 346 posts, Helper bee @ 7:16 pm

    Thank you for this post — wonderful coverage of a town that’s a great place to live, and to visit!

  4. Member
    This Time Round 10219 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 9:57 pm

    Great post !!
    You’ve definitely perked my interest about Charlottesville.
    Virginia sadly has been for years one of those States that we drive thru (I-81, I-95 or I-66) enroute to somewhere else
    Sorry… :-( *frown*
    Your post is timely, because Mr TTR and I were talking about VA just the other day (*Virginia Is For Lovers*, afterall) and said that we had to put this Beautiful State on our list of “Must Explore Further” spots within in the next year… lol, I see a Road Trip in my future !!

  5. Member
    booradley 2467 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:22 am

    My fiance always makes us stop at that crepe stand near the downtown mall. It is delicious!
    Nice post, Mrs. Mink :)

  6. Member
    debeachgirl 742 posts, Busy bee @ 7:48 am

    Thanks for this. We are not honeymooning there but after visiting FI’s mom when she moved to Afton I am celebrating my bachelorette there. Beer and wine tasting. This will come in handy.

  7. Member
    graywolf 725 posts, Busy bee @ 7:54 am

    great advice! i refer to cville as “the best place on earth”…i would go back in a heartbeat. i’d also say a stop at bodos is a must…especially after a big night out!

  8. Member
    Scc6a 961 posts, Busy bee @ 2:15 pm

    U.Va. alum here–going back next weekend for homecomings and I can’t wait!!! You are so right, once you visit Charlottesville, you’ll just want to come back again and again. I also wanted to add, if you like dumplings, omg, go to Marco and Luca’s. There’s one on the corner and one on the Downtown Mall and they are sooooo good! I also second Miss Gray Wolf on the Bodo’s and want to give a recommendation of Duner’s for a nice dinner. The food is awesome, but be prepared for a possible wait because they don’t take recommendations. Yay, now I’m even more excited for next weekend, thanks Mrs. Mink! :-)

  9. Member
    anemonie 1578 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:34 pm

    My parents live near Charlottesville now, so I’ve been discovering it the last couple of years on my visits there.

    I actually bought my wedding dress at the downtown mall with my mom, and while I was pondering whether I’d made the right choice in dress, we went to a diner-y place that has eggs benedict over crab. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of that restaurant, but I’m trying to come up with an excuse to get down there so I can go back!

    I’ve also been to the Boathouse a few times with my parents, Stone Mountain Vineyard, and the South Street Brewery with my fiance and brother. I’m definitely going to write down some of these restaurants for my next visit. Thanks!

  10. Member
    oldmrsmcdonald 2176 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:41 pm

    I lived in Cville for two years, from 2004-2006, to work at the University and earn my graduate degree… It is, hands down, the one place I’ve ever lived that I long to move back to.

    I particularly miss Sticks and Splendora’s. And of course, UVa. Sigh.

  11. Member
    ChicagoDreamer 509 posts, Busy bee @ 8:54 pm

    Looks like an amazing town to “get lost” in!

  12. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 5:41 pm

    We’ve been wanting to go to Charlottesville for a long time now, thanks for the great tips!

  13. Member
    ProlificPrincess 25 posts, Newbee @ 10:19 am

    Charlottesville is such a great place. I was there last weekend, making my yearly trip to Carter Mountain Orchard… I cant get enough of the goodies there.

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    Jill, Guest @ 11:09 am

    You are soo right about it being a town you want to come back to! My fiancé and I first visited last July, planning a trip back there is July 4th, and possibly our honeymoon in October! We loved every minute spent there!! :)

add a comment

Find Amazing Vendors