Honeymoon in My Hometown: Charlottesville, Virginia

For the past few years, bee bloggers have been sharing their recommendations and insider tips for honeymooning in the places they’re most familiar with: their hometowns. Great news: We’ve officially opened up participation in our Honeymoon in My Hometown feature to all Weddingbee readers!

Find out how to participate at the end of this post.

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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!

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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).

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Here’s how to participate in our Honeymoon in My Hometown series:

Show the hive what we can’t miss out on and what your town has to offer—from restaurants, to places to stay, and romantic things to do—with your own insider spin.

If your hometown has already been covered, don’t hesitate to submit anyway. After all, you’ll likely provide a different perspective on your city that we can all benefit from!

Answer the following questions and submit your post (with your favorite hometown photos!) to guest (at) weddingbee (dot) com:

Send in a short introduction. This can include anything from how long you’ve lived there (or if you’ve since moved away), and a brief overview of your experiences in the town. What makes it so great? Why should people consider it for a honeymoon? Let us know if you have any insider secrets that you’re dying to share.

Then:

  1. What are the best places to eat for honeymooners in your hometown?
  2. What are the most romantic or exciting places to stay in your hometown?
  3. What are the best sites/activities for honeymooners in your hometown?
  4. Any bonus tips for travelers to your hometown?

Personal photos are a plus!

BLOGGER

Mrs. Mink

Location:
Charlottesville, Virginia
Wedding Date:
June 2012
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comments

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

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

  2. mspony Bee
    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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!! 🙂

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