20 Apr A Spring Overnight Trip to Charlottesville
Taking the back roads to Charlottesville turned into a couple of days of fun and surprises.
Perhaps it was the guy in the pick-up truck chasing his cow off the road and back into the pasture. Or maybe it was the lady in the restaurant hollering, “Bless my stars and garters!” as she greeted an old friend. Maybe it was walking inside the tiny 120 year old schoolhouse or the sight of the old abandoned mill on the banks of the Rapidan River. It could have it could have been the delicious beer at Star Hill or the charming room and wonderful breakfast at the Oakhurst Inn. There were so many things that made our trip from Northern Virginia to Charlottesville special.
A business meeting 100 miles south of home in Charlottesville, VA was our excuse to get out of the house for a couple days. And with time to spare we could drive the back roads through the towns of Rapidan, Orange and Barboursville.
The first stop was the tiny town of Rapidan, a historic town with more than 38 landmark buildings. We parked near the river to see the old mill and noticed the tiny old school house right across the street. Built in 1887 as a school and library for a private family, it has been restored and is furnished as it was over a hundred years ago.
Before we left home I had asked about a good brewery to visit and was told about Star Hill, the second oldest craft brewery in the State. Allison from the Oakhurst Inn said, “It’s in Crozet and you have to go through ivy to get there.” So it must be hidden behind a wall of ivy, right? Well, no… You have to drive through the town of Ivy (pop. 100) to get there. Not at all hidden, Star Hill Brewery is housed in a building formerly used by ConAgra to make turkey pot pies and frozen dinners and they brew some of the best lagers and IPAs. After a quick tour of the brewery we pulled up a couple of chairs to the bar in the Tap Room to listen to the live band, eat some tasty pizza served up by a local food truck, and sample some of Star Hill’s products. When you visit, you must try the Double Platinum Imperial IPA aged in old whiskey barrels.
Located on a residential circle in Charlottesville just off the campus of UVA and about a mile from the downtown mall is Oakhurst Inn. The beautifully renovated buildings (formerly a private home and boarding house) and the amazing café made it a charming place to spend the night. Besides the beautiful and cozy rooms, each floor has library with a fireplace, a record player, books and beverages. The attention to details such as a white noise machine, bottled water and and fresh baked molasses cookies at turn down make you feel special. Then there’s the café… Oakhurst Inn thinks of it as an amenity. A spot where guests can interact with neighbors. The breakfast and lunch fare are out of this world. The chef will tell you that one of their big advantages is not having a freezer. This means the freshest, locally sourced ingredients. I would recommend 2 nights. One night was certainly not enough. A special thank you to Allison, Jessica, Laurel, Lacy, and Phillip for their gracious hospitality.
While Mike attended his business meeting I toured Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello. I learned some great tips from the wonderful folks at Monticello about planning a tour; such as getting advance reservations, planning enough time to see the home and the grounds, avoiding crowds, and more helpful hints I’m happy to share.
There are many more things to do and explore. With the history, the wineries, unique and local artistry galleries, you can make a whole weekend or even a week of it. Charlottesville is a perfect place for a getaway with friends, a romantic retreat or a family weekend. I will customize a trip just for you!
Travel often and travel well!