I moved to Charlottesville from Vail, CO in the late 90's with apprehension. Vail is a beautiful, hip, fun and outdoor friendly place, so you can understand my reticence to leave and head East. After all, the old saying rings, "Go West" not East!
I’ve now lived in Charlottesville for sixteen years and call it home. Over the years I’ve set down roots, started to raise a family and realized I live in one of the coolest places on the planet. Don’t take my word for it; in the last five years we’ve received several noteworthy titles (e.g. Most recently Good Housekeeping voted us the Happiest City in their “And the Happiest City in America Is….” Article; Huffington Post listed us as one of the 15 World’s Most Beautiful Universities; Travel + Leisure’s America’s Favorite Mountain Town, Orbitz’s Top 5 Destinations Every American Should Visit). The list of Awards and Recognitions is long – click here for a list of all the accolades. I would echo the following comment I recently read in an article about Charlottesville: “Since I moved to Charlottesville it’s grown evermore culturally, musically, aesthetically and epicurean-ily abundant. Depending on who you ask it’s a small city or a big town – either way it is clear that Cville is full of vitality, beauty and Southern charm-lite.”
I would be hard-pressed to distill my reasons for loving Charlottesville into a short list. Instead, below you’ll find a stream of consciousness list of my highlights. Some might argue this is only the tip of the iceberg, and they’d be right.
- Historical – Charlottesville is steeped in history, from the Revolution to the Civil War and after. Home to three founding fathers who would become presidents – Thomas Jefferson (Monticello), James Madison (Montpelier) and James Monroe (Ash Lawn) – Charlottesville is a historian’s dream-city. We also are home to other Jefferson legacies such as the University of Virginia – The Rotunda and Lawn.
- Outdoor Activities – There is a long list of great hikes in and around Charlottesville. Just 20 minutes away you can accessShenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Spanning both parks going North/South is theAppalachian Trail. We aren’t limited to just hiking. Within our town, or a short drive away you will enjoy beautiful runs in idyllic surroundings, rafting or tubing on the James, Stargazing through the McGuffey Observatory on open view night, balloon rides over Charlottesville, walking our historic Downtown Mall, catching a concert in one of our outdoor venues or sipping wine while watching a polo match at King Family Vineyards.
- Food and Drink – If your ideal vacation is a great meal, ambiance and drink then Charlottesville should be at the top of the list. Speaking of lists, this post could easily fill 30 pages if I were to cover all the restaurants, breweries, food trucks, pick your own orchards and wineries located in and around Charlottesville. Suffice it to say, it is easy to understand why we have our own Food Tour.
- Sports – With the University of Virginia in our backyard we enjoy sporting events year-round. This includes top ranked teams in Baseball, Basketball, Tennis, Lacrosse, Field Hockey, Track, Soccer, and on occasion our football team has flashes of brilliance.
There are a surprising number of things to do, eat, drink, hear and see in Charlottesville. This short list is not enough – you must come visit and see for yourself. You might find – like me – that you don’t want to leave!