What should two New Yorkers do in Charlottesville next weekend?
October 19, 2011 10:06 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I are going to Charlottesville next Friday to Sunday. We're traveling from NYC, and will be doing some light sightseeing in DC before our friends picks us up. What should we do in both cities. We'll have just the morning in DC, and Friday afternoon-Sunday afternoon in Charlottesville.

I graduated from UVA several years ago, and while I feel little love for the campus itself, I still miss the Shenandoah Valley. I'd like to do some activities that will allow us city folk to enjoy the surrounding nature, but neither of us are particularly outdoorsy. Extreme hiking is not really our deal; wine tastings, however, sound awesome. I am aware of downtown Cville and Monticello, of course, and I will be making a pilgrimage to Marco & Luca's.

We'll be arriving in DC (hopefully) around 11:15 on Friday, get picked up by 3ish at the latest by some friends and go to Cville. We'll be leaving on Sunday from Union Station around 6pm on Sunday.
posted by slightly sissy tea hound to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Where in DC are you getting picked up?
posted by inigo2 at 10:11 AM on October 19, 2011

This seems really easy.

Get a pic-a-nic lunch somewhere. Does the Boar's Head do that?

Then do a triangular route west on 64 to Skyline Drive / Blue Ridge Parkway, down either one of them for a bit, and then back down to C-ville.

One way would be to go up Skyline until around Stanardsville and then cut east and south back to C-ville. Another would be to go up Skyline until Luray and then back down the Valley to Waynesboro/Staunton, then direct back to C-ville.

OR just get up early on Sunday and drive all the way up Skyline until you hit 66, being careful about the time.

You could also find easy triangular routes southward down the BRP instead.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:26 AM on October 19, 2011

Carter Mountain is really nice this time of year. How about some fresh apple donuts?
posted by 4ster at 11:04 AM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

A trip out to the mountains isn't complete without a stop at Crozet Pizza.
posted by procrastination at 11:28 AM on October 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Be aware that next weekend is the Marine Corps Marathon in DC. Given your times, it shouldn't cause you too much trouble, but there will be more people here in general.
posted by runnergirl at 1:09 PM on October 19, 2011

You can easily walk to the Capitol from Union Station and down to the National Mall in 5-15 minutes. The Mall's like two miles long and the museums are free, so you can just wander around until you have to get back to Union Station. The Arboretum is on the Mall, too.

In VA, definitely try to drive down Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway. Beautiful area of the country.

Monticello has a great tour if you're not sick of TJ from UVA.

The Downtown Mall in Charlottesville has lots of neat shops and usually a lot going on on Friday nights.
posted by davextreme at 1:47 PM on October 19, 2011

Hoo here as well-- has your husband been to the Grounds/campus before? Despite your feelings about the place, it is a shockingly beautiful campus to stroll around, and your feelings tend to get to nostalgia more when you place some distance beyond it.

It's also cool to see the changes (or lack thereof) If not, disregard. There's a Marco and Luna's on the corner as well now.
posted by sandmanwv at 2:30 PM on October 19, 2011

Be aware that the Marco and Luna's on the Corner (Elliewood Ave) essentially only sells dumplings and cold noodle soup and not the full menu of the Downtown Mall location.

Pancakes for Parkinson's is going on at the Lawn on Saturday morning, if you're inclined to visit the Grounds.

The Blue Ridge Parkway/Skyline Drive suggestion by davextreme is a good one, particularly this time of year (foliage). Be aware that Skyline Drive costs money, the Parkway does not. It's about a 15 minute drive to reach both at the top of Afton Mountain off of I64 West.

Martha's Market is going on at John Paul Jones Arena (just outside of UVA Grounds).
posted by kuanes at 4:55 PM on October 19, 2011

The C&O restaurant for friday night. Saturday, down the parkway to Lexington for lunch at Macados.
posted by cvoixjames at 5:19 PM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd get a takeaway picnic lunch from Foods of All Nations instead of the Boars Head (better variety, and you can see what you are ordering). Also it's a little cheaper. A little.

If you come to Crozet for pizza, you might want to consider going to Chiles or Henley's Orchard for fresh cider, apples, snacks, etc. It's a nice stop on your way to or from the I-64 entrance to the Skyline Drive (North of 64) or the Blue Ridge Parkway (South of 64). There are several half-day and 2 hour hiking opportunities at various grades on the App. Trail in either direction, if you suddenly want to hike. Or you could just drive for a while and stop at the scenic overlooks and pullovers.

I'd avoid rte 151 and all the breweries/restaurants and vineyards in it on Saturday (during the day) in Nelson County. There's a big mudder event and traffic promises to suck. There are several good vineyards in Crozet, Madison, and other points in the general area.

If you like history, the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton is fun. There are 4-5 recreations of homesteads of various cultural groups with reenactor/guides there to give you a full taste. It's all outdoors.

If you do Monticello, buy your tickets online in advance and see if you can get the behind-the-scenes tour (up into the dome, among other things!). It's more expensive, but it is rumored to be great. I think they've rooted out all of the Sally deniers among the tour guides, which is good. I also really like Montpelier (James Madison's home) in Madison County. They're pretty ruthlessly ripping Marion DuPont's contributions to the house out of it (about which I have mixed feelings), but it's a good interesting tour. It pairs well with a stop at one of the Madison vineyards.

There is a football game at Scott Stadium at 3:30pm on Saturday. Beware. The Hydraulic Rd. Cutover to the bypass is no longer the great shortcut since they added yet another non-synced light for the new Whole Foods. Also people try to turn left from the rightmost lane as if the siren-call of the Whole Foods suddenly drowns out all other intentions, so take care. It's still marginally better than the pitiful off-ramp onto the bypass in front of the ill-placed Big Buy.

If you like szechuan food, then plan to go to Peter Chang's in the North Wing of Barracks Road. High quality spicy and tasty food. The portions are big. Their "snacks" could easily be entrees. In other local food news... The Tavern is shutting down soon, so if you have any fond memories of it, you might want to take advantage of the moment. I can make other specific recommendations and warnings if you'd like.
posted by julen at 5:22 PM on October 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh man, I miss C'ville. Especially this time of year. The Turk Mountain trail followed by Crozet Pizza is heaven.
posted by cromagnon at 6:49 PM on October 19, 2011

Definitely stop by Veritas Vineyard for wine, and Starr Hill in Crozet for a great beer tasting and tour of their little brewery. I really enjoyed both places.
posted by echo0720 at 7:35 PM on October 19, 2011

Another vote for C & O restaurant
posted by bardic at 10:33 PM on October 19, 2011

I highly highly recommend spending some time on the Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway. The leaves are gorgeous right now, and the weather looks to be nice and sunny this weekend.
posted by ashirys at 8:26 AM on October 20, 2011

Great thread. I'm in c-ville for the next month (but not this weekend ) and also looking for what to see and do.
posted by srboisvert at 1:28 PM on October 25, 2011

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