Planning a road trip north? You’re in luck, the journey from the foothills of Virginia is lined with interesting detours all along the way. From hidden bistros and historic sites, to craft beverage producers and panoramic mountain views, you won’t go hungry and you won’t go unsatisfied.
stop 1: charlottesville
Charlottesville is centrally located in the eastern foothills of the spectacularly scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. The city’s rich cultural, natural, and artistic history is showcased in a selection of first-rate museums, galleries, wineries, shops, and parks dispersed throughout the area. Multiple rivers and lakes provide the perfect setting for sailing, swimming, fishing, kayaking, and tubing, while the many beautiful parks offer wonderful opportunities for sports, picnics, relaxation, and adventure. Visitors will also find charming boutiques, antique shops, antiquarian bookstores, and small towns nearby filled with pleasant surprises. Many historic attractions bring visitors to the city, such as Monticello, the Grounds of the University of Virginia, Ash Lawn-Highland, Historic Court Square and Michie Tavern, ca. 1784. Each has played a unique role in the history of the nation, and their tours, special events, and educational programs ensure that the spirits of the past remains vibrant today. From bed and breakfasts to luxury hotels, Charlottesville/Albemarle County provides visitors with comfortable accommodations to suit every need.
Information gathered from www.virginia.org/cities/Charlottesville
stop 2: Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
Situated two miles southeast of Charlottesville, VA, Monticello is the autobiographical masterpiece of Thomas Jefferson, designed and redesigned and built and rebuilt for more than forty years. In addition to its inspired architectural design, its gardens were a botanic showpiece, a source of food, and an experimental laboratory of ornamental and useful plants from around the world. Designated together with The University of Virginia as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, Monticello is one of the finest examples of the early Classical Revival style in the United States, and one of the most popular attractions in Virginia.
Information gathered from www.monticello.org/site/house-gardens
stop 3: Farm Wineries
In addition to The Commonwealth Collective, Central Virginia is home to many of the oldest and most celebrated wineries in the state. Each glass of Virginia wine tells a unique story, but the oldest story of all regarding Virginia’s rich wine history has remained relatively obscure to most visitors. You may have heard about Thomas Jefferson’s dream of Virginia one day becoming a premiere wine destination or the rebirth of the wine industry in the 1960s, but there is so much more to learn about Wine Country here in the Commonwealth. So pull up a chair, pour yourself a glass, and discover the complete history of Virginia: The Birthplace of American Wines before planning a trip nearby or further afield to some of our 280+ wineries - we can't help but think Mr. Jefferson would be proud.
Information gathered from www.virginia.org/wine
stop 4: Craft Breweries
In the last decade, the Virginia craft beer scene has exploded, creating social spots in cities across the state where travelers can soak in some local flavor. This statewide craft beer scene has developed award winning small businesses, while also piquing the interest of nationally recognized larger craft brewers. Whether you want to hire a driver, taste flights and compare flavors at more than one brewery, or enjoy a pint after a brisk hike, Virginia can provide the perfect local pour.
Information gathered from www.virginia.org/craftbeer
stop 5: Craft Cideries
In colonial America, fermented cider was the drink of choice. Thomas Jefferson’s champagne-like cider, made with Hewe’s Crabapples, was his “table drink”. Throughout the 19th century, growing apples and crafting cider from cider apples was an integral part of every community. Many Virginia cidermakers now aim to revive the cider tradition by growing, or encouraging others to grow cider apples, and by crafting fine cider.
Information gathered from www.virginia.org/Cider
Stop 6: Eats
One of the best ways to experience Virginia is through our food, so naturally, a trip through the Commonwealth would not be complete without stops into some of the many incredible eateries that call our state home. In addition to being a top ten wine destination in the world, we are, after all, the birthplace of American cuisine and the Oyster Capital of the East Coast. Experience Virginia through the flavors of thoughtfully selected, carefully sourced local ingredients, and taste its rich culinary history from sustainably farmed Chesapeake Bay oysters to meticulously cultivated strains of heirloom corn, in restaurants across the state. The food served throughout the Commonwealth by acclaimed chefs and at charming local eateries is rooted in more than just good taste: it provides the story of the land you’re standing on. This deeper food experience is why Virginia is for Food Lovers.
Information gathered from www.virginia.org/food/
stop 7: James Madison’s Montpelier
The lifelong home of James and Dolley Madison, Father of the Constitution and America's first First Lady, Montpelier is one of the most significant and authentic architectural restorations ever achieved in the United States. Curatorial and archaeological research advances have returned the mansion and landscape to its appearance in Madison's time, including the interpretation and reconstruction of enslaved community sites. Mansion tours are complemented by galleries, the Museum Shop, gardens, 6+ miles of forest trails, and award winning BBQ at the Visitor Center's Exchange Cafe. Located 25 miles north of Charlottesville and 4 miles south of historic Orange on Route 20, Constitution Highway.
Information gathered from www.virginia.org/Listings/HistoricSites/JamesMadisonsMontpelier
stop 8: Shenandoah National Park
A beautiful, historic national treasure which includes the 105-mile long Skyline Drive, a National Scenic Byway. The Park covers the crest of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains for over seventy-five miles. The Appalachian Trail roughly parallels the Skyline Drive and 101 miles of this trail run through the Park. There are over 500 miles of hiking trails, numerous waterfalls and mountain summits. Park Ranger programs are offered seasonally and a current list is provided online and available in the "Shenandoah Explorer" newspaper that you receive when you enter the park. Camping is available in the Park in addition to rooms at Skyland, Big Meadows Lodge and Lewis Mountain Cabins. There are full-service restaurants at Skyland and Big Meadows plus there are "waysides" with lighter food. Guided horseback rides depart daily (weather permitting) from the Skyland stables.
Information gathered from www.virginia.org/Listings/OutdoorsAndSports/ShenandoahNationalPark