Sunday, October 16, 2011

Charlottesville Trip Report, part 1

Ahhhh...Will and I just returned from a much-needed 3-night escape down to Charlottesville, VA. Our 8th anniversary is this week, so we wanted to take a little trip to celebrate. Somewhere not TOO far away since we were leaving little kids behind, but somewhere far enough away that it actually felt like a getaway. Somewhere with wineries and breweries and hiking and tasty food. Thanks in no small part to Kath from Kath Eats Real Food, my blogging hero who makes Charlottesville sound so wonderful (And who I got to meet! Extremely exciting!) we decided to head down to check out "C-ville".

After making sure the girls and the dog were delivered to various grandparents' houses on Thursday, we headed south...straight into vicious thunder storms and tornadoes! The drive was harrowing, and I kept looking for funnel clouds as the sky kept turning strange shades of brown and green. Will made fun of me, but we found out once we got there that we had narrowly missed at least one tornado that ripped the roof off a house that was directly on the road we had traveled on! Scary!

Finally clearing up around Leesburg

See any funnel clouds?
After a long and tense ride, we arrived. We wanted to stay at a nice B&B, but in order to save a bit of money we spent our first night at a plain ol' Comfort Inn since we were arriving late anyway. It was decent, but soggy. The air in the room felt very damp, the carpet was damp, even the "egg patties" served at breakfast the next morning were soggy.

What ARE these anyway?
But we took off early Friday morning, and headed over to Monticello.
Visitor's Center

The Man himself
The weatherman had promised that it would clear up, and so it did! As our tour entered the front of Monticello we could see a tiny bit of blue sky peeking through...
...and once we finished our tour and emerged from the back of the house the blue sky had taken over, come to stay with us for the rest of the trip!
The tour was ok. It was cool to see the inside of the house, but neither of us are really tour people. I remember coming to Monticello back when I was 16 and being really impressed with all the ingenious gadgets Thomas Jefferson had used in his house, but this time our tour guide was much more focused on the architecture. No matter. We did a quick tour around the grounds now that the weather was nice

then headed over to Jefferson Vineyards for some wine tasting!

The tasting room was empty when we showed up, but quickly filled until it was really crowded! The people standing next to us turned out to be the parents of a woman who works at the Fredericksburg, VA paper and has almost the same job Will has at our paper! Will and I have met her boss before at conferences; small world! So once we finished our tasting I got a glass of the Pinot Gris (which is funny, because I don't usually prefer Pinot Grigio wines but this was my favorite here!) and we escaped the tasting room to sit down and enjoy the beautiful view.

Everyone was perplexed when a school bus full of kids rolled up

MY school never took field trips to the winery :-(
It turned around and left though as soon as it arrived, and we decided to follow suit.

A quick ride into Charlottesville, and we were at our B&B!

It looks nice from the outside!

Buuuuuut, we were the only ones there. We arrived a bit early for check-in. Oops.

No matter! With the Downtown Mall within easy walking distance we set out to explore and find Will the shot of espresso we had been unable to obtain at the two previous places we'd tried.
Interesting statue just down the hill

Will prospecting for potential new clients

The lovely people here provided Will with his long-awaited espresso!
When we arrived back at the B&B Amanda was there to let us in! And what a beautiful place it was!
Our door

The Altamont room

Beautiful bathroom!
Loved all the little touches, like fresh rosemary sprigs in the bathroom, and locally made organic toiletries!
Thoroughly enjoyed this shower/steam room. If I had one of these at home I think I'd never come out.

Our patio area

Fireplace! Nice for the chilly fall nights.
The hat from the website!

I like to think I pull it off

So many cute little walkways and alcoves

They have a stinkbug problem down in Virginia too, it seems

Oh, to have such an adorable, bright, airy kitchen at home!

Gathering area

I love walled gardens! And Will loved the "water feature"

Hmmmm, they still charged us to stay here :-)

How sweet!

As Will put it, "eclectic" birdhouses

After a brief rest, we headed to an early dinner at Beer Run. They weren't serving dinner yet (boo!), but we got delicious sandwiches (and a plate of extra house-made pickles after Will tasted and fell in love with the one that came with his meal) and delicious beer.
Will tasting and Google-ing
Beer Run is a restaurant and also a beer store, and our beer run after the meal cost more than the meal itself! But they had some not-to-be-missed unique selections, and now we're set for awhile.

The lucky winners
After that it was back to 400 High for a brief rest, then BACK out to check out the mall in the evening. We were hoping to grab a spice-a-rita at Mono Loco, but it was closed for a private party :-(  Instead we ended up at  Commonwealth Restaurant and Skybar (forgot to take a picture, sorry!) and enjoyed some great beer and equally great people-watching from above while we waited to feel hungry again. Since we had had such a late lunch we wanted something light for dinner. Sushi sounded perfect! We made our way to Ten Sushi and were seated outside immediately. The only problem was, we were seated RIGHT next to a group of teenagers who were in the process of being arrested for fighting by some bike cops. With the whole outside section COMPLETELY open we're not sure why the waitstaff decided to seat us here, and in their defense they did offer to move us when the arguing got a bit loud, but by then we were absorbed in the drama. As you can see, we really did have front row seats:
Dinner AND a show
The mall seemed to be completely overrun that night by middle schoolers whose main goal it was to bellow loudly to each other over long distances. We never did figure out why, and our waitress assured us it was not the normal state of things on the mall, but our dinner was fantastic (the escolar and the spicy hotate rolls were particular favorites) and the entertainment was interesting, if a little louder than we would've liked.

Just writing about all of this is exhausting me, and experiencing it first hand was no different! After sushi we made our way back to our home away from home and passed out!

To be continued....

Part 2, Part 3

1 comment:

Amber said...

Thanks for sharing your amazing trip. It looked very relaxing. So far, my favorite part would have been the winery ;o)