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Distance from Baltimore: 160 miles, almost 3 and a half hours' drive
Why it's worth the gas: This is definitely do-able as a day trip but with so much history in such a nice pastoral spot, you might want to consider spending the night. This historic city celebrates its 250th anniversary of its founding this year. Some of the perennial highlights for visitors: Thomas Jefferson's home at Monticello; an hour-long walking tour of downtown; lots of great spots to kayak, bike and hike. Oh, and Trump Winery, run by The Donald's son Eric, is here (100 Grand Gru Dr.)
Don't miss: Even if you don't have a college-bound kid, try a tour of the University of Virginia, founded by the visionary Mr. Jefferson in 1819 as a place where students would learn about public service and affairs beyond academia. This was the first nonsectarian university in the young nation's history and the first to have an elective course system. The campus is gorgeous. Be sure to see The Rotunda (designed by T.J., of course) and the adjacent green known as the Lawn.
Information: City of Charlottesville, 605 E. Main St., Charlottesville, VA 22902; 434-970-3333; visitcharlottesville.org;
April 13, 2006