Go here: Charlottesville is the town Thomas Jefferson built. Perhaps not literally, but his influence is everywhere, from his founding and design of the University of Virginia to Monticello, his historic home and burial site just outside the city. Tours of the estate are offered daily. Admission is $8-$20, free for kids younger than 6. Stroll the grounds of the University of Virginia at your leisure or take a free tour of the historic Lawn and Rotunda. Be sure to check out 13 West Range where Edgar Allan Poe lived when he briefly attended the university. The room is outfitted as it might have looked in 1826 when Poe was there.
Stay here: The 200 South Street Inn is in Charlottesville's lively
historic downtown district that features a pedestrian mall filled
with antique shops, bookstores, movie theaters and restaurants. The
Inn combines two restored houses, the larger built in 1856 for the
son of a friend of Thomas Jefferson. Over the years, the building
served as a private residence, a girls' finishing school, a brothel
and a boarding house. Rates are $170-$295 a night.
Historic Michie Tavern,
683 Thomas Jefferson Parkway. 434-977-1234. Dating from 1784, the
restaurant offers a buffet of traditional Virginia cuisine fried
chicken, pork barbecue, stewed tomatoes, corn bread and peach
cobbler presented by servers in period costumes.
Don't miss this: James Madison's Montpelier and James
Monroe's Ash Lawn-Highland Estate are nearby, but if you prefer a
more modern excursion take in a wine tasting at the Kluge Estate Winery and
Vineyard, 100 Grand Cru Drive, Charlottesville. Established in
1999, the winery aspires to be one of the East Coast's best.
Get there: Charlottesville is about three to four hours
southwest of Baltimore, depending on traffic. Take Interstate 95
south to Interstate 495 west toward Silver Spring. Then take
Interstate 66 west toward Manassas. From there, head south on U.S.
29 toward Gainesville/Warrenton. Take U.S. 29 south/U.S. 15 south
which turns into James Madison Highway and Seminole Trail all the
way into Charlottesville.
For more information, contact the Charlottesville
Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau, 877-386-1103.
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