Go here: Charlottesville is the town Thomas Jefferson built.Perhaps not literally, but his influence is everywhere, from hisfounding and design of the University of Virginia to Monticello,his historic home and burial site just outside the city. Tours ofthe estate are offered daily. Admission is $8-$20, free for kidsyounger than 6. Stroll the grounds of the University of Virginia atyour 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 whenhe briefly attended the university. The room is outfitted as itmight have looked in 1826 when Poe was there.
Stay here: The 200 South Street Inn is in Charlottesville's livelyhistoric downtown district that features a pedestrian mall filledwith antique shops, bookstores, movie theaters and restaurants. TheInn combines two restored houses, the larger built in 1856 for theson of a friend of Thomas Jefferson. Over the years, the buildingserved as a private residence, a girls' finishing school, a brotheland a boarding house. Rates are $170-$295 a night.800-964-7008.
Eat here: In recent years, Charlottesville's diningoptions have expanded greatly and the diverse cuisines of therestaurants in the downtown mall area have won raves fromrestaurant critics. But if you haven't had your fill of historyafter visiting Monticello, have lunch at Historic Michie Tavern,683 Thomas Jefferson Parkway. 434-977-1234. Dating from 1784, therestaurant offers a buffet of traditional Virginia cuisine friedchicken, pork barbecue, stewed tomatoes, corn bread and peachcobbler 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 amore modern excursion take in a wine tasting at the Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard, 100 Grand Cru Drive, Charlottesville. Established in1999, the winery aspires to be one of the East Coast's best.434-977-3895.
Get there: Charlottesville is about three to four hourssouthwest of Baltimore, depending on traffic. Take Interstate 95south to Interstate 495 west toward Silver Spring. Then takeInterstate 66 west toward Manassas. From there, head south on U.S.29 toward Gainesville/Warrenton. Take U.S. 29 south/U.S. 15 southwhich turns into James Madison Highway and Seminole Trail all theway into Charlottesville.
For more information, contact the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau, 877-386-1103.