Things to Do in Charlottesville: By JUNKET
Did you know Charlottesville is where Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair? Or that it was the home of the woman who claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov? Or that a UVA graduate Dr. Charles T. Pepper inspired the name for a popular soda?
Situated amidst the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Charlottesville is a forward-thinking city still steeped in tradition. A bustling town with sweeping landscapes and a reverence for its historic roots, it has been dubbed “The Happiest City in America.” Explore Charlottesville with Junket and discover a city with a presidential pedigree and a rich cultural heritage.
The Charm of Charlottesville
Experience the allure of Charlottesville and explore its unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Soak in the legacy of the city through visits to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and the University of Virginia, both of which offer a fascinating look into the past and present of Charlottesville.
Immerse yourself in the world-class exhibits and extraordinary artifacts that make Charlottesville such a compelling destination, from the stunning exhibitions at the Fralin Museum of Art to the fascinating collections of discovery and adventure at the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center.
When shadows creep along the peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville transforms into a realm of endless possibilities. For a thrilling night out, head to the Downtown Mall, where you can sip on delicious cocktails at the trendy bars or dance the night away at the many nightclubs, all while soaking in the vibrant and electric atmosphere.
As the sun sets and darkness descends, the shadows of the city come to life on an enthralling Charlottesville Ghost Tour. Take a bone-chilling expedition into the city's ghostly history where you will have a chance to:
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A Presidential Heritage
The area around Charlottesville had long been inhabited by the Monacan Indian tribe until the 1730s when the first permanent settlement was created on the banks of the Rivanna River.
In 1762, the burgeoning community was named in honor of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the queen consort of King George III, and established itself as a tobacco-trading point along the Blue Ridge, becoming an important crossroads town during colonial times.
Charlottesville grew into the cultural and commercial center of the area, which produced national leaders whose lives contributed richly to the newly-formed nation. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe would go on to lead America as presidents, while George Rogers Clark and Meriwether Lewis would become renowned skilled explorers who opened the American West.
Center of Higher Learning
In 1819, Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, used his influence to have the state donate land and founded the University of Virginia on the outskirts of the city in a quest to reinvent higher education in America.
His lavish and stately home Monticello, just outside of town, as well as the Academical Village he designed for the university, stand as examples of his architectural genius.
The university grew into one of the most prestigious public colleges in the country, and although it had been constructed outside of town in keeping with Jefferson’s focus on the importance of an agrarian society, business prosperity, and city growth eventually brought it within the city limits, cementing the university’s role as the center of the community.
The arrival of the railroad changed the city forever.
In the 1850s, the first coal train transformed Charlottesville into one of Virginia’s biggest transportation hubs. Despite its role in support of the Confederacy, Charlottesville emerged from the Civil War largely unscathed, and the textile and agricultural industries flourished, with the city becoming nationally known for its woolens and wines.
The city’s close ties to Thomas Jefferson appealed to travelers worldwide, and a strong tourism economy developed, turning Charlottesville into a top destination during the early years of the travel industry.
What was once a humble tobacco trading post has developed into a vibrant community that combines the historic charm of an 18th-century village with the hustle and bustle of a busy college town.
“I am as happy no where else and in no other society.” – Thomas Jefferson
One of the crown jewels of Virginia, Charlottesville is celebrated for its Old-World architecture, stunning natural scenery, and national historic landmarks.
History lovers must visit Monticello, a UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases the neoclassical architecture and decor that Jefferson himself designed. Visitors can take guided tours of the home, the gardens, and the plantation, and learn about Jefferson's life, his contributions to American history, and his vision for America.
The most celebrated aspects of Charlottesville are the stunning vistas that surround the town – resplendent views of the Blue Ridge mountains are the backdrop for hilly and green natural spaces ideal for picnics, hiking, and golf. Soar above the rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in a hot air balloon for a unique and breathtaking way to experience the stunning beauty of the area.
“The natural beauty of the surrounding countryside and the man-made beauty of Charlottesville combine to weave a tapestry of American history few other towns or cities can boast.” – John F. Kennedy
At Carter Mountain Orchard, visitors can immerse themselves in the breathtaking panoramas of the Virginia countryside throughout the year, while savoring juicy, sun-ripened peaches and crisp apples picked straight from the orchard.
Sip and Savor
Charlottesville is still Jefferson’s town, and his focus on agriculture lives on. Known as the birthplace of American wine, the region around Charlottesville has created one of the nation’s finest winemaking areas in Virginia, with nearly 40 wineries on the Monticello Wine Trail, inspired by his vision of grape growing and winemaking.
When it's time to unwind, bask in the tranquility of the city, savoring a glass of award-winning wine with your evening meal. Charlottesville is known for its delicious dining options, with everything from upscale restaurants to casual eateries. Be sure to try some of the local favorites, such as the famous Bodo's Bagels or the farm-to-table fare at the Ivy Inn.
Get to Know Charlottesville
This historically-rich city offers a bounty of attractions certain to please all kinds of visitors, from museums and historical landmarks to outdoor recreation and farm-to-table cuisine. In addition to the Junket Charlottesville Experience, here is a list of some of our favorite attractions:
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