Spring is in the air, and you’re busy planning all of your getaways this summer. While you may have international travel on your list and some Caribbean destinations, you’re going to get in some domestic travel this season. Studies have shown that people who take vacations regularly see a boost in their mental health and have markedly decreased chances of developing cardiovascular disease or strokes. If you’re narrowing down your list of U.S. cities to visit and are looking for a small-town feel with the perks of a big city, consider adding Charlottesville, Virginia, to your list of potential destinations. Let’s look at some of the great reasons to visit the town, which is consistently voted one of the happiest cities in the states.
Rich In History
Charlottesville is located in Virginia; the state is also known as “The Mother Of Presidents.” More US presidents hail from Virginia than any other state in the country. With Charlottesville in Central Virginia, you are a short drive from historically significant cities like Richmond, Jamestown (not a town but the first permanent English settlement in America), Washington D.C., and several others. On its own, Charlottesville is best known for being home to Thomas Jefferson. Monticello’s home is a must-visit in town and the University of Virginia’s grounds (which Jefferson famously helped design). Charlottesville has you covered if you’re a history buff or love exploring historic homes and settings.
It may be hard to believe, but the city of Charlottesville has more restaurants per capita than any other U.S. city except for New York, New York; whether you’re looking for authentic Southern barbecue or high-end and elevated dining experiences, you can find that in Charlottesville. Some favorite restaurants for locals in Charlottesville are The Whiskey Jar, Passiflora and Commonwealth Restaurant, and Skybar.
Charlottesville is also home to the country’s longest pedestrian mall. Known as The Downtown Mall, it extends over eight blocks of the city. This charming outdoor mall is paved with red bricks and lined with local boutiques, offices, and restaurants. When the weather is nice, particularly in the summer, “The Mall” (as locals know it) is full of buskers, local vendors, and plenty of people watching. Some popular shops on the mall worth popping in are Oyster House Antiques and Bittersweet. Charlottesville also has plenty of fantastic shopping sprinkled throughout the small city, like Scarpa, Beecroft & Bull, and Eloise. It’s easy to max out your credit card in this idyllic town.
If You’re Outdoorsy
There’s so much to do in and around Charlottesville, and many of those activities are outdoors. You’ll want to make sure you pack plenty of SPF, your favorite sunglasses, and your hiking boots if you’re heading there. Don’t worry about having a wild time, as mud washes off of hiking boots and you can easily order replacement lenses for plenty of designer sunglasses brands, whether your prefer sportier looks like the Oakley Holbrook or classic looks like Ray-Bans.
Plenty of fishing opportunities and hiking surround the city. Charlottesville is nestled at the base of The Blue Ridge Mountains, so hiking Skyline Drive, Old Rag Mountain, or Humpback Rock are all less than a thirty-minute drive from town. If you don’t feel like taking a car ride, smaller hikes and majestic nature walks are throughout the city and Albemarle County. Even walking the expansive grounds at Jefferson’s Monticello will quickly have you hit your daily step goal for the day.
Proximity To Other Places
Lastly, one of the best things about Charlottesville, especially if you’re traveling by car on a road trip, is its proximity to so many other places you may be interested in seeing. You are a mere two hours from Virginia Beach, one hour from Richmond, and less than an hour from historic Staunton and Waynesboro, Virginia. The state motto for Virginia is “Virginia is for lovers,” and you’ll fall in love with the entire state too. Everything is lush and green, and plenty of beautiful fauna bloom during the summer. Driving along the Blue Ridge Mountains on Skyline Drive is something you’ll never forget and leave you wanting to come back in fall for the majestic color change on the leaves.
Suppose you’re in the Mid-Atlantic area of the country and looking for the perfect peaceful getaway where you can still indulge in “big city” shopping and dining. In that case, Charlottesville has you covered all the way. Happy Trails!