LET’S EXPLORE the region around Charlottesville, Virginia — Charlottesville and Albemarle County have a combined population of around 120,000, with higher education, tourism, light manufacturing, agriculture, and retail sales constituting the economic base. Over the years, citizens have done much to preserve the natural beauty and character of Albemarle County. The countryside, especially in the springtime, ranks among the most beautiful sites in the nation.
Take a picnic and drive into the countryside; you’ll discover numerous Civil War sites and historical markers detailing more than two hundred years of nationally-important history. Beautiful estates, bounded by titanic old-growth trees and enclosing delightful architecture, dot the rolling-hill landscape.
Some highlights include:
The Albemarle County Courthouse: Two blocks north of the famous Downtown Mall. Built in 1762, the courthouse was the site of a raid by British soldiers hoping to capture fleeing state legislators. Most of the revolutionaries escaped, though Daniel Boone was captured.
Ash Lawn-Highland: Just over two miles from Monticello. The restored home of President James Monroe, this 550-acre estate features gardens, farm demonstrations, and a lovely hiking trail. The scene of many events such as the Summer Festival (opera and musical theatre), the Champagne and Candlelight Tour, and the Colonial Crafts Weekend. Open daily except Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Thanksgiving. Admission is charged.
Montpelier: Located near Orange, Virginia. Montpelier is a 2,750-acre estate that includes farmland, race courses, a terraced two-acre formal garden, a stunning landscape, a National Landmark Forest, active archaeological sites, and more than 130 buildings.
Charlottesville/Albemarle Convention and UVA Visitors Center: All the information you need, including maps, guides, brochures and on-the-spot help and advice, can be found here. UVA Visitor Center — 2306 Ivy Road; and area Visitor Center — Downtown at the eastern end of the Downtown Mall (Open daily except Sunday: 10-5).