5 Surprises about Charlottesville

It’s been about a month since we moved into our apartment in Charlottesville, and now it’s time to fill you in on some of the surprises that this little town has shown us.

Thomas Jefferson’s Rotunda at the University of Virginia

1. Thomas Jefferson’s legacy is everywhere

We knew TJ founded the University of Virginia (UVa) and built his gorgeous home (Monticello) on a mountain 15 minutes from our home, but we had no idea how much the man and his legacy permeate Charlottesville. You see traces of things he found to be of utmost importance everywhere: architecture, the honor code, self-governance. We’ve found that almost anytime we think, ‘I wonder why that is like that?’ is traced back to one of Jefferson’s ideals. So, to freshen up my memory about the man and to learn many more details about his life, I have three new books to work my way through. Have you read any of them?

  • Thomas Jefferson, an Intimate History by Fawn M. Brodie
  • The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed
  • The Words of Thomas Jefferson (a book of quotes pulled from his letters and authored documents)

2. You can cross town in 10 minutes

So when someone says a place is all the way across town, we now know that it’s no big deal. You can get anywhere in town in 10 minutes or less if you drive. Au contraire to our former life when Rob and I had to “cross town” to visit each other and it took at least 40 minutes. Cross town in Cville? No problem.

3. Vineyards are as common here as subway stations in NYC

…albeit more spread out than the high density of NYC. But vineyards are still everywhere! We’ve visited a couple so far, and they are truly beautiful, nestled quaintly in the rolling foothills. You could probably visit a different vineyard (or brewery/cidery/distillery) every weekend for a year. Hopefully within a few months, we’ll have a recommended list for anyone spending time in Virginia. So, who’s coming to visit?!

4. This town is diverse

Small town, USA? Not exactly. Because Charlottesville is a college town and home to one of the best public universities in the country, the selection of people is varied. One of my favorite things about NYC was the diversity of people. Fortunately, Cville and UVa bring in scholars from around the country and the world. In fact, more countries are represented at Darden School of Business than states! The town follows suit – we meet people from a variety of backgrounds, and very few people who are native to Charlottesville but have come to love it.

5. You better get moving

We knew Charlottesville was considered an “active” town, but we’re truly impressed with the degree to which it is. Charlottesville is home to all distances of running races, cycling races, triathlons, hiking trails, tubing, kayaking… I could go on and on. I already signed up for my 2nd half-marathon, to take place here in Cville on April 5, 2014. I also joined Darden’s Running Club (how cool is it that all their affinity clubs are open to partners?!), which hosts weekly runs and Darden teams in local races. Time to get moving!


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