Sunday, July 27, 2008

Charlottesville, VA

Charlottesville is one of my favorite places. It's a small university town, full of history, small restaurants, and wineries among other things. I first visited Charlottesville in 2001 and had an amazing time. We drove to Charlottesville last weekend again to visit a couple of wineries. We stayed at the Boar's Head Inn for a couple of days while re-visiting my favorite spots in and around Charlottesville. The weather didn't help much, it was so hot and humid it felt like a sauna everywhere, but we had a great time. We arrived on Saturday around lunchtime and went to Monticello - The home of Thomas Jefferson. The image of the west front of Monticello is featured on the United States five-cent coin. The house is beautiful, so well maintained by people who truly love its history. The tours have a big focus on food. There are smokehouses, wine and beer cellars, kitchens, even a pond they used to keep their catch fresh until it was time to go on the table. My favorite by far is the Fruitery - Monticello's eight-acre Fruit Garden, which includes a 400-tree orchard; two small vineyards; gooseberries and raspberries; a nursery where Jefferson propagated fruit trees and special garden plants, and "submural beds" where figs and strawberries were grown to take advantage of the warming microclimate created by the stone wall. The visitor center has a nursery where you can purchase cuttings of ornamental and edible plants. They are a little bit more expensive then the average nursery but I couldn't resist. I bought a Brunswick Fig Tree. It's so exciting to have a little piece of Monticello growing in my backyard. Hopefully it will bear fruits next year.

Downtown Charlottesville

Kluge Winery

Kluge Vineyards

Jefferson Vineyards

Monticello - Vegetable Garden


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