We're on to city number two in our journey to the baseball towns across Virginia. If you missed our weekend guide to Richmond, check it out here. If you're ready to head west to C'ville, keep reading for some expert recommendations on how to spend your time in Charlottesville, Virginia. (If you want the podcast version of our Charlottesville journey, check it out here.)
Things to Do
One of the most highly-recommended activities in the Charlottesville region is hiking. The city is just a 30-minute drive to the southern end of Shenandoah National Park, or the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you want to pay $30 for a park pass, you can head into Shenandoah and take in all that it has to offer. The pass is good for the next seven days, so if you're staying in the area for a while, it's certainly worth it.
Shenandoah has some phenomenal hikes, including Bearfence Mountain, Old Rag, Whiteoak Canyon and Big Meadows. Make sure to hit at least one of these if you venture into the park.
If you decide to take the free route and head south on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you've still got some great options. Just about five miles into the drive, you'll come across the Humpback Rock area. This part of the parkway includes a visitor center, historic farm, picnic area and one of the most grueling hikes you can find in the region, but it's absolutely worth it.
The trail is roughly one mile, but climbs 700 feet in elevation in that short distance, making it a tough one to accomplish. Once you get to the top, though, you'll be glad you did.
If you're not so into the outdoor adventures, you can go with some of the more historic options. Thomas Jefferson's Monticello is just a 10-minute drive from downtown Charlottesville and offers tours of the third president's home and grounds. Not too far from Jefferson's dwelling is Ashlawn-Highland, home of President James Monroe. Both are great options for the history-lover in your group.
Depending on the season, head up to Carter Mountain in Charlottesville or nearby Chiles Orchard in Crozet and take your pick of apples, peaches, berries and whatever other fruits are in season. Make sure to stop in one of the Bold Rock taprooms for some refreshments after a hard day in the fields.
Charlottesville has no shortage of craft beer offerings. From Three Notch'd to South Street Brewing in the city, to the multitude of breweries within a 45-minute drive, you can't go wrong with any of the options.
Three Notch'd is one of the biggest craft breweries in Virginia, getting its start in Charlottesville and expanding to Richmond, Roanoke and Harrisonburg. Their offerings include Minute Man and 40 Mile IPAs, Hydraulion Red Ale and all kinds of seasonal and limited release brews. Make sure to include a stop in the Three Notch'd Craft Kitchen and Brewery in your trip to Charlottesville.
South Street Brewery also has some great offerings, including one of my favorite beers of all time, Satan's Pony Amber Ale. They've got a great location adjacent to the downtown mall, so it's an easy stop in for a beer.
If you really want to go big, I recommend booking a tour with Cville Hop on Tours. They have a few different tour options, and within each tour you can choose where you want to stop. Mariah and I went on one a few weeks ago, and we chose the 151 Tour. We stopped at Devil's Backbone, Bold Rock, Silverback Distillery and Blue Mountain Brewery. All of our stops were great, and being driven around by Cville Hop on Tours made our day much more enjoyable when we didn't have to worry about driving ourselves.
Of course, if you're more into wine, the region has some options for you, too. You can make your way to Jefferson, Veritas, King Family, Pippin Hill or Barboursville Vineyards nearby. Any of them would be a good choice for the wine-lover visiting town.
You didn't think we'd tell you about all the great things to do without including baseball did you? If you're visiting town during college baseball season, you can check out a game at the University of Virginia's Davenport Field. The Cavaliers have had plenty of success recently, reaching four College World Series since 2009 and winning the national championship in 2015.
If you're around during the summer, stop in at Cville Weekly Ballpark and take in a Tom Sox game. The Tom Sox are part of the Valley Baseball League, and host college players each summer in a 42-game season, competing against teams from up and down the Valley. The Valley League provides fun, inexpensive, family-friendly entertainment, so make sure to catch a game while you're in town.
Matthew Atkins, Journalist and Baseball fan.