A travel journal
to Charlottesville by Carmen
Quote: A look at Charlottesville, VA, and some of the great things it has to offer, from the slightly prejudiced eyes of a University of Virginia alumni.
But I've got to say that one of the primo highlights of a trip to Charlottesville is to see a football game in Scott's Stadium. I'm sorry, that would be David A. Harrison Field at Scott Stadium in the Carl Smith Center. (Thanks to donations, we have the longest name ever for a football stadium). You get caught up in the action, whether you're a football fan or not, and you find yourself on your feet rooting for the home team (you'd better, if you're in C-ville.) :)
Another highlight is most certainly standing on the lawn in awe of the Rotunda and the pavilions stretching down the lawn. It has rolling hills, but it was done that way on purpose, so that if you stand at the Rotunda and look down the lawn, it looks as if it's straight. :) That Jefferson, what a genious!
It's really hard to drive/park around the University of Virginia campus. Find either nearby street parking or park at the bookstore (they just re-did it with a new parking garage.). Either way, you'll want to park and walk so you can see everything.
Also, if it's Fall, that's the best time to take the back ways around the city and look at the fall foliage. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a good route, also Rt. 250 out in the country.
Restaurant | "St. Maarten's "
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 7, 2000
St. Maarten's Cafe
1400 Wertland Street
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Restaurant | "Bodo's Bagels"
Bodo's Bagel Bakery and New York Sandwich Shop
505 Preston Avenue
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Attraction | "The Rotunda and Lawn at UVA"
At the far end is the majestic Rotunda, designed by Jefferson and based on the Parthenon, which he meant to be used as a library. Stand on the Rotunda steps and look out down the lawn, with the Lawn rooms and the Pavilions lining the edge. The Pavilions were meant to be houses for the professors, and the students would live in the Lawn rooms, so that they could mix and discuss classes and issues of the day. The Pavilions are joined by a walkway, which was supposed to be so that the professors and their families could interact without running into the students, for some quiet time. There are tours that show you the inside of the Rotunda, times vary.
Several famous people have lived on the Lawn, including Ralph Sampson and Edgar Allen Poe. Look out at night, however, because it's a UVA tradition to 'streak' the Lawn during your time there. If you see a nude person run by, don't be frightened.
The best way to see the Lawn is to take a University-guided tour, so you can learn all the neat stories about the Lawn rooms and Jefferson himself, but just to walk down the lawn in quiet reflection is an amazing experience.
Here are some of the stories and tricks I actually remember from my college days.
1. At night, if you sit on the steps of the Rotunda and lie backwards, it looks like a dark, quiet river. (a little bit of alcohol helps this effect along)
2. While students apply to live in the Lawn rooms, and they usually go to those with the best resumes (editor in cheif of the newspaper, etc.) they give up a bit of luxury. There are fireplaces in the rooms, but no showers. To shower, they don their robes and slippers and walk outside and down the stairs to the communal showers. (even in the cold.)
3. When streaking the lawn, the streaker removes his clothes and hands them to a trusted friend (leaving them is perilous, you might not get them back.) The object is to start at the Rotunda, run all the way down to the statue of Homer, kiss his butt, and run back. Careful to avoid policemen, lawn residents with flashlights, and the occasional chains that cross the lawn. One friend of mine tripped and broke his leg because of a chain!
The Academical Village
University of Virginia
His home is full of intersting and unique ideas. Such as the clock over the entrance that measures the days of the week and the month of the year, as well as the time. (He ran out of room on the wall, cut a hole in the floor, and Saturday and Sunday are marked on the floor below.) He kept fossils that he found and other interesting artifiacts that he enjoyed.
It's also neat to learn that Jefferson didn't like to waste space with stairs in his architecture, so the staircases are very small and out-of-the-way. The gardens are also fabulous, and the slave history is facinating.
The tour usually ends with a visit to Jefferson's grave. His tombstone recognizes him for three things, the Declaration of Independence, and Father of the University of Virginia, to name the two I remember. President of the United States isn't one of them, which I think is a very humble approach to his life.
This is a whole-day activity, and fun for everyone in the family. Many aspects are hands-on.
931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
Attraction | "Downtown Mall"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 7, 2000
Historic Downtown Mall
Between Water and Market Street
Cary, North Carolina