When in Charlottesville

Juan and I had a spontaneous weekend in Charlottesville, VA. What a pleasant time we had! Let’s just say it will not be the last time we visit, since it has become one of our favorite spots in this amazing state.

We booked a last-minute hotel deal by bidding in Priceline.com, finding a Holiday Inn room for $59.

After we settled into our hotel, we visited the Historic Downtown Mall, which is a regular spot for us. We wanted to try a new restaurant, so we dined outdoors at Taste of India. One of the dishes we ordered was delicious and the other left a lot to be desired. The rice and chicken was finger-licking good, except next time we will try the mild version, since the medium spices made the dish a little too hot. The combination platter was very disappointing, with dry rice and beans that looked like they had sat on the plate a little too long. The overall service and ambiance were good, with plenty of time for good conversation and people watching.

The next day we drove through UVA, admiring the Jeffersonian architecture, and later visited Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and what a treat that was! Tickets were $25 per person and the money was well spent. Jefferson’s house and gardens have been very well preserved. It is a stunning place! I learned so much by watching a movie, visiting the museum, and taking a guided tour through the house. It was simply fascinating.

We ended our day spending a lovely evening at Jefferson Vineyards. We paid $10/person for wine tasting. Needless to say, my husband was in heaven. We purchased a bottle of truly amazing wine, sat in the field, and had a picnic. The view was stunning and the experience peaceful and refreshing. It turns out this is wine country! I did not know that 50% of the nation’s wine is produced right here in Virginia. In Charlottesville alone there are more than 30 wineries, which we are sure to visit one by one!

Next time we go, we plan on visiting Carter’s Mountain Orchard along with a local brewery. Autumn will be spectacular and I am salivating already!

The house at the top of "Little Mountain"

The house at the top of “Little Mountain”

The garden and observatory at Monticello

The garden and observatory at Monticello

Juan and I at Monticello's terrace, overlooking the dome at UVA and incredible mountain scenery

Juan and I at Monticello’s terrace, overlooking the dome at UVA and incredible mountain scenery

Our picnic from Whole Foods

Our picnic from Whole Foods

Jefferson Vineyards

Jefferson Vineyards

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Exploring Virginia: Shenandoah Valley

Shenandoah Valley

After 2 years of living in Virginia, I finally got a chance to drive through Skyline Drive in Shenandoah Park. The weather was perfect and the sights from the overviews along the road were absolutely stunning. I grew up in Ecuador, surrounded by gorgeous mountains, but I lived most of my adult life in Florida, which has none. So this drive was like coming back home.

The only thing I wanted more of was time. Our drive was fairly short, and it takes several hours to go through the whole park. Now that we have a taste of it, we will be sure to go back again soon. I can’t wait to see it during the fall when the leaves are turning! Next time, I will bring my field guide, to make my bird watching more interesting.

Once hunger hit, we headed to our favorite spot in Charlottesville: Christian’s Pizza, at the downtown location. We love that place! The pizza is amazing, the pedestrian strip with outdoor cafes and shops is quaint and lively. It was the perfect way to end the day. (For more reviews on Christian’s Pizza, click here)