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Life in Crozet

Twelve miles west of Charlottesville you’ll find the quaint yet growing community of Crozet, a census-designated-place (CDP) in Albemarle County, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with an elevation of 837 feet. (Click here to learn more about the origins of the unique name). According to the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors (CAAR) Neighborhood Report (February 2017), the population in Crozet is growing. At the time of the 2010 census there were 5,565 documented residents. There are now 6,600. In our mild, four-season climate, Crozet enjoys 98 days of full sun per year, with an annual rainfall of 45 inches and annual snowfall of 19.88 inches. Average temperatures range from 20-45 degrees Fahrenheit in January and 65-85 in July. Most residents, CAAR reports, are age 35-54 and most households earn $75,000 – $100,000 annually. The majority of residents work in education and the average commute is 26 minutes. Data collected within the last six months shows that 76% of residents own their home and 24% rent. Most of the dwellings purchased in Crozet at the time of CAAR’s report had fewer than 1400 square feet, were constructed within the last 10-20 years, and had three to four bedrooms. The typical price per square foot was $175-200, or less than $300,000 for the total property. However, the median estimated home value was $369,000 and the median list price was $544,000.

Now that you have all of the data, here are some other things you should know about life in Crozet.

Developments

Old Trail Village

pexels-photo-61136This growing neighborhood development identifies itself as an “urban village,” defined as a mix of residential, dining, retail, and recreational buildings and structures, all contained within a walkable environment. The Old Trail Village Center has all of the above, including an ACAC Fitness and Wellness Center that offers classes, as well as cardio and strength training equipment. If you’re looking for outdoor activities, there are miles of walking and biking trails, a pool with Blue Ridge Mountain views at the Old Trail Swim Club, and an 18-hole championship golf course at the Old Trail Golf Club.

Foxchase Landing

This is another ongoing development in Crozet, located just off Route 250 West and nearby schools, restaurants, a grocery store, and the amenities of the Old Trail Village.

Piedmont Place

pexels-photo-12346Open since September 2016, Piedmont Place is a solar-powered multi-use building with several dining options, a yoga studio, a multi-vendor market that includes a bookstore and a local craft brew & wine shop, and residential apartments. It is located just across the street from the new library, something architect Bob Anderson took into account in designing the façade, which pays homage to the library’s exterior. Within the Piedmont Place Market, you’ll find healthy meals to-go from Morsel Compass, small-batch, hand-crafted ice cream at Crozet Creamery, and nutritional smoothies and organic coffee at Smojo.

Local Dining

In the case of a couple Crozet restaurants, the old adage is true in the best sense: their reputations precede them. Even for newcomers to the Charlottesville area, it won’t be long before you hear of Fardowners Restaurant and Crozet Pizza. According to their website, the namesake of Fardowners is “a group of Irish immigrants who labored for the Blue Ridge Railway Co. and helped construct four tunnels through the Blue Ridge Mountains during the decade before the Civil War.” The restaurant sits near the railroad tracks that run through Crozet and is in sight of the old C&O railroad depot, which used to house the community library. As part of their mission is to support other local businesses, the Fardowners menu is as locally-sourced as possible. Their menu includes pub standards like burgers and wings, but also hefty salads and innovative twists on traditional mac & cheese. Their brunch menu includes Vegan and Vegetarian-friendly options, too, such as a tofu scramble sourced from Louisa County’s own Twin Oaks.

Family-owned Crozet Pizza has been serving fresh pizzas made from their own original recipes since 1977. (It’s so good it even made our Top 5 list of pizzerias in the Charlottesville area.) Their House Favorites include “Buddhist Pie” (white sauce, sun dried tomatoes, red peppers, feta, fresh basil), “Meet Me in Crozet” (pepperoni, sausage, meatballs), and “Maui” (bacon, ham, pineapple). You can also order custom pizzas as well as varieties of calzones, salads, and appetizers.

Smoked Kitchen & Tap at Piedmont Place offers slow smoked, hickory BBQ, as well as salads burgers, and sandwiches. And The Rooftop, just upstairs, is Crozet’s sky bar with gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountain views, cocktails, and a small plates menu that includes flatbread pizza.

View from the patio at Restoration.

View from the patio at Restoration.

If you’re looking for something more filling, there’s Restoration at Old Trail Village, which specializes in high-end comfort food. Menu items include croquet monsieur, pan seared salmon, and friend chicken & waffles, which comes with apple cider bacon gastrique and can be further upgraded by substituting duck confit for the fried chicken. In addition to the elegant interior, there is outdoor patio seating that overlooks the Old Trail Golf Club course.

Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival

Twice a year, in May and October, the Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival brings its lively and celebratory vibe to Claudius Crozet Park for a weekend of festivities. White tents dot the landscape while local singers and musicians perform, and the air fills with the aromas of foods as varied as kettle corn, funnel cake, fried onions, Thai noodles, and quesadillas.

The Crozet/Western Albemarle Library

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn September 2013, after years of being housed in the old depot, the Crozet/Western Albemarle Library opened the doors to its new, permanent home in downtown Crozet. It has a growing collection and space that allows for 75,000 volumes of books.

Mint Springs Valley Park

This 520-acre park includes four hiking trails, picnic areas and grills, 8 acres of water, and a one-acre beach. Swimming is allowed from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, except when county schools are in session. There is a small entry fee for both county residents and non-county residents, or season passes are available for purchase. As long as you have a fishing license, you will also be able to fish for the stocked trout, sunfish, channel catfish, and large-mouth bass.

For more Crozet data, you can find the complete, detailed Neighborhood Report here.

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Historic Garden Week

This month visitors and residents of Virginia will have the opportunity to visit over 250 gardens, homes, and landmarks during Historic Garden Week. This event, organized and operated by the Garden Club of Virginia, has been in existence since 1933! This year’s Historic Garden Week, which runs from April 22-27, 2017, consists of 30 distinct tours, including several in and around Charlottesville.

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Located just down the road from James Monroe’s Highland and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Morven (Scottish for “Great Mountain”) is an extensive estate of nearly 3,000 acres with a long history. Thomas Jefferson purchased 1,334 acres in 1795 and leased plots of land to local farmers. In 1813, he transferred ownership of the property to David Higginbotham, who gave it the name Morven and oversaw construction of the main house. The estate was owned by three more families before Charles and Mary Stone purchased it in 1926. By 1933, Mary Stone had revived the formal gardens and opened them to visitors for the first ever Virginia Garden Week. Morven has remained part of the Virginia Garden Week every year since. In 1988, businessman and philanthropist John W. Kluge purchased the Morven estate. During his ownership, Kluge ordered construction of a Japanese garden, which remains part of the garden tour. In 2001, Kluge donated over 7,000 acres of the estate to the University of Virginia Foundation, which now maintains it and uses it for educational purposes.

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The Albemarle County House and Garden Tour will consist of five properties: Southfield—20 acres of trees, shrubs, and perennials; Choill Mhor—meaning “Great Woods” in Gaelic, a manor house built in 2005 that sits on 50 acres with many native and non-native plants; Midway—an early 19th-century farmhouse with several hundred acres and a formal garden; The Laing House—a custom home built in 2007 with mountain and river views, surrounded by informal gardens; and Fox Ridge—a 280-acre equestrian farm that includes a 19th-century log cabin and boxwood gardens.

pexels-photo-27443At the University of Virginia, the Pavilion Gardens, Pavilion homes, and the president’s house, Carr’s Hill, will be part of the tour. On the only American university campus (or “grounds”) designated a World Heritage site, you can enjoy the historic serpentine walls and restored gardens. Carr’s Hill, built circa 1890, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Also on the tour is the Morea Garden on Sprigg Lane, which features a botanical collection.

pexels-photo-164260According to the Virginia Garden Week website, “Tour proceeds fund the restoration and preservation of more than 40 of Virginia’s historic public gardens and landscapes, a research fellowship program and a centennial project with Virginia State Parks.” These restoration projects include sites at the University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest in Lynchburg, James Madison’s Montpelier in Orange County, and Point of Honor—an antebellum plantation-turned-museum—in Lynchburg.

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It’s March, which means the annual Festival of the Book—now in its 23rd year—will soon be upon us here in Charlottesville. A great time to reflect on the literary culture of our little city. Even on non-festival days, our local bookstores become sites of great intellectual insights and imaginative explorations. Whether this occurs as a private exchange between a reader and an author via a printed book, between fellow readers, or during a reading and Q&A with an author in the flesh. The often modest bookshop storefront provides the doorway to an important cultural institution. And Charlottesville has several from which to choose.

On the Historic Downtown Mall

New Dominion Bookshop

404 E. Main Street | Charlottesville, VA 22902

New Dominion Bookshop

New Dominion Bookshop

New Dominion Bookshop’s claim to fame is that it is the “oldest independent bookseller in Virginia,” having been continuously in operation since 1924. The most recent owner, Carol Troxell, purchased the store in the mid-1980s and ran it until her sudden, unexpected death in January. (NPR did a lovely story on Carol and her bookshop, which you can listen to here.) The fate of the bookstore is as yet unknown, but let’s hope for the sake of the local literary community it will find a way to carry on without its late beloved owner. New Dominion Bookshop has a long history of hosting authors throughout the year, including during the annual Festival of the Book. It has also been known to employ authors as booksellers, such as novelist Emma Rathbone who authored The Patterns of Paper Monsters (Back Bay Books, 2010) and Losing It (Riverhead, 2016), and poet Kevin McFadden, author of the poetry collection Hardscrabble (University of Georgia Press, 2008). The shop is a deep and narrow gallery of tall shelves packed with new books, rarely any space between titles. Here you can find signed copies of the latest John Grisham novel, classic literature from the English canon, children’s books, and a well-stocked travel section. An island in the middle showcases new hardcovers and holds the one cash register, while a few floating book carts around the store showcase distinct categories, like local authors and Pulitzer Prize winners. A steep staircase toward the back of the store leads to the open second story where authors give readings and sign books. This floor also often serves as a rotating gallery of visual art by local artists.

Daedalus Bookshop

123 Fourth Street NE | Charlottesville, VA22902

Daedalus Bookshop

Daedalus Bookshop

Open since 1975, Daedalus Bookshop is the longest running used bookstore in Charlottesville. This unique shop just off the downtown mall is a three-story warren filled with, at last count, 120,000 used books meticulously organized and reasonably priced. Ask the owner, Sandy McAdams, about any title and he will likely know off the top of his head whether or not he has it, as well as descriptive details, such as the binding and whether or not it is signed by the author. This is the kind of bookstore you can browse in for hours, meandering through book-lined pathways and peeking into alcoves devoted to entire genres. As C-VILLE Weekly reported in 2015, McAdams moved from New York to Charlottesville in 1974 accompanied by “20,000 books in a railroad car” after purchasing the building at the corner of Market Street and Fourth Street NE.

Read It Again Sam 

214 E. Main Street | Charlottesville, VA 22902

A fixture on the mall since the mid-1980s, you’ll know it by the signature carts of used paperbacks outside. Inside, Read It Again Sam is a tidy shop with quality used books in great condition and clear designations by genre. If you’re interested in unloading some of your own home library, the owner, Dave Taylor, is almost always buying but you might want to call ahead and ask. You can either get cash for books or sign up for some store credit to feed your reading habit.

Read It Again Sam

Read It Again Sam

Blue Whale Books

115 W. Main Street | Charlottesville, VA 22902

Each of Charlottesville’s bookstores has its own distinct personality and defining characteristics. One of the things that makes Blue Whale Books distinct is the beautiful prints and antique maps they sell in addition to books. The other distinction is Gizmo: the Corgi who spends his time greeting customers with a friendly sniff and lounging in patches of sunlight. Blue Whale occasionally buys used books, but you will need to call ahead first to make sure they’re buying.

Blue Whale Books

Blue Whale Books

On the Corner

Heartwood Books

5 Elliewood Avenue | Charlottesville, VA 22903

If you’re looking for a charming bookshop in which to browse beautifully bound antique books and affordable paperbacks, Heartwood Books is the place to go—especially if you want to relive the college experience of seeking out used classics. Heartwood is located just off University Avenue on the Corner and the staff is knowledgeable and helpful.

UVA Bookstore

400 Emmet Street South | Charlottesville, VA 22904

Just across from Newcomb Hall and above the Emmet Street parking garage, the university bookstore is a spacious, modern store filled with rows of short shelves displaying the shiny spines of new books. You can find sections devoted to faculty and alumni authors, rows of notebooks and journals to write in, and, of course, lots of UVA memorabilia, too—including beautiful framed photographs of the Rotunda.

On Route 29

The Book Room

440 Twentyninth Place Court | Charlottesville, VA 22901

This shop, with its long rows of tall shelves, is tucked away in an unassuming strip mall called Charlottesville Shoppers World that contains big brand stores, such as Stein Mart, across from the Fashion Square Mall on Route 29. The Book Room sells used books at least 50% off the list price they would be sold at if new, and they have a sale every January. If you are interested in their inventory and also have some books to purge from your home library, they offer a trading service. But one of the best advantages here? Ample parking.

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In Crozet

Over the Moon Bookstore & Artisan Gallery

2025 Library Avenue | Crozet, VA 22932

In this cozy shop run by two sisters, Anne and Laura DeVault, you will often find Anne sitting behind the counter, knowledgeable and ready to discuss your favorite books or make a suggestion. If you enter the store with a head full of more titles than you could possible buy, she will even start a wish list for you so that when someone comes in to shop for you, she can pass along the titles of the books you most desire. At certain times of year, she also offers advance reader copies free with the purchase of a book. (These are copies that the publisher sends to reviewers and booksellers in advance of a book’s official release date.) And, as the name suggests, this store also functions as a gallery for local artisans, adding to the already lovely aesthetic of a well-kept shop stocked with books waiting to be opened.

In Scottsville

Baine’s Books & Coffee

485 Valley Street | Scottsville, VA 24590

At Baine’s you can have your book with a side of espresso and quiche, or a pastry made in-house. They describe their small selection of new and used books as carefully “curated,” and frequently host book signings with local authors. Their current winter hours run daily until 4 pm. Check their website for updated hours.

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Start Planning Your Dream Vineyard

Virginia Wine aptly describes on their website the great potential of land in central Virginia for farming wine grapes: “The eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge and the rolling countryside to the east offer excellent topography, fertile granite-based clay soil and a growing season of over 200 days.” Their site includes a compiled list of 72 vineyards and wineries in the central Virginia area alone. Yet there is still ample open land for sale in central Virginia ripe with possibilities for the next great vineyard. Compared with Napa Valley’s 500+ wineries in 748 square miles, central Virginia still has room to grow (Albemarle County alone is 726 square miles). Luckily for you, the discerning buyer or investor, the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) has just released a Vineyard Financial Calculator, an invaluable tool when considering such a land purchase and business venture. As the VCE writes, “This tool’s intended user is an individual or organization exploring the financial requirements of vineyard establishment and operation in Virginia.” This financial calculator was created by Tremain Hatch, Peter Callan, and Tony Wolf.

Vineyard 2

The Calculator tab contained within the Excel spreadsheet prompts the user to input information specific to their proposed operation, such as the number of acres that will support the vines, the width of the rows of vines, the crop produced per foot, the hours of labor per acre, and the cost of capital. The formulas already figured into the spreadsheet will then calculate your cash flow. The “Trellis” tab allows you to figure in the cost of installing a trellis, as well as a fence to protect your vines from hungry wildlife, such as the deer population. The “Equipment” tab includes a very informative table complete with the name, type, and price of equipment typically needed to operate a vineyard. Simply consider the kind of equipment you’ll need for the size and type of vineyard you want to have, then enter the relevant numbers in the prepared calculator. You will also need to consult the “hours of use” graph at the bottom of the page, which helps calculate the life of your equipment based on your desired acreage. The embedded formulas will then calculate both your capital expenditures for equipment and your annual fixed cost for equipment based on industry standards.

Finally, once you’ve entered all of the information specific to your dream vineyard, your diligent and attentive work pays off in the Budget, Net Present Value, and Sensitivity Analysis tabs. The Budget includes fields already linked to figures you have entered in other tabs and calculates your revenue and cash flow. The Net Present Value tab looks into the future and calculates when you would begin to see a profit. And the Sensitivity Analysis tab illustrates how your profit might vary based on fluctuations in crop yield and price.

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If you’ve long dreamed of owning a vineyard in central Virginia, now you have the means to begin seriously thinking about logistics. And when you’re ready to see land in which to plant those first few seeds of your dream, contact Gayle Harvey Real Estate and we’ll be happy to help.

To learn more about what is entailed in establishing a winery in central Virginia, read our blog post here. For information on business license requirements in central Virginia, click here.

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The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in central Virginia. The City of Charlottesville—ranked #4 on ValuePenguin’s Best Cities for Small Business and on Livability.com’s 50 Best Cities for Entrepreneurs—is home to both the annual Tom Tom Founders Festival, which celebrates and rewards innovation, and the Community Investment Collaborative, which supports small businesses.

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If you are a business owner and are perusing real estate in central Virginia, you may be interested to know the business license requirements and fees according to the different counties. Whether you already live in central Virginia and are interested in relocating or expanding your business in another county, or whether you are exploring business opportunities in central Virginia for the first time, we have pulled together some information to help you compare and contrast the requirements among the counties. (Please note that most central Virginia counties that require businesses to have a license set a March 1 deadline for application or renewal.)

Albemarle

Before acquiring a business license in Albemarle County, you will first need to register the business name with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, find out whether your type of business (partnership, LLC, etc.) is required to register with the Virginia State Corporation Commission, and acquire zoning clearance from the Community Development Department. Albemarle County requires that businesses renew their license every year by March 1. For businesses with gross receipts between $5,000 and $100,000, the license fee is $50. For businesses with gross receipts of $100,000 or more, business owners will need to calculate the fee based on figures detailed on the business license application.

Augusta

In order to obtain an Augusta County business license, you first need to apply for a zoning certificate and register the name of your company with the Community Development office. All businesses must renew their license each year by March 1.

Greene

In Greene County, you must apply for a business license from the Commissioner of Revenue. The license fee is based on both gross receipts and your type of business (retail, contracting, etc.), and you must renew your license every year by March 1.DeathtoStock_Creative Community7

Louisa

Louisa County does not require a business license for any business to operate within the county unless you are a contractor. In order to obtain a Contractor’s License in Louisa, the contractor must first be licensed in the state of Virginia. The fee for the Louisa County Contractor’s License is based on gross receipts of the previous year.

Nelson

Nelson County requires businesses to apply for and annually renew their business license with the Commissioner of the Revenue’s office by March 1.

The following central Virginia counties do not have a business license requirement:

Fluvanna

Orange

Madison

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Coffeehouses of Charlottesville

In our fast-paced, multicultural society, few things bring people together like the local coffee shop. This modest cultural institution has become a hallmark of thriving urban neighborhoods, and countless anecdotal evidence suggests that it helps cultivate a sense of community. The coffee shops in beautiful and innovative Charlottesville are no exception, and there is a vast array from which to choose, whether you prioritize taste, location, or sustainably sourced beans.

Shenandoah JoeCoffee PhotoByUnsplashpexels-photo-94610

When Shenandoah Joe first opened in 1993, it was not as a coffee house but rather a warehouse where customers could buy bags of beans roasted in small batches. In the summers they sold fresh coffee at the City Market, continuing to draw a following, and began serving shots of espresso in their warehouse. Finally, in 2007, they moved out of the warehouse and established the Preston Avenue Espresso Bar and Roastery, eventually opening the Ivy Coffee Bar and Corner Joe locations as well. Each location has a distinct atmosphere, while all serving up the same high-quality coffee. Preston Avenue is relaxed and comfortable with a couch, armchairs, communal table, and bar. The music is usually louder at Ivy Road where there are booths and indoor and outdoor tables. It’s noticeably quieter at Corner Joe where students sit behind laptops, earbuds in their ears, their eyes downcast in fixed concentration.

Mudhouse

Local roaster and coffee shop Mudhouse was just named 2017 Micro Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine! Founded by power duo Lynelle and John Lawrence, Mudhouse began as a coffee cart on the downtown mall and has been a Charlottesville staple for the last 20 years. It now boasts two brick and mortar locations: one on the Charlottesville pedestrian mall across from the Violet Crown movie theater, and the other in downtown Crozet. You can also find Mudhouse coffee bars at Bellair and Mill Creek Markets, convenient when refueling your car or grabbing a sandwich to go. Wherever you find Mudhouse coffee, their mission is the same: to provide high caliber coffee that is responsibly and sustainably sourced from small farms all over the world. The downtown Charlottesville location has limited indoor seating but is a lovely place to sit outside during the warmer months, while the Crozet location is more spacious. And if you’re looking for an extra dose of energy other than the caffeine in your coffee, try one of their healthy and delicious power balls made on site with honey and peanut butter and other yummy goodness.

Java Java

The inviting and cheerful yellow storefront of Java Java is hard to miss near the east end of Charlottesville’s downtown mall. A display case of croissants, bagels, and delicious baklava greets you at the counter as you enter. It is often a quiet place to take a beat and reflect while instrumental music plays softly through the speakers, and passersby bustle past the large front window. An alcove with armchairs invites seclusion while a loveseat and many tables both inside and outside invite companionship and conversation. Java Java’s Chai latte is one of the most flavorful and economic choices Charlottesville has to offer, and service is usually courteous and fast.

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C’ville Coffee

C’ville Coffee has many advantages over other local coffee shops. Located in McIntire Plaza, it is very close to downtown and yet has a parking lot as well as on-street parking. The interior is spacious with large, round tables that aren’t too close together if you’re looking for a place to have a private conversation without being at your neighbor’s elbow. It has a play space for children as well as a “kid-free zone” where adults work at their laptops and groups sometimes meet for discussion. A substantial breakfast and lunch menu offers eggs, wraps, sandwiches, and generous salads. Hours extend to 8 pm on weeknights and weekly evening performances offer music or improvisational comedy for entertainment.

Milli Coffee Roasters

Having opened its doors in 2012, Milli Coffee Roasters is one of the relative newcomers on the Charlottesville coffee scene. Owner and manager Nick Leichentritt studied the art of making coffee at the American Barista Coffee School in Portland, Oregon. He returned to Charlottesville with the goal of elevating the role of barista to craftsman, and founded Milli with a preference for personal touch and attention over automation. To this end, Milli roasts their own beans in small batches in-house. They also offer substantial menu items such as waffles and paninis. Open until 9 pm most nights, Milli may be your best bet for evening coffee in Charlottesville. They host occasional readings, art shows, and comedy shows, and have ample indoor and outdoor seating, not to mention parking.

Coffee ChevanonPhotographypexels-photo-302899

Calvino Italian Bar and Eatery

In the part of Charlottesville known as Midtown (West Main Street), tucked into a corner of the Main Street Market sits Calvino. Named after the renowned Italian writer Italo Calvino, this eatery is modeled after Italian style cafes and was established by Ken Wooten and Charles Roumeliotes, the same chefs that own and operate Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar. Calvino serves Shenandoah Joe coffee, as well as smoothies and Italian sandwiches. Whatever menu item you select, you can trust that if it was conceived by the masterminds behind Orzo, it will be beautifully presented and taste delicious.

Greenberry’s

Like Mudhouse, Greenberry’s is also the brainchild of a couple: Sean and Roxanne Simmons. You wouldn’t know it from the looks of their modest and cozy shop at Barracks Road Shopping Center, but since first opening this flagship store in 1992, Greenberry’s has expanded with multiple franchises throughout Virginia, as well as in Maryland, Louisiana, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. While the Barracks Road location has somewhat limited seating, it is a pleasant shop that has the advantage of the extensive shopping center parking. The savory menu includes wraps and breakfast sandwiches, and the display case of baked goods includes gluten-free options. This location often serves as a gathering place for local business people, students and professors, as well as local running groups post-workout.

Grit Coffee

Local franchise Grit Coffee currently has four locations: downtown in York Place, Elliewood Avenue on the Corner, in the Shops at Stonefield, and in Crozet. Founded on the mission of “thoughtful hospitality,” Grit Coffee has not only coffee and espresso, but also breakfast, lunch, wine, and beer. The full downtown menu includes eggs, “Grit Bowls,” waffles, sandwiches and salads. While smaller, the Crozet menu also offers select breakfast sandwiches, quiche, and lunch items. The Corner location is a great spot to grab a coffee and cookie while exploring University grounds and the shops nearby, and has a lovely row of outdoor tables for basking in sunshine.

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Atlas Coffee

If a hole in the wall is more to your taste, Atlas Coffee is the place for you. Located in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood at the intersection of Fontaine and Jefferson Park Avenue, Atlas Coffee occupies a small storefront beside Guadalajara’s. While inside there is a small bar for sitting and sipping your coffee, outside there are patio tables with bright umbrellas. Atlas Coffee sells coffee roasted by Shenandoah Joe, pastries baked by Albemarle Baking Company and Carpe Donut, as well as tacos to-go made by Brazos Tacos.

MarieBette Café & Bakery

MarieBette offers everything you could wish for in a café, while also crafting the most delectable breads and pastries in-house that you can imagine. Another Charlottesville power couple is the creative impetus and rock foundation of this institution: Jason Becton and Patrick Evans, who met at the International Culinary Center. (The name MarieBette comes from the combination of their two daughters’ names.) They serve coffee roasted by La Colombe, one of the biggest independent coffee roasters in the United States. And while their coffee may not be roasted locally, their café and dining menu draw heavily from the seasons and farms in Central Virginia with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. In their dining room, you can enjoy breakfast dishes such as croquet monsieur and baked eggs served in a cast-iron skillet, as well as lunch items. In the bakery, be sure to try the combined chocolate-almond croissant to get the best of both worlds, as well as the canelé for a flavorful treat.

Paradox Pastry

The paradox implicit in this café/bakery’s name is the fact that owner Jenny Peterson is a personal trainer in addition to being a baker. After studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, she moved to Charlottesville and worked to help others achieve their fitness goals at ACAC while continuing to bake in her home. She opened Paradox Pastry in 2012 in the beautiful Glass Building downtown, where it has remained the site of her culinary guilty pleasures. The prominent display case frequently features fruit tarts, quiche, butter croissants, and huge cookies—often with a gluten-free option. Don’t let the narrow storefront fool you. There is a second floor with more seating tucked away, and on temperate days the front windows are flung open, making for a very pleasant dining experience.

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When the Weather Outside is Frightful

Though Virginia winters can be relatively mild, temperatures are usually too chilly to enjoy the kinds of activities we delight in during the warmer seasons, like sitting under umbrellas while people-watching on Charlottesville’s pedestrian mall. But the area still offers many engaging things to do indoors during the winter. Here is a sampling of ideas for things to do in February 2017.

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library

Did you know that the literary titan William Faulkner lived in Charlottesville for five years, and that the UVA Library is in possession of “the largest collection of Faulkner manuscripts in the world”? From 1956 to 1958, Faulkner held the University position of Balch Writer-in-Residence. On February 6, 2017 the Special Collections Library will unveil their latest exhibition, “Faulkner: Life and Works.” The exhibition will include not only samples from the manuscript collection, but also personal letters and audio recordings. Perhaps surprising to those who only know him through his contributions to literature, he also dabbled in painting and sketching. The exhibition will be open until July 2017.

The Paramount

Photo by Stevan Michaels.

Photo by Stevan Michaels.

A Charlottesville institution since 1931, The Paramount holds a prominent place on the downtown pedestrian mall. Learn more about the history of the theater by signing up for the backstage tour where you’ll see, among other things, autographs of visiting performers on the Wall of Fame. Tickets are free but the staff recommends that you reserve your spot in advance. Also of interest is the Piedmont Landscape Association Seminar on February 16, 2017 which “strives to bring gardening enthusiasts and landscape professionals together in an annual setting.” What better way to anticipate spring than to spend the day discussing horticulture?

Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of UVA

The newly opened exhibition “Body Ornaments” by Janet Fieldhouse, an Indigenous Australian ceramic artist, is now on display at the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection. Her work is a contemporary interpretation of the cultural traditions of her ancestors on the Torres Strait Islands, and includes porcelain arm bands and fine porcelain light boxes. The exhibition will be on display until May, and the artist will be in residence in Charlottesville from March 10 to April 9, 2017, during which time she will discuss her work with the public.

The Bridge PAI (Progressive Arts Initiative)

From February 3-24, The Bridge will be home to the installation “Empowering Women of Color.” It is a collaboration among artists based in Charlottesville who are also women of color. During the opening reception on February 3, 2017, spoken word artists will exhibit their work as well. And on February 16, the exhibition will host a fundraising event with musical artist Dhara to benefit SARA (the Sexual Assault Resource Agency). The suggested donation is $10.

Fralin Museum of Art

Photo by Stevan Michaels.

Photo by Stevan Michaels.

From now until April 2017, you can view a new documentary film by UVA Professor of Art Kevin Everson at the Fralin Museum of Art. The subject? The moon, and the cyclical nature of life. Everson shot the film, titled Rough and Unequal, from the McCormick Observatory of UVA. The next exhibition of visual art will open on March 3, 2017 and consists of artwork from the museum’s permanent collection.

McGuffey Art Center

The McGuffey Art Center has three exhibitions that will run simultaneously from January 31 to February 26, 2017. In partnership with McGuffey, the Alzheimer’s Association of Central and Western Virginia presents “Art 4 Alz,” which consists entirely of artwork made by “persons with memory impairment and their care partners.” Julia Merkel’s book arts and sculptural mixed-media explore grief in an exhibition titled “Absence/Presence.” And finally, “Flotsam” is a group show exhibiting the work of 11 different artists responding to concerns about ocean pollution.

Monticello

On February 11, 2017, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is offering a workshop titled “Memories Matter: Saving Family Heirlooms.” It is co-sponsored by the Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center and will take place there. The organizers instruct, “Bring your family heirlooms and learn how to properly store and care for them, including preserving family bibles, letters, quilts, trophies, diplomas, photographs, and more. Record your family history at the story booth in the Heritage Center.”

James Monroe’s Highland

Also on February 11, 2017, you can learn how to spin wool by hand at James Monroe’s Highland using a traditional drop spindle and wool sourced right from the Dorset sheep that live there. The class costs $10 per person.

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Ntelos

In an article published in The Virginia Newsletter, Luke Juday, the Director of Planning for the City of Waynesboro, reports that Virginia’s population growth has slowed following three decades of consistent growth. And the growth it does have is largely apparent in its metropolitan areas.

“For decades, Virginia has attracted a stream of new residents, both from other countries and from the Midwest and Northeast,” Juday writes. “Northern Virginia, considered part of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, has attracted the largest regional share of newcomers.”

There are “two components of population change,” he reports. “Natural increase and net migration… While they may seem like two simple and discrete ways by which population changes, natural increase and net migration interact, often compounding or counteracting one another.”

Juday’s study attributes migration to three main causes that correspond to three different stages of life: 1) young adults seeking independence, with higher education cited as a chief reason for relocation, 2) middle-aged adults settling down with their children, and 3) older adults retiring.

He writes, “Those rural counties experiencing the heaviest influx of older in-migrants are concentrated along the Chesapeake Bay and in the Blue Ridge Mountains, two regions offering peaceful settings, a lower cost of living and relative proximity to at least one major metropolitan area.”

The Charlottesville area is one of the locales in Virginia with a booming population, which Juday defines as “experiencing population growth from both in-migration and robust natural increase.” One reason for this is because Charlottesville offers a central metropolis that attracts educated young adults. Juday also specifically cites Albemarle County as having a booming population. Though, instead of being limited to young adults, it is “experiencing significant new development driven by a strong in-migration from all age groups.” Meanwhile, he mentions Orange as an example of an “attracting” locality, defined as still attracting migration (of mostly older adults) but the influx of migrants is offset by natural decrease in the population. He also cites Culpeper County specifically for attracting migrants willing to commute to Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Juday closes his article with this thought: “Localized economic and demographic trends are rarely static. Local governments cannot depend on inherited wisdom about their locales’ strengths and weaknesses, but must reassess often and think creatively to serve their residents in the face of larger economic trends.”

To read the complete report, click here.

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Not Your Average Gym

The start of a new year brings thoughts of committing, finally, to a fitness routine. This year will be the year you structure your day and manage your time so that health is a priority, you tell yourself. And if you’ve tried a standard box gym membership and found yourself either intimidated or bored by the options, you might wonder what the alternatives are. Charlottesville has a number of box gyms, furnished with the standard equipment, that also mix it up by offering classes, from spinning, body pump, and yoga, to barre. But it also has a plethora of alternative fitness studios that cater to specific interests or goals in a more intimate environment. Here are a few of those alternative spaces unique to Charlottesville. (There are plenty of studios devoted purely to yoga, Pilates, and Barre as well, but that’s a post for another day.)

Edge Studio

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2075 Bond Street, Suite 150

Charlottesville, VA

In addition to yoga classes, this specialty fitness studio offers cycling and intense performance training with equipment such as kettlebells, ropes, and medicine balls to test strength and endurance. Their philosophy is that athletic training betters your performance in all areas of your life.

Zoom Indoor Cycling

1929 Arlington Blvd.

Charlottesville, VA 22903

This strictly cycling studio boasts a “concert-quality sound system” that delivers music with a beat to keep you motivated. Class offerings range from interval training that also incorporates weights to work the arms, a combination of cycling and outdoor running with Tread Happy (see below), and classes organized according to musical genre so you can choose your listening preference.

Pūrvelo Cycle Boutique

1000 West Main Street

Charlottesville, VA 22903

The owner founded this rhythmic cycling boutique after a necessary knee surgery prevented her from running and she had to incorporate low impact exercise as part of her physical therapy. You can choose from eight different instructors and class start times range from 5:45 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., depending on the day of the week.

Tread Happy

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103 8th Street NW

Charlottesville, VA 22903

This “run studio” founded in 2015 stakes a claim to fame as the only one in the mid-Atlantic. As the website details, “6 different classes—tread Happy, Hustle, Temp, Distance, Flow, and Recovery—were developed based on the formula runners follow in a given training week.” However, the studio emphasizes that you don’t have to be an active runner in order to participate in, and benefit from, classes there.

DanceFit Studio

609 East Market Street, Studio 107

Charlottesville, VA 22902

DanceFit Studio owner and instructor Edna-Jakki Miller has been teaching mind-body fitness for over 45 years. She developed her dance-fitness program in 1973, which centers on mindful movement. Current class offerings include Yoga Being, Yoga Light, Chair Energy Yoga, Cardio Flex, Hip Hop, Be Fit, DanceFit for Seniors, Kids Ballet, and Kids Hip-Hop-Jazz.

Bar-G Fitness

3042-B Berkmar Drive

Charlottesville, VA 22901

This fitness studio was founded on attentive personal training. Owner Andrew Barga has been a certified personal trainer for 15 years who has also faced his own struggles with weight gain, injuries, and chronic pain. Offerings include one-on-one sessions, small group sessions, exercise classes, workshops, and nutritional guidance.

Clay Fitness

233 Douglas Avenue

Charlottesville, VA 22902

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Clay Fitness emphasizes the importance of community to help motivate and sustain a committed fitness routine. To that end, they offer small class sizes in an intimate space where students can get to know each other and encourage each other. The name of the studio comes from the idea that our bodies are “malleable and responsive like clay.” In addition to classes, they offer personal training, retreats, one-on-one nutrition coaching, and a jumpstart program. Current class offerings include athletic training, small group training, high intensity interval training, and cardio boxing.

Success Studio

2125 Ivy Road, Suite G1

Charlottesville, VA 22903

Owner and personal trainer Bill Burnett opened Success Studio 12 years ago with the goal of creating “a safe, non-threatening, and supportive environment that teaches clients a lifestyle change.” His staff includes three other personal trainers, a life coach, and a nutrition coach. Classes are structured as large group personal training sessions, while still maintaining smaller class sizes than what you’d find in a large box gym. Current class offerings are: Metabolic Express, Total Body Strength, Cardio Zone Training, ChiZel (high intensity interval training), and Stacked (in which “targeted movements [are] stacked together”).

CrossFit Charlottesville

1309 Belleview Avenue

Charlottesville, VA 22901

At CrossFit, certified instructors lead small group training sessions in functional fitness, which mirrors daily necessary movements like “lifting things off the ground, sitting and standing, pulling and pushing.” The workouts are high intensity and usually last a maximum of 20 minutes, though there are specific classes that last longer.

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MADabolic Cville

943 2nd Street SE

Charlottesville, VA 22902

Technically MADabolic isn’t unique to Charlottesville, but the Charlottesville location is only one of eight in the United States. The “MAD” in MADabolic stands for Momentum, Anaerobic, and Durability. The foundations of their program include high intensity interval training, strength training, and slow, focused movements.

 

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Charlottesville’s 2016 Rankings

It seems every year Charlottesville is awarded recognition of some kind for an aspect of the city that makes it a wonderful place to live. Whether it is the proximity of the Blue Ridge Mountains or the University of Virginia, or the iconic pedestrian mall (one of the only estimated 75 remaining in the U.S.), there are endless remarkable and noteworthy characteristics that define the area and earn the notice of others. Here is a list of all of Charlottesville’s 2016 honors (and one so far for 2017, too!).

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A Sense of Place

The New York Post ranked Charlottesville #3 out of the 15 Best Places to Live in the U.S.

Livability named Charlottesville #21 of the Top 100 Best Places to Live.

Travel+Leisure’s annual America’s Favorite Places survey ranked Charlottesville #23 out of 30 of America’s Favorite Towns. According to their website, “The open-response survey asked respondents to submit their favorite place and rate it in over 65 categories, including affordability, notable restaurants, and public parks.” Charlottesville’s high scores gave a nod to the number and quality of area bookstores and wineries.

Trip.com listed Charlottesville as one of the 10 Hippest Mid-Sized Cities in America.

 

Food

The American Farmland Trust ranked Charlottesville’s City Market as the #3 farmers market in America in the nationwide People’s Choice category.

Travelocity named Charlottesville one of America’s Best Small Cities for Foodies, specifically highlighting The Clifton Inn, The Local, and The Boar’s Head.

OpenTable named local restaurant Fleurie as one of the 100 Best Restaurants in America.

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Health

HealthLine ranked Charlottesville as one of the top 10 Healthiest Small Towns in the U.S.

 

Education

College Rank slotted Charlottesville in as #7 out of 50 of The Best College Towns in America.

 

Business

Livability.com ranked Charlottesville #4 out of 50 Best Cities for Entrepreneurs due to the success of the University of Virginia’s Innovation Laboratory, or “i.Lab,” as it’s known.

 

Books

About Great Books included Charlottesville on “The Ultimate 50-State Road Trip for Book Lovers” due to the annual Festival of the Book, multiple bookstores, and the historical presence of Edgar Allen Poe and William Faulkner, not to mention the library at Monticello.

 

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Pets

Paw Culture ranked Charlottesville #7 on its list of “11 Pet-Friendly Holiday Towns and Cities,” citing the popularity of the downtown pedestrian mall.

 

Tourism

And one to grow on…

In January 2017, Expedia named Charlottesville one of the top 17 Places to Visit in 2017 for its mountain views, historic sites, local coffee, shops, and many vineyards.

 

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