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Pumpkin Pickin’ Fun!

In an agriculturally rich area like Central Virginia, there are lots of places to pick your own pumpkins in the fall. And with Halloween nearly two weeks away, now is the time to go! Here is our list of local farms that open their gates to those in search of the perfect pumpkin.

 

Photo by Stevan Michaels.

Photo by Stevan Michaels.

Carter Mountain Orchard

1435 Carters Mountain Trail | Charlottesville, VA

Pre-picked pumpkins for sale

3rd Annual Halloween “Spooktacular” | October 28, 2017 | Pumpkin carving contest

 

Silver Creek & Seamans’ Orchards

5529 Crabtree Falls Hwy | Tyro, VA | Nelson County

Pumpkin Patch

October 1-31, 2017

 

Chiles Peach Orchard

1351 Greenwood Road | Crozet, VA 22932 | Nelson County

Pumpkin Patch

October – November

 

Dickie Bros. Orchard

Photo by Stevan Michaels.

Photo by Stevan Michaels.

2685 Dickie Road | Roseland, VA | Nelson County

434-277-5516

Pumpkin Patch

 

Layz S Ranch

2253 Thomas Jefferson Parkway | Palmyra, VA | Fluvanna County

434-591-0898

Pumpkin Patch, corn maze, hay rides, and pony rides

Saturdays, September 30 – October 28

 

Sarah’s Pumpkin Patch

146 Caves Ford Lane | Orange, VA | Madison County

540-308-8267

Pumpkin patch, hayrides, hay maze, corn hole, ladder golf

Saturdays & Sundays in October

 

Morris Orchard

226 Tobacco Row Lane | Monroe, VA | Amherst County

434-929-2401

Pumpkin Patch

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The 2017 Parade of Homes

Each year the Blue Ridge Home Builders Association showcases the latest trends in residential architecture and design in the local Parade of Homes. This year’s selections ranged from Hollymead townhomes in the upper $200s, detached homes near downtown Charlottesville in the low $400s, and homes on one-acre sites near the university in the mid $600s. Our broker had the opportunity to tour some of the model homes and has shared her insights with us.

1612 Rialto Street, Charlottesville | Village at Moores Creek Rialto 01MLS #: 556501

Builder: Cville Real Estate & Construction, LLC. Detached 3 BR, 3.5 baths. $485,000

Highlights:

  • Solid wood doors and hardwood floors
  • Contemporary style, such as wire rails, transom lights, skylight
  • Large pantry in kitchen
  • Home office
  • Close proximity to downtown Charlottesville
  • The builder is willing to customize to reflect their clients’ unique style

 

Rialto

 

735 Highgate Row, Crozet | Old TrailHighgate 01 MLS #: 556737

Builder: Arcadia Builders. Detached 4 BR, 3.5 baths, 2-car garage. $585,000 (before upgrades)

Highlights:

  • Craftsman style
  • Mountain view
  • Screen porch off of the living room
  • Upstairs has loft area plus 3 BR
  • Walk-in closet with built-in shelves
  • Master bath has double vanities and two showerheads
  • Home office

 

Highgate

5712 Upland Drive, Crozet | Old Trail Village MLS#: 566213Upland 01

Builder: Southern Development Homes. Attached 5 BR, 3.5 baths, 2-car garage. $699,900

Highlights:

  • EcoSmart Pippin floorplan
  • Mountain view
  • Fantastic kitchen with quality upgrade cabinets
  • Open floor plan with 1st floor master bedroom
  • Screen porch off of driveway
  • Study with French doors
  • Finished basement with bedroom, bathroom, and recreational room
  • Universal Design can receive up to $5,000 tax credit
  • Includes multigenerational living
  • Stairless entry from garage and front door
  • Recessed shower
  • Raised outlets

Upland

222 Pfister Avenue, Charlottesville | Oak Hill Farm MLS#: 564774Pfister 01

Builder: Stanley Martin Homes. Detached 5 BR, 4.5 baths. $774,990

Highlights:

  • Open floor plan
  • Soapstone kitchen countertops
  • Screen porch
  • Home office with French doors
  • Oversized master suite with sitting area
  • Master bath with double vanities

Pfister

 

1411 Kendra Circle, Charlottesville | Whittington MLS #: 557294Kendra 02

Builder: Christopher Companies. Detached 5 BR, 4.5 baths, 2-car garage. $947,000

Highlights:

  • Green features
  • Luxury kitchen
  • Beautiful stone fireplace in living room
  • Built-in bar with wine cooler and bottle storage
  • Two master suites, one on first floor, one on second
  • Huge master baths each have shower with two showerheads
  • Additional laundry site on second floor
  • Unfinished basement provides potential for additional square footage
  • Passive radon system installed in all new construction homes

Kendra

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Celebrate the Harvest!

‘Tis the season of fresh, crisp, fall apples, of pressed cider, and apple butter. Just before everything from lattes to beer are flavored with pumpkin spice, there is the season of the apple. The Central Virginia area is a great place to pick your own apples at family-friendly orchards, to make a day of it with a hayride and taking a turn to churn the apple butter. We’ve sought out the local apple harvest festivals and pick-your-own orchards so you don’t have to. Here’s our list!

Apple Orchard 1

CENTRAL VIRGINIA APPLE FESTIVALS

 

Drumheller’s Orchard Festival | September 30; October 1; 21-22, 2017

Drumheller’s Orchard | 1130 Drumheller Orchard Lane | Lovingston, VA | Nelson County

434-263-5036

A fifth generation family farm celebrates the harvest with fresh apple butter, apple cider, and various food vendors. Inedible delights include live music, hayrides, corn maze, pumpkin patch, apple slingshot, and kid zone.

 

Apple Butter Makin’ Festival | October 7 & 21, 2017

Silver Creek & Seamans’ Orchards | 5529 Crabtree Falls Hwy | Tyro, VA | Nelson County

434-277-5824

Help make apple butter by taking a turn to stir the pot! Then explore the corn maze or pick a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch.

Apple Trees

Graves Mountain Apple Harvest Festival | October 7-8; 14-15; 21-22, 2017

Graves Mountain Lodge | Route 670 | Syria, VA | Madison County

540-923-4231

This celebration will feature apple butter-making, over 70 arts & craft vendors, hayrides, a maze, bluegrass music, and cloggers.

 

Amherst Apple Harvest Festival | October 21-22, 2017

Amherst County High School | 139 Lancer Lane | Amherst, VA | Amherst County

Gather together with your neighbors and enjoy fresh apples, cider, crafts, food vendors, musicians, and dancers.

 

Pink Lady Fun Day | October 28, 2017

Silver Creek & Seamans’ Orchards | 5529 Crabtree Falls Hwy | Tyro, VA | Nelson County

434-277-5824

Festivities include an apple tasting, cider pressing, cider tasting, scavenger hunt, and live music.

 

Apple Orchard 3

 

PICK YOUR OWN or BUY FRESHLY PICKED APPLES

Carter Mountain Orchard

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1435 Carters Mountain Trail | Charlottesville, VA

434-977-1833

Open Daily during the season

 

Chiles Peach Orchard

1351 Greenwood Road | Crozet, VA | Nelson County

434-823-1583

Open Daily during the season

 

Saunders Brothers Farm Market

2717 Tye Brook Hwy | Piney River, VA | Nelson County

434-277-5455 ext. 37

Closed Sundays

 

Dickie Bros. Orchard

2685 Dickie Road | Roseland, VA | Nelson County

434-277-5516

Open Daily during season

 

Morris Orchard

226 Tobacco Row Lane | Monroe, VA | Amherst County

434-929-2401

Open Daily during season

Fresh pressed apple cider every week

Apple Orchard 2

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Up, Up and Away!

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Given the relatively modest size of the Charlottesville area—the combined City and Albemarle County populations totaled just over 150,000 in 2015—it might be surprising to learn that the area has supported a commercial airport since 1954. Known locally as CHO, the current iteration spans 710 acres, has a 60,000 square-foot terminal, and a runway measuring 6,801 feet in length. CHO reports that so far in 2017 they have welcomed over 630,000 passengers. CHO offers direct flights to Washington D.C. (Dulles), New York City (LaGuardia), Chicago (O’Hare), Philadelphia, Charlotte, and Atlanta, which makes getting a connecting flight to an international destination quite simple. The airlines available to choose from at CHO are: American Airlines, Delta, and United.

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Just 10 miles from downtown Charlottesville, CHO is a straight shot up 29 North. Or, if you prefer the more scenic route, take Earlysville road and enjoy the mountain views as you watch the planes come and go.

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While you await your departure or the arrival of a loved one, have a taste of the food and drink on offer. Sample the American fare at Turbo Grill or the local craft beer at the Radar Bar. Jet-lagged after a return flight home? Get your dose of caffeine at Copilot Coffee and you’ll be ready to go.

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There are lots of ways to celebrate Independence Day on Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Here are a few.

9:00 a.m.

For you early risers who want to beat the heat, there’s the 55th annual Naturalization Ceremony at Monticello. This year’s speaker is David N. Saperstein.

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11:00 a.m.

James Monroe’s Highland will have family-friendly activities as well as a classical music ensemble performing from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

12:00 p.m.

Keswick Vineyards is celebrating with Reds, Whites, and Bluegrass—you guessed it, a selection of red and white wines paired with live local music, plus three food vendor offerings.

4:30 p.m.

Carter Mountain Orchard will have a bicycle parade, hayrides, sack races, and water balloon toss. You can even stay late and view the town fireworks from atop the mountain.

5:00 p.m.

Patriotism in the Park, an annual Charlottesville celebration, includes a pie-eating contest and fireworks display at McIntire Park.

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Charlottesville and the surrounding counties are such a beautiful spot in the world to put down roots that our clients come from both near and far to see what central Virginia has to offer. Several of those traveling from afar are often accompanied by their favorite canine and have asked us to recommend pet-friendly accommodations. For your easy reference, we’ve compiled a list of charming local inns, B&Bs, and quality hotels that welcome you and your pets. So if you’re interested in Charlottesville real estate and decide to visit, we’ve got you and your canine companion covered. And, as a dog-friendly office, we’ve included photos here of the pups who so bravely let their owners leave the house every day to work at Gayle Harvey Real Estate in order to bring home the bacon (literally). Enjoy!

Beamer & Bentli

Beamer & Bentli

Inns, Resorts, and B&Bs

Boar’s Head Resort

200 Ednam Drive | Charlottesville, VA | 855-452-2295

With 175 rooms, the Boar’s Head Resort has ample space for your canine companion, though there is a size restriction at 50 pounds. Dogs are only allowed alone in the room if crated.

Ellie Mae & Percy Miles

Ellie Mae & Percy Miles

Clifton Inn

1296 Clifton Inn Drive | Charlottesville, VA | 434-971-1800

This 17-room inn just beyond Pantops is a nice little getaway outside the bustle of Charlottesville for you and your pet to relax. The pet fee is $75 per stay for pets.

The Ebenezer House Bed & Breakfast

122 Seville Road | Madison, VA | 877-514-2510

This 5 room, family friendly B&B allows dogs and will arrange for a pet-sitting service (for a fee) while you are out taking in the sights.

Dixie

Dixie

The Inn at Sugar Hollow Farm

6051 Sugar Hollow Rd | Crozet, VA | 434-260-7234

This 10 room inn consists of two structures, The 1905 Farmhouse, which allows dogs, and The Main Inn, which does not. The pet fee is $20 per dog, per night, and dogs cannot be left unattended in your room. The inn sits on 70 acres that you and your dog can enjoy together.

Keswick Hall

701 Club Drive | Keswick, VA | 888-778-2565

Historic Keswick Hall happily admits the pets of its guests. The pet fee is $75 per pet, per stay, and pets are not allowed to be left alone in the room. Guest services can assist in scheduling pet sitting as needed.

The Mark Addy Inn

56 Rodes Farm Drive | Nellysford, VA | 434-361-1101

Out of 10 rooms, The Mark Addy Inn offers three pet-friendly rooms: Tiger Lily, Schloss, and Sundance. The pet fee is $25-50 per pet, per stay, depending on the weight of the pet.

Quince

Quince

Oakhurst Inn

100 Oakhurst Circle | Charlottesville, VA | 434-872-0100

Oakhurst Inn consists of 27 rooms, some of which are pet-friendly, right near the University. They ask that you call to arrange accommodations suitable for you and your pet.

 

Hotels

Omni Charlottesville

212 Ridge McIntire Road | Charlottesville, VA | 434-971-5500

The Omni Charlottesville Hotel located off the downtown mall allows pets weighing under 25 pounds. The pet fee is $100 per room.

Hyatt Place Charlottesville

2100 Bond Street | Charlottesville, VA | 434-995-5200

Conveniently located near the Shops at Stonefield, Hyatt Place has 137 guest rooms and allows up to 2 canine guests per room. Each dog must weigh no more than 50 pounds, and a combined weight no more than 75 pounds. The pet fee varies by the length of the stay.

Remy

Remy

Homewood Suites by Hilton Charlottesville

2036 India Road | Charlottesville, VA | 434-244-6200

Just off Route 29 North, Homewood Suites allows pets up to 75 pounds for a pet fee of $75.

Graduate Charlottesville

1309 W. Main Street | Charlottesville, VA | 434-295-4333

Located on “The Corner” near the University of Virginia, the Graduate hotel is near many restaurants and shops and is pet-friendly. The pet fee is $25 per night.

Doubletree by Hilton Charlottesville

990 Hilton Heights Road | Charlottesville, VA | 434-973-2121

The Doubletree by Hilton allows pets up to 75 pounds for a charge of $50.

Jake

Jake

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Life in Madison County

Madison County was founded in 1792 and named for the Madison family to which President James Madison (1751-1836) belonged. While President Madison’s home, Montpelier, is located in nearby Orange, his family owned land along the Rapidan River in the county named for them. Yet this is not the only presidential tie to the area. President Herbert Hoover at one time owned a home in Madison known as Rapidan Camp. The town of Madison still celebrates Hoover Day annually in August to mark his formal visit to the town in 1929. With such history, it is no surprise that some of the homes on the market in Madison date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. And despite its proximity to the ever-growing metropolis of Charlottesville, homes in Madison are often pleasantly situated on at least a few acres, allowing breathing room between neighbors. In addition, due to the topography of the area, many homes have mountain views. According to the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors (CAAR), in May 2017 the median estimated home value in Madison County was $186,800 while the median list price was $262,500, making it one of the more affordable counties surrounding Charlottesville. And with the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park nearby, Madison County—just an hour and a half south of D.C.—is full of beauty and recreational opportunities.

Things To Do

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is made up of a 300-square-mile section of the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains. The park contains over 500 miles of hiking trails, including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Stony Man and Hawksbill, the two highest elevation points, surpass 4,000 feet. The park is also the location of President Hoover’s Rapidan Camp where you can reserve a tour. 11 PastoralAndMtnViews

Rapidan Wildlife Management Area

Adjacent to Shenandoah National Park and sharing a 25-mile boundary line is Rapidan Wildlife Management Area. It consists of 10,326 acres and the crossways of three rivers: Rapidan, Conway, and South River. Abundant fishing is available, including brook trout in the Rapidan and brown trout in the Conway. Please check for area regulations before fishing.

Roaring Twenties Antique Car Museum 1445 Wolftown Hood Road | Hood, VA 22723

This unique museum, open by appointment, has rows and rows of antique cars and memorabilia from the Jazz Age.

Early Mountain Vineyards 6109 Wolftown-Hood Road | Madison, VA 22722 Early Mtn Vineyard 2
Voted the #1 tasting room in the U.S. by USA Today readers in 2016, at Early Mountain Vineyards you can taste wine made from grapes grown in Virginia soil paired with cheese and charcuterie plates. There is also a full service restaurant and an overnight guest cottage at the vineyards.

DuCard Vineyards 40 Gibson Hollow Lane | Etlan, VA 22719

Unlike other local wines, DuCard wines are not available in stores and can only be purchased at the vineyard’s tasting room. It is a purposefully small operation, with small batch wine production, to maintain quality. The vineyard is also known for its sustainability initiatives, such as its solar-powered tasting room and support of the local food movement.

 Bald Top Brewing Co. 

This family-run brewery is located at the historic Woodbourne Estate (established circa 1810). Owners Dave Fulton and Julie Haines, along with two of their grown children and their families, run the brewery, which includes “Central Virginia’s largest private hops yard,” according to their website. Want to try locally brewed beer while also enjoying a beautiful, historic setting? This is the place to go.

Madison Arts Exchange

With over 200 local artists, the Madison Arts Exchange provides a central place to appreciate and support all of the visual arts talent that resides in Madison.

 

Dining

The Bavarian Chef

The Bavarian Chef has served German-inspired cuisine in Madison County since 1974. On their menu you’ll find pork and veal schnitzel along with filet mignon and Virginia trout. Reservations are recommended.

 

Our Madison listings

Madison County Retreat

Torthorwald Farm in the Hebron Valley

Graves Mill Farm

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Life in Keswick

Six miles east of Charlottesville you’ll find the unincorporated community of Keswick, an equestrian dream of green fields and rolling pastures. (Click here to learn more about the origins of the unique name). According to the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors’ (CAAR) Neighborhood Report, in February 2017 the median estimated home value in Keswick was $574,000 and the median list price was $590,000. In 2008, Stephen Wells of the New York Times wrote, “It’s this image of upscale rural America that best defines Keswick and its surrounding communities.” And this remains true today.

Here are some other things to know about life in Keswick.

Neighborhoods

Glenmore is a gated community with luxury homes tucked among mature trees, and paved walking trails that parallel the roads. Formerly a horse farm estate known nationwide, Glenmore gives a nod to its roots via its on-site Equestrian Center. The residential community also features an 18-hole golf course, a fitness/swimming/tennis facility, soccer field, basketball court, and a clubhouse.

Glenmore Golf Club

Glenmore Golf Club

Just on the other side of I-64, you’ll find Keswick Estates, a small luxury residential community consisting of 121 homes and home building sites. Like Glenmore, it is gated, but home sites are larger at two to six acres. Its proximity to the Keswick Hall resort means that residents have easy access to all of the resort’s amenities, such as the golf club and spa.

Keswick Estates

Keswick Estates

Recreation

There are other recreational opportunities in Keswick beyond the Glenmore Country Club and Keswick Hall.

Keswick Vineyards is a lovely spot to enjoy a glass of wine along with views of the Southwest Mountains. In 2016 the American Wine Society awarded the vineyard the silver award for their 2015 Chardonnay Reserve.

Just a little bit further north is Castle Hill Cider, if you prefer apples to grapes, cider to wine. Another bucolic setting in which to relax, you’ll enjoy the sights and sounds surrounding Castle Hill. Be sure to try the Celestial cider.

A couple miles from Glenmore you can spend an afternoon antiquing at A&W CollecTables. You can read more about their offerings here.

If a private guided tour of the countryside is more your taste, and you enjoy the perspective gained from atop a horse, check out Indian Summer Guide Service. Tour options include guided horseback rides through several wineries and vineyards—including Keswick Vineyards—as well as the orchards of Castle Hill Cider.

Keswick Hall swimming pool

Keswick Hall swimming pool

Dining

Keswick Hall & Golf Club offers three dining options: Fossett’s, Villa Crawford, and Treble Wine Cellar. Fossett’s is committed to using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible for their gourmet American menu. Fossett’s also usually participates in Charlottesville Restaurant Week, a benefit for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank held twice a year—in January and in July—that offers three-course meals at reduced rates. (The next Restaurant Week will be July 14-23, 2017.) Villa Crawford serves a lunch buffet as well as a la carte dining that includes comfort foods as well as healthy options. The Treble Wine Cellar is a private dining venue with the option of either ordering from the Fossett’s menu or enjoying the recommended pairings of the executive chef and sommelier.

Shortly before the turn off to Glenmore is the elegant Clifton Inn with award-winning dining. You’ll need to call ahead for reservations. We also recommend keeping a look out for special tastings and dining offerings.

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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.

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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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