≡ Menu

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.


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.



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.


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


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


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

Death_to_stock_photography_Vibrant (10 of 10)

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.

Death_to_stock_photography_Vibrant (8 of 10)

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.



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!).

Paramount Downtown_750x1000

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.



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.

 Meal with a view_1000x750


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



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



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.



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.


DeathtoStock_Creative Community6_1000x650


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



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.



Charlottesville Authors Published in 2016

In 2016, authors local to the Charlottesville area published over 40 books, ranging from poetry collections to photography books to novels written on the timeless themes of love and loss. The list of Charlottesville authors includes several recognizable names, such as bestselling authors John Grisham, Jan Karon, and Rita Mae Brown, award-winning author and former poet laureate Rita Dove, as well as newcomer Margot Lee Shetterly, whose novel Hidden Figures was adapted to film for a major motion picture released to theaters this month. Whether it is the rolling hills and beautiful mountain views that offer inspiration, the intellectual draw of the University of Virginia, or the small but vibrant urban center of Charlottesville that stimulates ideas and conversation, it’s evident that many writers are making a home for themselves in this particularly lovely piece of central Virginia.

Here is the list we’ve compiled of books published by area writers in 2016. Let us know if we’ve overlooked anyone!

Courtesy of Negative Space

Courtesy of Negative Space


Nine Island (Catapult) by Jane Alison. A woman in Miami translates Ovid and considers giving up love, all while observing the complex relationship dynamics within her condo community.
Some of the Parts (Knopf Books for Young Readers) by Hannah Barnaby. A teen reeling from her brother’s accidental death searches for his organ donation recipients in hopes of finding closure.
Cakewalk: A Novel (Bantam) by Rita Mae Brown. Sisters in a southern town test the boundaries that define their lives in the aftermath of WWI.
Tall Tail: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery (Bantam) by Rita Mae Brown. A crime in present-day Crozet, Virginia leads Harry to research a murder that happened in 1784, all with the help of her feline companions.
Ninja Librarians: A Sword in the Stacks (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky) by Jenn Swann Downey. In this middle-grade young adult book, Dorrie time travels to 1912 England as an apprentice of the society of ninja librarians she has stumbled upon.
The Other Side of Hope (CreateSpace) by R.F. Dunham. In this work of speculative fiction, the eastern hemisphere is the economic center of the world and Islam is the dominant religion when a terrorist attack sparks a war between east and west.
The Whistler (Doubleday) by John Grisham. Lacy Stoltz investigates a judge accused of helping to fund a mafia-backed casino who is now pocketing casino money.
Theodore Boone: The Scandal (Dutton Books for Young Readers) by John Grisham. A 13-year-old investigates possible cheating on standardized tests at his school.
Scamming Death, The Scary Mary Series (CreateSpace) by S.A. Hunter. Protagonist Mary battles the angel of death who is terrorizing a nursing home.
Nitro Mountain: A Novel (Knopf) by Lee Clay Johnson. This novel follows the dramas within an Appalachian Virginia town.
Barhoppers: The Answer Man and Other Bar Plays (Indie Theater Now) by Joel Jones. These short, comedic plays with a philosophical bent explore themes of love, ambition, and testing social boundaries.
Come Rain or Come Shine, Mitford Series (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) by Jan Karon. Dooley Kavanagh and Lace Harper finally wed– in a barn.
Invisible Fault Lines (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers) by Kristen-Paige Madonia. A modern teen’s father disappears on a construction site. Possible clues lead her to research the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
Done Growed Up, Apron Strings Trilogy Volume 2 (Westropp Press) by Mary Morony. This second book in the series continues the story of the Mackey family and their black maid in the 1950s American South.
Lost and Found, The Maria Series Book 5 (CreateSpace) by Ella Rea Murphy. In the late 1940s, protagonist Maria explores the new economic freedom available to women, while also preoccupied with thoughts of three different men.
Grave New World, Slate & Ashe Series No. 4 (Echelon Graphic Novels) written by Ethan Murphy, edited by Susan L. Holland, art by Luigi Teruel. The titular evolved zombie and outlaw run from one problem only to stumble upon another: an armed militia.
Pigloo (Henry Holt & Co.) by Anne Marie Pace. In this picture book a young pig plans to explore the North Pole, despite the naysaying of his sister.
Losing It (Riverhead Books) by Emma Rathbone. Julia, an adult woman who happens to be a virgin, spends the summer with her single, ageing aunt only to learn that her aunt has also unintentionally remained chaste. Julia is on a mission to find out how this happened and how she can avoid a similar fate.
There Is Nothing Strange (Holland House) by Susan Pepper Robbins. This novel explores the entanglements of a love triangle between married couple Laura and Jeremy, and their friend Henry.
The Giant, Quarantine Book 4 (Carolrhoda Lab TM) by Lex Thomas (writing team Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies). In the fourth book in the Quarantine series, protagonist Gonzalo searches for his love, Sasha.


Photo by Martin Vorel

Photo by Martin Vorel


Cut on the Bias: Poems (Laughing Fire Press) by Patricia Asuncion. In this collection of poetry, the personal is the political as the author writes of growing up a biracial Filipino American in inner-city Chicago.
Waking to Beauty: Encounters with Remarkable Beings (Rainbow Ridge) by Rosalyn Berne. While recounting her connection to horses, the author considers the presence of divinity in the animal kingdom.
Homes and Haunts: Touring Writers’ Shrines and Countries (Oxford University Press) by Alison Booth. This study explores public interest in writers’ homes.
FLOAT: Becoming Unstuck for Writers (Be Well Here) by AM Carley. This helpful guide consists of exercises and prompts to stimulate the writing mind by a professional writing coach.
Collected Poems: 1974-2004 (W.W. Norton & Company) by Rita Dove. This robust collection spans thirty years of the former poet laureate’s career, ranging from subjects of motherhood, language, and African American identity.
Why Write? A Master Class on the Art of Writing and Why It Matters (Bloomsbury USA) by Mark Edmundson. The author explores the titular question and why writing is a vital form of expression.
The Preschool Parent Primer (IvyArtz) by Pamela Evans. This petite primer is packed with everything preschool teachers wish their students’ parents knew.
Shantytown, USA: Forgotten Landscapes of the Working Poor (Harvard University Press) by Lisa Goff. This scholarly book follows the history of shantytowns.
The Perfect Season: A Memoir of the 1964-1965 Evansville College Purple Aces (University of Indiana Press) by Russell Grieger. This memoir reflects back on that rare experience in athletics: completing the perfect season.
Just Around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination (Harvard University Press) by Jack Hamilton. This scholarly book explores what led to the whitewashing of rock and roll.
For Love of the Land: A History of the Wintergreen Community (The Nature Foundation at Wintergreen) by Mary Buford Hitz. This illustrated coffee table book chronicles the conservation efforts that led to the creation of Wintergreen resort.
First Entrepreneur: How George Washington Built His—and the Nation’s—Prosperity (Da Capo Press) by Edward G. Lengel. This book explores the economic principles that informed Washington’s approach to government.
Whistle What Can’t be Said: Poems (Unicorn Press) by Charlotte Matthews. These poems reflect on the author’s experiences in childhood, and with cancer and survival.
Night Sky Frequencies and Selected Poems (Sheep Meadow Press) by Debra Nystrom. The common thread that ties these poems together is a narrative that follows the lives of two abandoned children.
Scattering Ashes: A Memoir of Letting Go (She Writes Press) by Joan Z. Rough. This deeply personal and emotional memoir chronicles the challenges and rewards of caring for an aging parent with whom the author had a difficult relationship.
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (William Morrow & Company) by Margot Lee Shetterly. This New York Times Bestseller recounts the true story of four African American women mathematicians whose calculations for NASA made space travel possible.
Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, from Scout to Go Set a Watchman (Henry Holt & Co.) by Charles Shields. In this revised biography, the author considers the posthumous publication of Lee’s Go Set a Watchman.
Monticello in Mind: Fifty Contemporary Poems on Jefferson (University of Virginia Press) edited by Lisa Russ Spaar. A collection of various poets explores and interrogates Thomas Jefferson’s complicated legacy.
God of Earth: Discovering a Radically Ecological Christianity (Westminster John Knox Press) by Kristin Swenson. The author, an associate professor of religious studies, explores the sacred in the natural world.
I’m Not from the South, But I Got Down Here as Fast as I Could (Sartoris Literary Group) by Tony Vanderwarker. In this memoir the author recounts his migration to, and immersion in, the south.
Glass Harvest (Autumn House) by Amie Whittemore. This collection of poetry examines love and loss with language that often references nature.

Photo by Martin Vorel

Photo by Martin Vorel


Carry Me Ohio (Sturm & Drang) by Matt Eich. This collection of photographs documents the ten years the photographer spent with the people of southeastern Ohio.
The Philosopher’s Style (Grey Book) by Beatrix Ost. This eclectic collection combines fiction, interviews, and visual art from the author’s collection.
Flash: The Photography of Ed Roseberry: Charlottesville, Virginia 1940s-1970s (C’ville Images) by Steve Trumbull. Vintage black and white photographs show Charlottesville in the mid-1900s.



In central Virginia, the time-honored tradition of choosing and cutting down your own Christmas tree is alive and well. Imagine walking among rows of conifers grown for this purpose, reaching out to touch the needles to test their spring and strength, their ability to carry the weight of treasured ornaments, and taking in the distinct smell that these evergreens lend to the season. Not only does picking out your own tree to cut give you a memorable experience, it ensures the freshness of your tree, too, as many pre-cut trees may have been cut weeks before being sold. And in the verdant countryside surrounding Charlottesville, there are plenty of Christmas tree farms from which to choose your tree.


Greene County

Greene Meadows Christmas Tree Farm | 487 Crow Mountain Road, Stanardsville, VA

Run by the Ensor family, this farm has over 7 acres of planted Christmas trees to choose from. The six species of conifers they offer are White Pine, Scotch Pine, White Spruce, Canaan Fir, Leyland Cypress, and Red Cedar, each priced according to species, rather than by size. At the Christmas Shop you will be welcomed with complimentary hot chocolate or cider and a candy cane while you peruse gift items, ornaments, wreaths, and the farm’s homemade preserves, jellies, and relishes. On the weekends, local youth organizations such as the Boy Scouts will be nearby selling hot dogs, hamburgers, sodas, and baked goods to benefit their operations. And there is also a miniature petting zoo of sheep and lambs eagerly awaiting their human visitors.

Madison County

Stonehearth Christmas Tree Farm | 367 Kirtley Road, Leon, VA

Just off 29 North in Madison County, Stonehearth Christmas Tree Farm sells White Pines, Scotch Pines, Red Pines, Virginia Pines, and Canaan Firs, all priced at $35 each. Their wreaths are made from White and Scotch Pine in varying sizes. A complimentary hot chocolate, hot apple cider, or coffee awaits each visitor, and each child will receive a free candy cane and coloring book. The farm will be open on the weekends, and during the week purchases may be made at the gray house.

Several tree farms offer complimentary hot beverages as part of the experience.

Several tree farms offer complimentary hot beverages as part of the experience.

Culpeper County

‘Peper’mint Christmas Tree Farm | 12063 Eggbornsville Road, Culpeper, VA

With a festive name that also gives a nod to the nearby town of Culpeper, the Bartlett family farm has been selling Christmas trees since 1986. After such a healthy run, they have decided to permanently close up shop at the end of the 2016 holiday season. Their remaining available conifers are priced to sell with White Pines going for $25 each, and Norway Spruce and Canaan Fir going for $35 each. They will be open December 3-4 and December 10-11 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Their shop is supplied with complimentary mulled cider and candy canes, and there are wreaths and decorative swags for sale.

Orange County

Miller Farms Market | 12101 Orange Plank Road, Locust Grove, VA

In Orange County, Miller Farms Market is an operational farm that offers a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program 33 weeks out of the year, hosts pick-your-own events during berry season, and sells many local and regional products in their Marketplace year-round. During the holiday season, they add Christmas trees to their list of homegrown goods for sale. You can choose from White Pine, Canaan Fir, Norway Spruce, and Colorado Blue Spruce, with prices ranging from $24-80. They are open Monday-Saturday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, and closed on Sundays.

Louisa County

Claybrooke Farm | 912 Elk Creek Road, Mineral, VA 23117

This family farm has been planting Christmas trees since 1984 and has expanded in acreage and offerings. Available species now include Canaan Fir, Douglas Fir, Nordman Fir, Concolor Fir, White Spruce, and Blue Spruce and prices range from $29-79, dependent on size. Upon arrival, you can view samples of each kind to get a better sense of what you might like. Their gift shop, the Gathering Barn, is stocked with Virginia products, ornaments, and accessories. And in good weather you can even take a wagon ride. The farm will be open on weekends, December 3-18, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.


Buckingham County

Foxfire Christmas Tree Farm | 451 Foxfire Road, Scottsville, VA

Owned and operated by the Samuels family since 1968, this family farm sells fresh Douglas Fir, Norway Spruce, and White Pine trees as well as Scotch Pine wreaths and garlands. They are open Thursday-Monday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm through December 22, but they note that during the week there is limited help for loading.

Nelson County

Saunders Brothers Farm Market | 2717 Tye Brook Highway, Piney River, VA 22964

This family run farm has operated as an apple orchard since 1915! Throughout the year, Saunders Brothers grows fruits and vegetables, and every year following Thanksgiving they open their tree farm to the public. Conifer selections include Canaan Fir, Norway Spruce, Blue Spruce, White Pine, and Scotch Pine. This year the trees are up to 8 feet tall and prices range from $5-8 per foot, depending on which variety you choose. Their Farm Market is currently stocked with handmade wreaths, fresh evergreen swags, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and a variety of apples. The tree farm is open Fridays, 1:00 – 4:00 pm and Saturdays, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, now through December 17.

Augusta County

Boys Home Christmas Tree Farm | 1118 Bear Wallow Flat, West Augusta, VA

An hour from Charlottesville, in the Allegheny Highlands, Boys Home offers a residential educational and care facility for boys aged 6-18. For over 20 years, part of their program of instilling responsibility and discipline has included teaching their students the practices of tree farming, from planting seedlings to shearing, harvesting, and assisting customers with their tree selections. Among the conifer varieties they offer are White Pine and Norway Spruce and the money from sales goes right back into supporting Boys Home. They are open Fridays and weekends through December 23, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Long Meadow Tree Farm | 296 Miller Road, Waynesboro, VA

This family farm has been in operation since 1981. Their planted conifers include White Pine, Scotch Pine, Douglas Fir, Concolor Fir, Norway Spruce, and Blue Spruce. They also sell handmade wreaths and table arrangements (made from fresh cut greenery and one or two candles), along with winter squashes, honey, homemade apple butter, and farm fresh eggs. They are open daily from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Caring for your_jpg


Local Holiday Market Gift Shopping Guide


With Thanksgiving behind us, the gift-giving season is officially here. Not only are small local businesses encouraging customers to shop local, but local artisans are coming together as well and assembling seasonal holiday markets. Charlottesville and the surrounding counties support such a vast and vibrant arts community that there are several seasonal markets to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a specific handmade gift or want to soak up the ambiance and get in the holiday spirit, there is something for everyone.


Enjoy the festive atmosphere of a holiday market.

Charlottesville Holiday Market  | 100 Water Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Saturdays, November 26 – December 17, 8:00 am – 1:00 pm

Every year Charlottesville’s iconic decorative snowflakes suddenly appear on the sides of downtown buildings, signaling the start of the holiday season. And just off the downtown mall, the weekly Charlottesville City Market evolves into the Charlottesville Holiday Market for the four Saturdays before Christmas Eve. Over 100 local vendors, farmers and artisans alike, sell handcrafted items, baked goods, and seasonal decorative displays. There’s bound to be some hot cocoa, too, in place of the summertime lemonade and popsicle stands.

Gift Forest | The Bridge PAI | 209 Monticello Road, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Wednesday, November 30 – Saturday, December 24 | Monday-Friday, 11:00 am – 7:00 pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm; December 24, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Throughout the year in the Belmont neighborhood of Charlottesville, The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative hosts art shows and open mics with the mission of bringing together different people from different communities for a shared experience. This holiday season they will host over 50 “artists, makers and collectors” as they convert their space into a pop-up market. A First Friday reception on December 2 from 5:30 – 9:00 pm will include complementary tasty treats.  

McGuffey Art Center Holiday Member Show and Holiday Market | 201 Second Street SW, Charlottesville, VA 22902

December 2, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

For over 40 years, McGuffey Art Center has provided space for artists in Charlottesville to work, teach, and display their art. The First Friday in December is a special one as it features artwork by its members for gift-giving in the holiday season. Following the First Friday reception, their Holiday Market will remain set up all month long in the gift shop, offering handmade gifts such as jewelry, pottery, prints, and fabrics that are gentler on the wallet of the holiday shopper.  

Shop from local artisans for your gift list.

Shop from local artisans for your gift list.

Christmas Bazaar | Scottsville Community Senior Center | 250 Page Street, Scottsville, VA 24590

Saturday, December 3, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

A tradition for the last 15 years, this year’s Scottsville Christmas Bazaar features new participating vendors, a visit from Santa from 10:00 am – 1:30 pm, a bouncy house, silent auction, and fresh kettle corn and other food vendors. The proceeds will benefit the Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department.

Holiday Bazaar | Charlottesville Waldorf School | 120 Waldorf School Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901

Saturday, December 3, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

For over 30 years, the Charlottesville Waldorf School has opened its doors to the public every December for their Holiday Bazaar. Child-friendly activities include cookie decorating, jump rope making, and a special shop called The Secret Garden where young shoppers can purchase items for $2 each. The Bazaar features handcrafted gifts such as knitwear and woodwork. Refreshments will be available at Rudolph’s Diner and the Snack Shop. There will be a Preview Night on December 2, 6:00 – 9:00 pm (adults only).  

Enchanted Extravaganza | The Market at Grelen | 15901 Yager Road, Somerset, VA 22972

Saturday, December 3, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Enchanted Extravaganza takes place at The Market at Grelen, a farm and nursery founded on the principles of sustainable agriculture and the farm-to-table movement, and is co-sponsored by Shabby Love, a company that upcycles old and mistreated furniture. Twenty-two local artisans will sell their goods under a tent, while fresh Christmas trees and garlands will be for sale nearby. The charge for admission is $5 per car. There is also a wreath workshop that costs $50 per person, including supplies. Buy yourself a cup of hot chocolate and warm yourself in front of the fire pit while you await Santa’s arrival. The master toymaker himself will be available from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. There will also be a Chili Bar open for business.


Craftacular Holiday Market  | IX Art Park | 2nd Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Saturday, December 3, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

For the last ten years, Craftacular has brought together local artists to share their wares with the public for the holiday season. While the market has set up shop in different locations over the years, this year it will be housed at the IX Art Park, a community arts space that hosts events throughout the year as varied as open-air yoga, performance art, and opera. Craftacular’s vendor count continues to grow as this year it reaches over 40, supplying an ample array of styles to choose from when selecting your gift. Vendors this year include Root and Radish (colorful printed fabrics and cards), Purcell Toys (a wood toymaker), the Freckled Farm Soap Company, Stronge Designs (quirky, pop culture-inspired prints), and Pan & Tea jewelry-makers.

Weihnachtsmarkt | Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia | 1290 Richmond Avenue, Staunton, VA 24401

Saturday, December 3, 1:00 – 7:00 pm | Saturday, December 10, 1:00 – 7:00 pm

Named after the traditional German Christmas market that has endured since the late middle ages, this Weihnachtsmarkt will feature the handcrafted and historic-inspired work of regional artisans in open-air booths. One such participating vendor is Medieval Fantasies Company, based out of Churchville, Virginia. They sell handmade historic toys, bows and arrows, earth tone pottery, and handmade soaps. Another participating vendor is New River Nature, which sells photographic prints and handcrafted wooden frames. There will also be German and American fare to satisfy those shopping spree appetites.

Mistletoe Market | John Paul Jones Arena | 295 Massie Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Sunday, December 4, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Throughout the year, the Junior League of Charlottesville plans multiple community events to benefit the residents of Charlottesville, such as the Girls of Summer reading program and the Kids in the Kitchen nutrition education program. This December they will host their 13th annual Mistletoe Market at John Paul Jones Arena. The market will feature handcrafted goods, photographic prints, handmade jewelry, baked goods, and seasonal decorations. There is an admission fee of $5 in advance (which you can purchase here) or $8 at the door, which helps fund the operation of the Junior League.  

Local Author Book Fair | WriterHouse | 508 Dale Avenue, Charlottesville, VA, 22902

Sunday, December 4, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Twelve local authors will be selling and signing their books at WriterHouse next Sunday and will be happy to personalize them as gifts. There will be a designated children’s room with two picture book authors and the author of a preschool primer for parents where young readers can hang out. The books for sale range from travel memoir to the craft of writing, from eco-fiction to mystery, and from children’s picture books to a lovely coffee table book about Wintergreen. Participating authors are: Marc Boston, AM Carley, Michelle Damiani, Phyllis A. Duncan, R. F. Dunham, William Espinosa, Pamela Evans, Nell Goddin, Mary Buford Hitz, S. A. Hunter, Amy Lee-Tai, and Carolyn O’Neal.



Local Turkey for Thanksgiving!

After an especially contentious election cycle, the opportunity to gather with our loved ones for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and focus on our commonalities is more welcome than ever. With less than two weeks to go, it’s a good time to consider the local turkeys our area has to offer.

Photo by James & Lucy (Flickr).

Photo by James & Lucy (Flickr).

Kelly Bronze in Crozet

The Kellys had been raising bronze turkeys for over 30 years in the United Kingdom when they decided to open their first U.S. satellite location in Crozet in 2014 at Heritage Glenn Farm. Operators Cari and Judd Culver had partnered with the Kellys in 2012 while living in Scotland and proposed the satellite location upon their return to the States. All of the turkeys on the Crozet farm are raised completely free range. When purchasing a turkey from Kelly Bronze you have many options, from 9 lbs. to 26 lbs. In addition to being bronze rather than white turkeys, Kelly bronze turkeys are distinguished by the slow process through which they are raised and dried. First, the birds are allowed to mature fully. Then after they are slaughtered, they are dry plucked by hand and dry aged for up to 14 days, with the result that the meat is more tender and flavorful. And according to the Kellys, their turkeys have enough natural fat to make basting completely unnecessary. Their website is set up to accept orders online and they do deliver.

Polyface Farm in Augusta County |43 Pure Meadows Lane, Swoope, VA 24479 | 540-885-3590

Pasture-raised turkeys at Polyface Farm. Photo by J.H. Fearless (Flickr).

Pasture-raised turkeys at Polyface Farm. Photo by J.H. Fearless (Flickr).

Less than an hour west of Charlottesville in Augusta County, the Salatin family of Polyface Farm has been embodying environmentally-friendly, sustainable farming practices since 1961. There was even an article published about them in Smithsonian Magazine in June 2000. The Salatins raise their pastured turkeys on local grains and as much grass as they can eat. The turkeys are kept safe in an open-air paddock that is moved every couple of days to a fresh plot of grass. They also have access to a portable hoop house where they can seek shelter. Their turkeys are available for purchase at Foods of All Nations in Charlottesville, as well as through Relay Foods.

Long Roots Farm in Augusta County | 254 Campbells Hollow Road, Middlebrook, VA 24459 | 540-335-3952

This family farm run by Charles and Anna Long, also in Augusta County, raises pastured turkeys that forage their fields and eat GMO-free grain made in the Shenandoah Valley. They reside in open paddocks with netting to keep them safe from predators and are rotated on a weekly basis to allow for fresh grazing and sanitary conditions. As it happens, Charles is very well-acquainted with today’s commercialized turkey farms because he’s the grandson of Jim Long, the founder of Virginia’s first mass-producing turkey farm. While working in the family business, Charles developed an interest in free-range, sustainable farming. The farm requires a $25 deposit when reserving a Thanksgiving turkey, which will be applied to the total cost of the order. Orders are for pick-up only.

Photo by Master Phillip (Flickr).

Photo by Master Phillip (Flickr).

Beatrix Farm in Shenandoah County | Toms Brook, VA 22660

About an hour and a half north of Charlottesville, Beatrix Farm is home to pasture-raised turkeys whose diet of foraged goods is supplemented with non-GMO grain. Dave and Regina Farinholt began the farm almost a decade ago and this year they are also offering Muscovy duck for Thanksgiving orders if you are interested in branching out. Reservations are required and the fresh, not frozen, turkeys are available as early as November 19.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and may your table be graced with all that our local agriculture has to offer!


2016 Central VA Real Estate Tax Rates

Each local county or municipality in Virginia sets its own real estate property tax rates, which are measured as “cents per 100 dollars” of assessed value. The City of Charlottesville sets its own rates, independent of surrounding Albemarle County. The county supervisors or commissioners can decide to change the tax rates by a vote, and typically rates are updated at least every 3-4 years. Below is an updated list of real estate property tax rates that are current as of November 2016. Please check each county/municipality link for the most accurate and up-to-date information.


Real Estate Tax Rate














0.73 = County

plus 0.13 = if in Town





plus 0.32 if Tuckahoe water/sewer


















Last week Dr. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist and Senior V. P. of Research at the National Association of Realtors, paid a visit to Charlottesville to offer his economic and real estate outlook at the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors (CAAR) General Membership Meeting. He emphasized that the moderate recovery we’re experiencing in rising home sales is a positive thing because it is much more sustainable than the boom in the early 2000s caused by subprime lending. The challenge we face today, he said, is the lack of supply to meet the demand. Specifically, there are too few available houses that meet the needs of first time home buyers. Yet he is hopeful that steady recovery will continue and that there will be the potential for growth going forward.

In order to create a more detailed picture of what is happening, he presented his analysis of the middle class today. The fact that median household income has not fully recovered to match the levels seen in 2000 and 2007, he says, has upset middle class ideas about the American Dream. He then pointed out that a majority of American families are not directly impacted by positive spikes in the economy because only 10% of them have a meaningful ($100K or more) investment in the stock market, which contributes to the overall viewpoint that the economy is not recovering. Then there is the fact that despite making high profits, businesses are not spending as much as they used to. And even though the employment rate is rising and the unemployment rate appears to be falling, he pointed out that what these statistics fail to show is the unemployed person who is not actively searching for work, as this is a requirement to be included in the unemployment rate. Specifically in Charlottesville, he said, there are 20,000 more people with jobs in the area than there were in 2000, which has contributed to the high housing demand.

By Lawrence Yun

By Lawrence Yun

In addition, rent is at a 7-year high, he said, and will be the driver of inflation in the future. Rising rents encourage home ownership, which offers the benefit of a stable mortgage payment. And a high inflation rate will mean higher mortgage interest rates. But currently the rate of homeownership is at a 50-year low. Younger households are less likely to own, a fact explained by the large wealth gap between young adults (defined by those under 35) and retirees. While wealth has grown for retirees since 1983, it has declined for those under 35. Yun sited contributing factors such as the rise of tuition and student loan debt, as well as medical inflation. This is the reason, Yun said, we’re seeing less foot traffic and lockbox openings.

The National Association of Realtors will make a large effort in the next year, he said, to present to the next President of the United States the benefits of home ownership. These include a lower juvenile delinquency rate, better health, self-esteem, and civic engagement. But since all of these benefits can be counteracted by foreclosure, the National Association of Realtors will emphasize the need for sustainable home ownership. The good news in Virginia is that the mortgage delinquency rate is lower than the rest of the country.

In an article published on Forbes online titled “Are We Entering a New Housing Bubble?” Yun argues that we are not heading toward another bubble as we currently lack the inventory for such a thing to happen. He advocates for more home-building in order to meet the current demand and maintain a gradual recovery of the economy.

Yun - Fed Policy re Mortgage Rate

By Lawrence Yun

He also pointed out at the CAAR meeting that the Federal Reserve always waits until after an election to raise rates because they don’t want to affect the outcome of the election. But Yun predicts that the mortgage rate will be more affected by inflation in 2017 and 2018, rather than by actions of the Federal Reserve. His economic forecast is that the economy will continue to be subpar, but may be affected by whoever is elected for President of the United States. He predicts that growth of the GDP will be 1.6%.

Yun - Economic Forecast

By Lawrence Yun

His housing forecast is as follows.


Yun - Housing Forecast

By Lawrence Yun