When you think you’ve seen all there is to see in Charlottesville, dig a little deeper. Beyond the tourist attractions such as Jefferson’s Monticello and other presidential estates, there is an amazing variety of educational and entertaining things to enjoy in this vibrant city.
Many fascinating sites are found right in the heart of downtown Charlottesville, making it easy to discover something new with each visit. Here are seven unique destinations that are every bit as interesting as the city’s better-known historic treasures.
Seek Out These 7 Hidden Treasures:
- Edgar Allan Poe’s Dorm Room. The great American writer Edgar Allen Poe studied at the University of Virginia for one year during the early 19th His dorm room has been preserved by a dedicated group of students who are said to still hold meetings there. Known as The Raven Room, Dorm 13 West Range still retains a number of the original features from when Poe resided there. Look through a glass door and listen to an audio feature on Poe’s life for a unique educational experience. Learn more here.
- Barboursville Ruins. This former mansion of James Barbour, a wealthy American lawyer, statesman and former governor of Virginia, was designed by Thomas Jefferson. The home was destroyed by fire on Christmas day in 1884. The ruins are on the grounds of Barboursville Winery, one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries in Virginia. Take a self-guided tour of the ruins before heading over to the winery’s tasting room and restaurant. Learn more here.
- Paramount Theatre. Located at the heart of Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, the theatre was built in 1931 as one of the last grand movie palaces during the golden age of cinema. Threatened with demolition in the late 80s, a group of community leaders purchased and fully restored the Paramount in 1992. The theatre’s elegant lobby, magnificent chandeliers and 18th century colonial-style silk painted panels now set the stage for many nationally acclaimed performances. Learn more here. Learn more here.
- Kluge – Rake Aboriginal Art Collection. This one-of-a-kind museum, housed in a historic hilltop home, is the only museum in the United States completely dedicated to indigenous Australian art. Surrounded by trails with gorgeous views, summer evenings also offer local music, food trucks and craft beers to enjoy. Admission is free, so take this opportunity to learn about a different culture in a gorgeous setting. Learn more here.
- Michie Tavern. Originally built in 1784 on a well-traveled stagecoach route, this tavern was reconstructed in 1927 and moved to its present location a mile or so from Jefferson’s Monticello. Today it is a museum and a great place to enjoy a lunch of southern comfort food or a pint of local brew served by staff dressed in colonial garb. Learn more here.
- Daedalus Bookshop. If three floors of out-of-print book sounds like heaven to you, then you must visit the Daedalus Bookshop, which The Washington Post describes as “A three-story temple of secondhand lit, a bibliophile’s church tucked away on a curling side street.” Don’t miss this chance to find a great old copy of your favorite book or discover a new one. Learn more here.
- Carter Mountain Orchard. Located next to Monticello and Michie Tavern, this family-owned and operated mountaintop orchard offers spectacular views of Charlottesville. There are plenty of pick-your-own opportunities for apples, peaches and nectarines. Visit the bakery for fresh-baked pies and cookies and be sure to sample the orchard’s famous and delicious apple cider donuts. Learn more here. Learn more here.
With the sites of Charlottesville just minutes away, residents of Westminster-Canterbury of the Blue Ridge are able to enjoy all the city has to offer. Our staff helps residents plan their sightseeing trips, tailoring their day to make the most of their unique interests.