Road Trip Recap: Charlottesville

Hi Guys, today I'm going to start a new little series of posts where I recap the road trip that I went on at the beginning of June.  This is partially so you can see snippets of cities you have possibly never been to and partially so I can document my memories and stories.  I hope you find the recaps entertaining.  I really loved every city I visited so maybe my trip will inspire you to check out these places as well. So this road trip idea all started because I was totally obsessed with figuring out where I was going to move after Milwaukee and had begun thinking that moving south might be the way to go.  I had never been to any southern states besides Alabama one time in high school so it was uncharted territory for me. After researching different states and hearing good things about a number of places I eventually had a list of six cities that I really wanted to experience in person.  I pretty quickly decided that I was going to go on a road trip whether anyone was going to come with me or not, so naturally I began to talk about it all the time.  My friends can tell you that when I get really excited about something I tend to talk about it waaaay more than they would ever care to hear.  Oh well, most of them (I think) still love me anyways.

So I was at work, talking about my travel plans with coworkers and one of them was a complete angel and agreed to go with me.  Her name is Kelsey.  I could go on and on about how cool she is but I'll save that for another time.  To give you an idea, she is so cool that she was totally down for all the cities I wanted to go to and basically came along to keep me company and have a good time.  All it took was one coffee date with her and we planned out the route we would take, the dates we would be in each city, and had a pretty good estimate on how much money we would spend in total, easily agreeing on everything.  We're pretty much road trip soul mates. Yes, that is a real thing.

Now, onto the actual trip!  After waiting a couple months for our departure date to arrive, I packed up my car and headed down to Milwaukee.  I had already moved back home about a week before so I drove down and stayed with Kelsey the night before we planned to leave.  We spent the night making sure we had everything we needed and even set up our tent in her living room.  Necessary practice.

Me and the Tent

The next morning we were up early to get on the road.  We drove straight from Milwaukee, WI, to Charlottesville, Va.  This was a learning experience for me, meaning I found out that after 14 hours in the car, your butt will hate you.  We got past that though because we found a super affordable place to stay through Airbnb and passed out pretty much the moment we walked in the door.

After waking up and having breakfast, we drove to Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's Plantation) to hike the trail.  It was a beautiful day and it felt really good to move our legs after sitting the entire day before.  I would definitely recommend visiting Monticello if you find yourself in Charlottesville.  The scenery is great, the walking paths are very well maintained and there are tours of the grounds if that kind of history interests you. (We opted out of the tours so I can't give much more info then that.)

Monticello

Monticello

During the afternoon we had some time to kill so we decided to drive through the city and see what we found. One of our stops was at Great Harvest Bread Co.  I was particularly interested in checking it out because my parents own one here in Wisconsin and its fun to see how owners do things differently from store to store.  I said hello to the owner and we sampled some bread (all Great Harvest's give free samples!) then were off to more exploring. We went in and out of some shops including a cute second hand store and a huge antique store until we were ready go shower up and get ready for the evening.

Charlottesville

Welcome to Charlottesville

I don't think I need to explain how necessary the above picture was.  Just know that timers on your camera phone do not always make your life easier and this was no where near the first try.

After our photo shoot we headed downtown.  One of my favorite things to do in a new city is to go downtown and just walk.  I love to people watch, bop in and out of stores and get the feel for what it would be like to actually live there.  Charlottesville's downtown was adorable. Their "mall" is basically one long street (probably 3 or 4 blocks) that cars can't drive down so shops and restaurants are on either side of you with outdoor seating areas down the middle.  I wish I got a picture when it was light out but I think you can see what I am talking about.

Charlottesville

Charlottesville

We walked around for a while, spent some time at an outdoor music event called Fridays After Five located at the end of the "mall" and then made our way to dinner.  We went to a thai restaurant called Monsoon Siam, which I would definitely recommend.  Cute outdoor dining and really delicious food.  After dinner we walked around the downtown area for a while longer and could see how it is definitely the place to be on a Friday night.  Eventually we were exhausted and put ourselves to bed, only to be up bright and early the next morning and onto our next location!

Final thoughts on Charlottesville:

  • It is so cute.  That sounds like a horrible description, but seriously guys this little town feels like it is out of a movie.  So many local shops, brick roads, houses with white picket fences, etc.  I guess thats what I should have expected with a name like Charlottesville.
  • Everyone is nice.  Every person we met was extremely friendly and they all seemed genuinely interested in hearing about our travel plans.  Being from the midwest, this aspect reminded me a little bit of home!
  • There are a lot of hills.  I know I didn't mention it at all before, but when I think back and picture Charlottesville, I think about a lot of hills.  Kelsey definitely said at one point, "I would hate biking in this city." So bikers, beware.
  • Can't say I am dying to make Charlottesville my home, but I also can't say I would be bummed if it was.  Either way, this little city was a lovely place and I would not mind visiting again someday!

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Next recap will be all about Asheville, NC, so stay tuned!