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charlottesville over thanksgiving weekend?

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PA
posts: 291
reviews: 36
charlottesville over thanksgiving weekend?

greetings!

i'm planning a trip to the greater charlottesville area for the weekend of thanksgiving--arriving late in the evening the wednesday before thanksgiving and staying through that monday. i'm looking to have a few good meals, visit monticello, do some hiking, visit some wineries--generally have a laid back but still fun long weekend with my husband. we love food, wine--he loves beer--history, photography, and being outdoors.

my question is--is this a good idea? visiting over thanksgiving weekend? will we find everything close and deserted? or crowded and expensive? i travel a lot and i know that there are some places i'd super not want to be during a holiday weekend (on a cruise ship, at a beach resort, in disney world...) so i'm trying to determine if charlottesville is a good idea before i book anything (which i need to do soon).

thanks in advance!

17 replies to this topic
Charlottesville
posts: 263
reviews: 151
1. Re: charlottesville over thanksgiving weekend?

I think Thanksgiving would be a decent time to come, if you're okay with things being a bit slower. The big thing is that the football game is at Virginia Tech this year (the big football rivalry played every thanksgiving weekend), so you won't have to worry about the huge football crowds with their crazy drunknenness in town! (Though it is a sight to see!) The major downside is that on the actual day of Thanksgiving, a lot of bars and restaurants will be closed - way more than half. But enough will be open that you'll be able to find something on thursday - it probably just won't be your first choice. My experience has been that on thanksgiving night, very few bars/restaurrants are open, and the bars that are open that night are pretty crowded, just because there's not many other places to go. otherwise, the rest of the weekend is mostly back to normal, though still a little on the slower side. (If there are a couple of restaurants you particularly want to go to, it might be worth giving them a call to see if they'll be open and if they'll be doing a special menu for thanksgiving. the same goes if there are any vineyards you want to visit for wine tasting - I wouldn't be surprised if many had limited hours that weekend.) But otherwise most bars and restaurants will stay open that friday, sat and sun. You might also want to check with Monticello to see what their hours will be over the holiday weekend too.

let me know if you want any specific recommendations for restaurants or bars. and if your husband likes beer, you might want to consider a beer tasting trip to blue mountain, devil's backbone, or wild wolf. they are towards great hiking in the blue ridge, and there's great vineyards with wine tasting out that way too.

Edited: 3:58 pm, September 13, 2012
PA
posts: 291
reviews: 36
2. Re: charlottesville over thanksgiving weekend?

thanks so much! that actually sounds perfect--i'd prefer slow to crazy, and as long as everything isn't closed--which it sounds like it won't be--i'm happy. thank you!

and yes, i'm open for specific restaurant/bar suggestions. we are adventurous diners and like anything unique or quirky. we are also fans of good old fashioned dive bars. or anywhere with live music.

the plan for thanksgiving has become this: we will drive to winchester on wednesday night--only a 4 hour drive from home but i'm sure it will take longer on the busiest travel day of the year (plus we both work until noon on wednesday) have dinner there and sleep. on actual thanksgiving we will drive skyline drive and maybe do a hike somewhere. we'll end up in charlottesville early evening, have thanksgiving dinner somewhere (where?) and then have all of friday, saturday, and sunday for monticello, wineries, maybe strolling around the UVA campus (i like to take photos. a lot.) we'd then leave sometime on monday and drive slowly back to PA.

does that sound reasonable?

Charlottesville
posts: 263
reviews: 151
3. Re: charlottesville over thanksgiving weekend?

yes, that sounds very reasonable. for restaurants, here's a couple quick suggestions off the top of my head (but again you might want to contact some directly to check on thanksgiving hours.) Bang is kind of an Asian fusion tapas place off the downtown mall in an old house, which gives it a little bit of a unique vibe, and the food is really good (though a little pricey considering the small size of each plate). They got a great, private back patio too if the weather is nice, and a cool bar area to get a high end drink or martini at. The C&O is really good food in a cool older building - stop downstairs for a drink first in their cool, darkwooded basement bar. Continental Divide is kind of a tex mex southwest americana fusion kind of place and is my vote for best restaurant for the money in town (good entrees for $11, and best margaritas in town). Get there early though - its small and fills up quick. The Ivy Inn is overall the best restaurant in town IMO, but expensive. Milan is an indian restaurant with the nicest and best lunch buffet in town (though i'd avoid for dinner - the quality and price of the lunch buffet is what makes it stand out.) Bluegrass has the best breakfast/brunch, but Blue Moon has the cooler, seedier diner vibe. Little John's is a dive sandwich shop open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including holidays. and they got great, cheap, NYC style sandwiches.

For bars/music scene, Miller's is a dive bar with free live music on weekends and great outdoor area on downtown mall. (But don't eat there!!!) I'd recommend spending time walking up and down the downtown mall, which is a closed off street/pedestrian mall with lots of restaurants, bars, stores, music venues, etc. Fellini's also often has music and has a little bit of a different feel to it - walk around to side rooms and upstairs for local art on the walls. The Tea Bizzarre also has live music sometimes and has a very, very unique feel to it. South Street Brewery makes good beer on the premises and sometimes has live music, with good food for a brewery. You might want to check the music scedules for music venues in town, which host national acts (but would require buying a ticket). The Jefferson Theater and the Southern are my favorite two. The Jeff is in an old, restored vaudeville era theater, and the Southern used to be a book store/coffee shop.These music venues are all on the downtown mall. west main is just off the downtown mall and has great live music on sunday nights downstairs, which has a bit of a dive bar feel to it. another dive bar with live music is Durty Nelly's. a bit of a rougher feel to it, but they often have live music and a fire going in the fireplace. and they also serve really good sandwiches as well.

Edited: 10:38 am, September 14, 2012
PA
posts: 291
reviews: 36
4. Re: charlottesville over thanksgiving weekend?

awesome--thank you! i love the variety you've provided. i'm off to do some research. thanks again! i'll report back with my plans (and, eventually, with a trip report).

Charlottesville...
Destination Expert
for Charlottesville
posts: 317
reviews: 40
5. Re: charlottesville over thanksgiving weekend?

The Boars Head Inn, the Clifton Inn, the Silver Thatch Inn, and the Ivy Inn all have a nice Thanksgiving dinner. However, it is important that you reserve in advance. There will still be a lot of people in town that weekend - a number of tourists, family get togethers, and kids returning from out of town colleges.

Check out : http://www.monticellowinetrail.com that lists many (but not all) of the local wineries. Just driving to each one offers spectacular views. The Glass House Winery is a little isolated but often has great music on weekends. Dirty Nellies, near UVA, is definitely a quirly bar of locals and students, but often fun music. Go online to the local weekly magazines: The Hook and Cville Weekly to see what's happening entertainment wise. My favorite restaurants are the C&O and Tavola's. Tavola's is in the Belmont Hill neighborhood and is also near La Taza (Cuban), The Local, and Mas (Spanish Tapas). There are so many great places to eat here!

Charlottesville...
Destination Expert
for Charlottesville
posts: 317
reviews: 40
6. Re: charlottesville over thanksgiving weekend?

I almost forgot. Check ahead to see if Skyline Drive is open that weekend.

PA
posts: 291
reviews: 36
7. Re: charlottesville over thanksgiving weekend?

again--thanks! i plan to do some research tonight and come up with a restaurant game plan. glad to hear i have so many great choices!

and yes, i looked up skyline drive already. it is open until the 25th; i'll be there on the 22nd. whew! that's cutting it close! i drove tioga road in yosemite on the second day it was open this spring, so i guess this is fitting. :-)

Virginia Beach...
posts: 1
8. Re: charlottesville over thanksgiving weekend?

I'd love to find a B&B that will offer a full Thanksgiving meal , along with those extra special touches, such as hiking, horseback trails, foliage, etc. Any suggestions ?

Richmond, VA
posts: 2
reviews: 60
9. Re: charlottesville over thanksgiving weekend?

Just another addition for good beer and food, possibly for laid back breakfast or lunch. Try Beer Run in Charlottesville. Its a little restaurant with a great beer selection on tap, and awesome selection to take out in bottle. The food is also pretty good.

156 Carlton Road #203 Charlottesville, VA 22902

PA
posts: 291
reviews: 36
10. Re: charlottesville over thanksgiving weekend?

thank you for the recommendation! i can get my husband to go ANYWHERE in the world by saying 'but there's really good beer!'

also--i love that you recommend a good beer place...for breakfast. ha!

leaving at noon tomorrow!

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