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Not only is Charlottesville home to the beautiful University of Virginia, but it was once the stomping grounds of not one but two U.S. presidents. In order to see all that this picturesque Southern city has to offer, you should be ready to have a jam-packed day.
Start your morning with breakfast at Bodo’s Bagel Bakery on “The Corner.” It’s a go-to breakfast joint in Charlottesville and a quick way to get some energy. Across the street from the bagel shop is the University of Virginia’s campus, which is the centerpiece of the city. Head to the Rotunda to take a tour of the Thomas Jefferson-founded school; you’ll wander the pristine grounds and onto the legendary lawn, all while learning the history of Jefferson’s architectural designs.
After you’ve relived your college days, hop in the car and drive to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s estate. You’ll notice that the main house looks nearly identical to the university’s Rotunda — that’s because Jefferson designed both of them. You can tour the gardens, which include an orchard, vineyard and vegetable garden, as well as the home, which is filled with much of the original furnishings.
Once you’ve gotten your history lesson, get back in the car and prepare for one of the most scenic drives of your life. Skyline Drive runs along the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and through Shenandoah National Park. We don’t expect you to drive the entire 105-mile road, but even if you see just a portion of it, you’ll be provided with postcard-worthy vistas.
Snap a few photos and make your way back to your hotel, where you can clean up for dinner on the Historic Downtown Mall. This pedestrian-only area is lined with restaurants, shops and laid-back bars. If you’ve still got some energy to burn after dinner, head to “The Corner” to experience Charlottesville’s nightlife scene. This area is generally filled with students, but it’s a great way to get a feel for the Virginia town.