Sunday, 3 June 2012

Charlottesville, Virginia

Our journey north from Atlanta was again by the Crescent train but the long overnight journey gave us little sleep in the reclining coachseats.  We finally arrived, bleary-eyed, in Charlottesville, Virginia around 7am. We had a short cab ride to 200 South Street Inn and thankfully, Liz checked us in and we found our room ready and waiting for us.  Breakfast first (a continental one with added fruit and a delicious variety of slices of cake - the blueberry and lemon loaf was to die for!) then we fell into bed for a few hours' sleep - bliss!

Up around lunchtime and eager to see more of this very pretty area, we headed a short block to the historic mall in cental Charlottesville. This is a very lovely treed mall with great shops and I was even able to find a Spectacle shop where my specs (dropped and bent out of shape on The American Queen) were fixed - and very kindly, too, at no charge. Also noticed an amazing shop "The Needle Lady" with a huge range of knitting yarns and tapestry, and noted this for a return visit by myself the next day. Later that day we took a free trolley bus ride all around Charlottesville. This is a more affluent area than those down south, but still there were the occasional beggers on the streets. Dinner that evening was at Positively 4th Street Restaurant and the meal was just delicious. Luckily I had my new brolly (bought in Vicksburg) with me as it absolutely poured with rain - the first rain we have had on this trip.

Next morning we were picked up for our visit to Monticello, the plantation home of Thomas Jefferson. This extremely beautiful area is high up with stunning views all around. Thomas Jefferson, one time President and author of the Declaration of Independence, was an incredibly gifted man with wide spread interests. He loved inventing and the grand house he had built is full of his innovative ideas. However for all his high positions in life, his inventions and his working plantation, he died in debt. His descendants had to sell up everything he had owned.

Our last day in Charlottesville was taken up with more sight-seeing of the town, and also the important task of getting some necessary washing done. We had sundaes at The Nook, a 1950s style cafe, and later we just walked next door to the B&B to the South Street Brewery for dinner - barbecue pork ribs for Peter and chicken caeser salad for me washed down with cider and what Peter decided was the best local beer he had had all the trip - Satan's Pony!

I must say that the three B&Bs we have had (New Orleans, Atlanta and Charlottesville) have all been excellent even though extremely different. New Orleans was comfortable and quirky with the bed so high, I had to ask for a footstool! Atlanta was beautifully gracious and the Charlottesville accommodation was very comfortable with friendly and helpful staff. These B&Bs are good value and more friendly, I think, than hotel accommodation.

That evening, we packed up ready for leaving - again by train - the next morning. Very comfortable seats and with internet free on board. New York only six hours away!

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