Charlottesville with a Toddler

Charlottesville5I spent a significant amount of time looking at how to best structure our days with Sophia before embarking on this and our California trips. I am no longer surprised that there are not as many suggested itineraries or places to visit with toddlers; I imagine that most people are not comfortable venturing out with young children especially to historic landmarks or wineries. So in this post, I’m going to detail places to eat, drink, see and enjoy in and around Charlottesville.

See –

  • Monticello — Thomas Jefferson’s beautiful home. Splendid grounds and views. We tried to visit on Saturday but didn’t realize we could have purchased tickets ahead of time. You can only visit on a guided tour and those were sold out a bit in advance. We ended up purchasing a tour for 9:40 AM the following day (Easter Sunday) and the place was devoid of crazy crowds.
  • Ash-Lawn Highland — Monroe’s home from the time before he was president. You cannot book tours in advance which is actually a plus. We went to Ash-Lawn Highland right after getting tickets to Monticello and had a lovely morning seeing where he lived and even visiting with resident merino sheep, lambs and chickens.

Eat –

  • Eppie’s — Fast and casual lunch with children’s (not to be confused with children’s menu) portions. They are known for their chicken and dumplings soup.
  • Shenandoah Joe Coffee — A great coffee shop with pretty good pastries for a continental breakfast. The pumpkin muffins were great!
  • Maya — Great eats in more or less relaxed atmosphere with great food that manages to accommodate little mouths. No tablecloths, no cloth napkins, bold, seasonal and fresh menu and excellent m/cocktails.
  • Hamilton’s at First & Main — Traditional american menu, well-executed. Great Brunch.

Drink –

  • Jefferson Vineyards — A small winery a stone’s throw away from Monticello that had surprisingly good Pinot Gris and Rose as well as a good Meritage vintage.
  • Pollack Vineyards –Supposedly worth a visit, though we didn’t make it there.
  • Veritas Vineyards — Supposedly worth a visit, though we didn’t make it there.

Especially with Kids –

  • Virginia Discovery Museum — It is only fair that at least one of the attractions be tailored to our tiny traveling companion. The museum was reasonably priced and compact in size. I would say it is best suited for children 9 and younger.

Surrounding towns

  • Keswick — A small town just ten minutes away from Charlottesville, Keswick is set in the lush, farm-laden countryside offering great views, peace and serenity. Our hotel had hiking trails behind it and even an on-site vegetable garden making it a perfect place to unwind and enjoy and not just spend a night at.
  • Barboursville — A small town to explore and enjoy once you’ve grown restless in Charlottesville. The esteemed Barboursville Vineyards are also there.


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