a road trip to charlottesville: wandering the downtown mall & wine-tasting at pippin hill farm & vineyards

Wednesday, August 14:  There’s nothing I love better than a road trip.  Quite by accident this week, when trying to arrange a visit with my daughter Sarah in Richmond, I found she had Wednesday and Thursday off.   Suddenly, my wanderlust kicked in, and remembering that I had promised her a girls’ weekend because she never got the opportunity to visit me in Oman, I suggested we go on an overnight road trip to Charlottesville.

So, this morning, I drive to Richmond, pick her up by 10:00 and we’re on our way to the mountains of Virginia.  We’re both excited because it’s supposed to be a glorious couple of days, with sunshine and temperatures in the 70s and NO HUMIDITY, a rare thing in a Virginia summer!

Charlottesville is best known as the home to two U.S. Presidents, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, as well as the home of the University of Virginia, which, along with Monticello is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Monticello is Jefferson’s mountain-top home.

By the time we arrive in Charlottesville, it’s lunch time.  We’ve heard about a great lunch restaurant at The Historic Downtown Mall, Revolutionary Soup, but when we walk to the door, we find, much to our disappointment, that they’re closed for renovation.  Luckily, they have another location in Charlottesville that we can check out tomorrow, but today, since we’re downtown today and since a sign on the Rev Soup door suggests: “Try The Whiskey Jar!” we head there for lunch instead.  We’re not disappointed.

Windows of The Whiskey Jar
Windows of The Whiskey Jar

We each order a bowl of Chicken & Dumplings soup, and we share a sandwich: Egg Salad with Pimento Cheese, Forage Beans & Heirloom Tomatoes on Sunflower Wheat Bread.  I order a Torch Pilsner from a brewery in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

It’s a beautiful day to sit outside at the outdoor cafe and have a beer and a wonderful lunch and to spend time with my darling daughter, who I have missed dearly over the two years. 🙂

Sarah at the Whiskey Jar
Sarah at the Whiskey Jar
me at The Whiskey Jar with my Pilsner
me at The Whiskey Jar with my Pilsner
Chicken & Dumplings soup
Chicken & Dumplings soup
Egg Salad sandwich
Egg Salad sandwich
Inside The Whiskey Jar
Inside The Whiskey Jar

After lunch, we wander around The Historic Downtown Mall, an outdoor brick-paved pedestrian mall with an eclectic collection of shops and restaurants housed in the historic buildings on and around old Main Street. We dip into shops of funky clothes and jewelry.  Vendors are set up on the street selling scarves, skirts, sunglasses and hats.  These are interspersed among quirky outdoor cafes, giving The Downtown Mall a European feel.

strange sunglasses for sale
strange sunglasses for sale
vendors at The Corner
vendors at The Historic Downtown Mall
The Corner
The Historic Downtown Mall
Used books and prints
Used books and prints
The Corner in Charlottesville
The Historic Downtown Mall in Charlottesville
fountain at The Corner
fountain at The Historic Downtown Mall
Cute funky shop
Cute funky shop
famous brand name shoes & boots for sale
famous brand name shoes & boots for sale
Street art at The Corner
Street art at The Historic Downtown Mall

After exploring the shops, we drive out to the countryside for some wine tasting at Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards.  We’ve been told by one of the shopkeepers that, of all the vineyards around Charlottesville, it has one of the best views.  It is indeed a lovely spot, and after our tasting of 6 wines, we each order a glass and sit outdoors at a table overlooking the vineyards and green rolling hills.

Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Sarah at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Sarah at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
me at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
me at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Sarah ~ wine tasting
Sarah ~ wine tasting
Sarah enjoys a glass of wine on the deck
Sarah enjoys a glass of wine on the deck
the view from our table
the view from our table
Crispy Chesapeake Oysters with grilled scallion remoulade
Crispy Chesapeake Oysters with grilled scallion remoulade
Arrancinis, saffron aioli
Arrancinis, saffron aioli
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

After our lazy afternoon, we go back into Charlottesville to check in to our hotel and relax a bit after our wine tasting.  Later, we go out for dinner at The Local, where Sarah has crab soup and mussels and I have meatloaf wrapped in bacon over mashed potatoes, accompanied by asparagus.  The highlight is the dessert, a blackberry cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream.   What a beautiful eating-and-drinking kind of day. 🙂

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10 thoughts on “a road trip to charlottesville: wandering the downtown mall & wine-tasting at pippin hill farm & vineyards

  1. It’s nice to see you enjoying outings not so different from the ones in Oman, but with family. That traveling instinct is alive and well, and seeks its outlet near or far, yes?

    1. You’re so right, Lynn. I’ll be doing a post soon, I think, about how I still have the wanderlust, despite being back in the USA for the long haul. I think there are plenty of travel opportunities right in my own back yard! It’s nice to do it with family, but I still find myself going alone, because they’re all busy doing their own things. I don’t think I can keep myself from traveling, although it will slow down a lot once I start work on August 29. 😦

  2. That food looks so good!! Much nicer than the meals you had in Portugal. The chicken soup, the oysters and that blackberry cobbler! And that lovely vineyard too – so lovely to have such great places to go virtually on your doorstep. A girls weekend – fab!

    1. I’m always a fan of chicken and dumplings, Jude. If I had my way, I’d eat so many dumplings I’d probably turn into one! It was such a fun mother-daughter weekend; I’m so glad we did it before school started, as I have NO time now!

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