Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Taste Wines at Montpelier and Monticello!

Monticello's Wine Festival is held on the West Lawn
of Thomas Jefferson's home.
May brings us two of Central Virginia's most prominent wine festivals -- the Montpelier Wine Festival at James Madison's estate in Orange County on Saturday, May 4th, and the Monticello Wine Festival at Thomas Jefferson's home on Saturday, May 11th.   These festivals will feature wines from some of the area's best vineyards, including Barboursville Vineyards, Trump Vineyards and Virginia Wine Works (all of whom received gold medals in the recent Virginia Governor's Cup wine competition).  These are
great opportunities to sample some superb wines, learn about Virginia's leading vineyards and winemakers, and experience the homes of some of our country's founders.      

Sunday, April 28, 2013

UVA Reunions Weekend

In June, UVA will host Reunions Weekend, and Bob's Class of 1973 will be celebrating the 40th year since its members walked the Lawn and took their degrees.  The UVA Class of '73 will hold its reunion dinner on the porticos next to the Rotunda.  Interestingly, in November, 1824, another 40th (+) reunion took place at the University, when the Marquis de Lafayette returned to America, and was honored at a dinner at the Rotunda attended by former presidents Jefferson and Madison, and by the president at the time, James Monroe.  It had been just over 40 years since Lafayette had helped America win the Revolution.        

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Saving the Rotunda

If you're interested in historic preservation, you'll appreciate this story about the Rotunda, which symbolizes the University of Virginia and the vision of its founder, Thomas Jefferson.  Since last year, the Rotunda has been undergoing some major repairs.   It will soon have a new copper roof (the 4th covering since the building was constructed beginning in 1822), and the scaffolding erected during construction will be coming down, just in time for graduation exercises.  For a fascinating account of the history, construction and renovation of the Rotunda, see this article which appeared in the Winter 2012 edition of the University of Virginia Magazine.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Charlottesville's "Fridays After Five" Free Concerts

Charlottesville's nTelos Pavilion, at the east end of the Downtown Walking Mall, is the place to hear live music from April through September.  The City recently began its 2013 "Fridays After Five" concerts.  Here's the schedule through May:

April 19 : NO BS Brass Band with Grits & Gravy (Modern Funk  Brass Band)

April 26 : Cha Cha's Cadillac with Erin Lunsford & The Smokey Bandits (Rockabilly Country)

May 3 : Groove Train with Bluestep (Return of Disco!)

May 10 : William Walter & Company with Special Guest DJ Williams with Tara Mill & Yankee Dixie (High Energy Rock and Twang)

May 17 : Abbey Road with The Currys (Beatles, Beatles & Beatles)

May 24 : Beleza with Morro Azul Samba School (Funkalicious Samba Soul)

May 31 : Turnpike Troubadors with Carl Anderson (Rowdy Heartland Americana)

For out-of-town guests:  these are local groups, some just playing for fun, and some hoping to make the big time like the Dave Matthews Band.  Enjoy their music -- maybe one day you'll see one of them on a national tour, or receiving a Grammy or Country Music award!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Surfin' and Turfin' With WVPT and The Embers

While Charlottesville was celebrating Thomas Jefferson's 270th birthday, WVPT, Virginia's public television station, held a beach party benefit at Foxfield Race Track, which is why the event was dubbed "Surf on the Turf." The Embers Band (not as old as TJ - only been around since 1958) rocked the grass with its ageless gets-you-movin' beach music.

If you missed the event, there's good news -- you can still support WVPT, with its excellent PBS broadcasts such as the "Downton Abbey" series, and you can experience an Embers performance at a number of places in the South.  The Embers perform over 200 times a year.  Bring your dancin' shoes!


Monday, April 8, 2013

What's Goin' On . . . in April?

Yay, winter has left us.  The Inn and all of Charlottesville are looking glorious once again.  Time to visit!  Here are some reasons why you should:

1.     It's Garden Week.  Beginning April 20th and continuing through the 27th, visitors can experience firsthand some of the most beautiful buildings and grounds in the entire Commonwealth.  Many are also historically significant.  Start with Morven on Saturday the 20th, with a tour of the formal gardens.  Morven is a large estate now owned by the University of Virginia.  Thomas Jefferson originally purchased the land for William Short, his "adoptive son" and personal secretary when he was Minister to France in the 1780's.  After Morven, head over to the University and see the Lawn area and the gardens and serpentine walls behind Pavilions II, IV and VI.  Chat with some of the students who live on the Lawn, and maybe take a tour of a room.  Lawn residents are unfailingly polite, and they're bound to be in a good mood -- they're graduating in a month!

2.   UVA Baseball Team Is Rollin'.  Now ranked no. 4 in the country, the UVA Baseball Team is 29-3.    They have home games later this month against Radford, Old Dominion, Florida State, Richmond and George Mason.  Unable to catch a Nats game?  Come see the 'Hoos!

3.   Try Out Your Palate at Some New Wineries.  Mount Juliet Vineyards, a/k/a Grace Estate Winery, is opening this month.  Jake Busching, the winemaker-in-residence, has a reputation for producing some fantastic wines.  And like many of the wineries in the western Albemarle and Nelson County areas, the property is beautiful.

4.  To Infinity and Beyond!  We went to public night at UVA's Fan Mountain Observatory last October, and saw some amazing celestial bodies through its telescopes.  Fan Mountain is hosting another public night on April 12th, and its cousin, the McCormick Observatory, is open on April 19th.  Come out and see the stars -- it's free!