Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville is a colourful, vibrant city overflowing with charm and character. The city and its surroundings offer a wealth of activities and attractions for all interests and ages: fine art museums, theater, symphony and operatic productions, equestrian events, and the nationally recognized Virginia Film Festival. In addition, guests can enjoy touring the area's many award-winning vineyards and fine antique shops.
Charlottesville's beauty is surpassed only by that of the natural surroundings that cradle it. The four seasons bring with them four wondrous backdrops, each one a visual masterpiece. Guests of Keswick Hall find themselves in the serene countryside of Central Virginia that Thomas Jefferson described as "the Eden of the United States".
The history of Charlottesville is intertwined with that of our nation through some of its foremost statesmen and national figures. The city was fortuitously spared the brunt of the American Civil War, allowing much of the original architecture to survive. American history buffs can experience this legacy throughout Charlottesville, in the nearby homes of three Founding Fathers, and Thomas Jefferson's "academic village" at the University of Virginia.
With the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west and the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean to the East, Charlottesville finds itself spectacularly well suited to the ancient art of viniculture. Visitors to Charlottesville have the opportunity to visit over 20 vineyards, breweries and cideries that dot the Albemarle County countryside. These are just a few favorites:
Charlottesville Historic Downtown Mall
Charlottesville's dining, entertainment and shopping District. A visit to Charlottesville isn't complete without a stop at the Downtown Mall. It is one of the most beautiful and successful pedestrian malls in the nation, and it's located in historic downtown Charlottesville.
A wonderful mix of restored and renovated buildings that typified small "downtowns" throughout the country can now be seen by visitors as they enjoy shopping, dining and visiting along the brick-paved pedestrian area. The Downtown Mall is a vibrant collection of more than 120 shops and 30 restaurants (many with outdoor cafes) housed in the historic buildings on and around old Main Street. Enjoy dining al fresco (in season) at a number of fine restaurants, try shopping at one of the unique boutiques or meander by flowing fountains.
For family fun, it's easy to cool off in our ice park or take your children to the hands-on Virginia Discovery Museum. Enjoy attending a movie or play in one of the many fine theaters, or simply relax under magnificent oak trees along the red bricked mall. Convenient parking in nearby garages and parking lots, as well as free trolley service connecting the Downtown Mall to the University of Virginia along West Main Street make a visit to downtown easy for visitors of all ages.
Barracks Road Shopping Center
More than 80 upscale shops, restaurants, and services (hours of operation vary by store, please contact individual retailers and restaurants for specific hours) including home furnishings and accessories, women's apparel, men's apparel, children's apparel and toys, jewelry and accessories, books, cards and gifts.
The home of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statue for Religious Freedom, and the founder of the University of Virginia.
The home of James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States.
The lifelong home of James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, architect of the Bill of Rights and the fourth President of the United States.
UVA Rotunda and Central Grounds
The original Grounds of the University, including the Rotunda and the Lawn, were designed by Jefferson to be what he called an "Academical Village".
The University of Virginia
The history, the architecture and the grounds of the University of Virginia make it a must-see site during any visit to the region. Established by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, and opened in 1825 to 123 students, the University of Virginia, the only university in the United States to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lends a stately grace to the city. The university became the first in the United States to allow specializations in a diversity of fields, breaking away from the traditional three subjects, Medicine, Law and Religion, offered by most at the time, and allowing students to study the likes of Astronomy, Architecture, Philosophy, and Political Science. Jefferson explained, "This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead."
183 years since it first opened its doors, the university is now home to some 20,000 students, has 10 schools in Charlottesville, and offers a myriad of different courses, having grown into a highly-respected place of learning.