On Friday Andy and I drove up to Charlottseville, which is about a two and a half hour drive. We had planned to stop and drop our stuff at the place we were staying before going to dinner, but we ended up leaving half an hour later than we wanted to so we skipped that and went straight to dinner at this place called The Local, which a friend of Andy's had recommended to us. Unfortunately we got there and they were like oh, our kitchen doesn't open for another 30 minutes, so that was a bit of a bummer. We stretched our legs and ordered cocktails at the bar and read the menu. After agonizing over the menu, we both ordered steak frites. I wish I had taken a picture of the steak plates, because they steaks we got were absolutely enormous! I did get a picture of my fry cone, which was amply sized as well. This place had really legit serving sizes for a nicer place.
After dinner we headed downtown to the concert venue. Has anyone else had trouble with their Apple Maps since updating to iOS 7? Mine was acting wacko. We got there right at 7 when the show was set to start, and were surprised to see tons of seats still available. We grabbed some great seats and Andy bought a cup of wine.
This DJ came on for the opening act and we weren't really into it. Not the right kind of music to just sit and watch, though I'm sure it would've worked great in a dance club. He didn't say who he was and when he was done he exited the stage without ceremony. We then sat and waited over an hour for the XX to take the stage. That was awesome.
I was pretty peeved by the ludicrous wait time (2X the length of the actual show, including the time the DJ was on), especially since it made me really tired and lethargic. The show was really awesome though. The lights were beautiful, the performances were great, the DJ/percussionist guy was interesting to watch, and the vocals were better live than recorded. After the show we popped into a trendy rooftop bar and Andy had a couple of cocktails and I sucked down a glass of water. I was mega dehydrated.
After that we went home and chatted with our hosts (more about that tomorrow) and pooped out and went to bed.
Saturday morning we got up and went to breakfast at this place both Andy's friend and our hosts recommended to us. By the time we got there it was a bit of a wait, so we put our names in and walked around the farmer's market for a piece, which was really nice. I bought this Hungarian pastry that I ate for breakfast Sunday morning. It was awesome.
I don't know how well you can read the menu on the left, but their specials were insane. So many creative, innovative combinations. We wanted to try everything. I ended up being a little disappointed with what I ordered, but Andy's dish was amazing.
After breakfast we tried to drive around the UVA campus, but it was a game day and the traffic wasn't worth it. We decided to head out to Monticello. Upon reaching the visitor's center, we realized you had to buy a ticket to walk around the grounds or go inside the buildings. That ticket costs 24 dollars. Say what?! We were really not expecting that. It was super drizzly and grey and dreary, so we decided it was not the day to pay 24 dollars for a scenic tour. We will definitely be going back for it, even though that price is outrageous.
Heading away from Monticello, we stopped at the Mitchie Tavern, which is this cool little collection of ye old style looking shops and a restaurant.
We were considering leaving Charlottesville at that point. It was 1 or so in the afternoon and I thought, maybe we'll stop on the way home and do some shopping. Then something awesome happened. We stumbled across some vineyards.
The first one we stopped at was Trump Winery, which is owned by Donald Trump's son. They offered 8 wine tastings for I think 8 dollars. The staff there was so friendly and they were all super interested and asking all of these questions when Andy and I said we are writers. The guy who take care of us most of the time chatted with us the whole time offered to let us re-taste things as we pleased. All of the staff kept telling us how good the BLT is but we weren't really hungry. We actually went to the second winery, suddenly got super hungry, and came back for lunch. Andy and I split a BLT and a Margherita Pizza and they were both delicious and light and came with a simple little salad. That was definitely the best BLT I've ever had. Soft bread! Broiled tomato! Aioli! Thick cut bacon! Andy and I are going to do our darndest to replicate it at home.
I don't know why, but I just loved these little plants on the table. I really want one.
This is the gorgeous view from the back of the Trump Winery. Doesn't it look like this could have been taken in Ireland?
Blenheim Winery (owned by Dave Matthews) was 5 tastings for 5 dollars. The guy who poured for us told us all about the wine making process. He was super knowledgeable. The tasting room was actually above the production room, so we got to look down at it and he pointed a couple of things out to us.
The last vineyard we went to was Jefferson, where you got 11 tastings and the woman taking care of us gave us enormous pours in enormous glasses and it was just unreal how much wine we consumed. All three places were very friendly and very generous. We also brought home six new wine glasses because each place let us take our tasting glasses home afterward (this is pretty standard). Seriously, if you don't already have a set of wineglasses, go do a few tastings and you'll be good to go.
I had to check us in on Facebook and comment on the size of the pours. We actually hung out a bit looking at the gorgeous views out back so Andy could digest a little before driving us home.
Andy looks so Irish in all of these pictures. It's because the background is so freakin green.
We came home and lounged and went to bed early. We loved Charlottesville and will definitely be going back soon. Next time I think we'll have a somewhat tighter itinerary, so we can get in stuff like the observatory and Monticello and other restaurants on our list. Though we did spend a fair amount of money on tastings and food, the concert was free, gas was about 50 bucks and my tank isn't empty, and the place we stayed was really cheap. Overall, it was a totally reasonable mini trip. What a great way to cross a goal off the 24 Before 24 list.
What did you do this weekend?
Yours Truly, Jen