Nov 28th, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Seniors Drop In On Charlottesville

Why Charlottesville, seniors? Well to begin with Frommer’s Cities Ranked and Rated has named Charlottesville the Best Place to Live in America! The new publication rated over 400 cities in the United States and Canada in ten different categories, and found that the Charlottesville metropolitan area attained the top overall rating in the U.S. The ten evaluated categories included Economy & Jobs, Cost of Living, Climate, Education, Health & Healthcare, Crime, Transportation, Leisure, Arts & Culture and overall Quality of Life. The city is no stranger to accolades and it has a large series of attractions and venues for its relatively small size. The city is named after Princess Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the wife of King George III of England.

Charlottesville is best known as the home to two U.S. Presidents, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.  The University of Virginia is the only university in the United States to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it shares this honor with Monticello, Jefferson’s mountain-top home.

Three main things attract senior visitors to Charlottsville: history, nature, and the University of Virginia. Friendly locals and amazing dining options are an added bonus. There’s a lot of touring to be done, but it is suggested dividing your schedule between tours and outdoor activities. Everyone seems to enjoy the historical sites. Bring your walking shoes, and plan to spend plenty of time outside. A visit to Charlottesville isn’t complete without a stop at the Downtown Mall. It 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.

In the past 20 years, Charlottesville has exploded from the little town that Jefferson built into a diverse cultural center and a real city in its own right.  But like any southern town, Charlottesville holds tightly to its roots. The area’s rich history is more than just Thomas Jefferson; however, you will find his influence everywhere you go, and even almost 200 years after our 3rd president’s death, he remains Charlottesville’s main tourist draw. Virginia is known as the Mother of Presidents, and many of those and other well-known figures—like Dave Matthews and Sissy Spacek—have called Charlottesville home.

So seniors, come to Charlottesville to see some of our nation’s earliest history and architecture. Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway and hike in the Shenandoah National Park. Sample Virginia wine on a vineyard tour, stroll the beautiful Grounds at UVA, and dine in with 5-star cuisine, or chat with U Va students and townies at local cafe.

The city of Charlottesville, rich in history and one of the oldest municipalities in the country, will be celebrating 250 years (1762-2012).  Charlottesville’s quality of life is tough to beat: The nearby Blue Ridge Mountains provide endless hiking opportunities, and oenophiles enjoy the growing number of vineyards surrounding the city. The city offers good schools and a low cost of living — and right at its heart is a walkable, almost European pedestrian mall with numerous theaters, restaurants, cafes, artists, and musicians.

Seniors Enjoy Cultural Activities

There is no lack for entertainment and whether you are talking music, art, or theater Charlottesville  is becoming known as the hub of cultural activities in the Mid-Atlantic. The city boasts the new John Paul Jones Arena, hosting international talent.  The downtown Pavilion and the newly restored Jefferson Theater host dozens of nationally-acclaimed artists each season.  The historic Paramount Theater boasts famous musicians, comedians, and speakers and there are numerous entertainment venues at the University of Virginia.

Popular side trips include a tour through the Shenandoah and Smoky Mountains. Lonely Planet is big on Charlottesville as is Frommer’s Complete Guide. See you in VA.  jeb

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