Charlottesville, VA Travel Diary & Guide

A travel diary + guide to Charlottesville, VA. A little college town that you cannot miss! 

Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Two weekends ago, Morgan, Courtney, Brittany, and myself had a gals road trip and made our way to Charlottesville, VA. None of us had been to the historic college town but had heard great things. We had the trip planned for over three months and had been counting down the days for quite awhile! Needless to say, we were excited!

The drive is exactly five hours from Charlotte, NC and a very easy one! Especially when you can rotate drivers! We had the opportunity to try out a 2018 Toyota Camry. So snazzy! You may have seen it pop up on my Instagram stories, with it’s bright interior and sporty details. We felt cool driving this car! The best part, your speed reflects on the windshield so it’s always right in front of you. Goodbye speeding tickets! We were all also big fans of the adaptive cruise control, which slowed down when you were too close to the car in front of you and the lane departure warning. Both are amazing for longer trips! 

Today, I’m breaking down our trip – where we ate, what we did, and where we stayed. Plus, sharing some recommendations. 

Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | Where to Stay in Charlottesville VA | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog
Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | Where to Stay in Charlottesville VA | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog
Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | Where to Stay in Charlottesville VA | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog
Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | UVA Campus | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

What to Do 

Visit Vineyards

Okay, this is a MUST! You absolutely MUST visit vineyards if you are in the Charlottesville, VA area. It is truly a requirement {from me}. We visited two while there, Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard and King Family Vineyard. Both of these absolutely blew my away! From their wine to the views to their incredibly sweet and knowledgeable staff. I couldn’t sing their praises more!

Favorites Wines: 

Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard: Viognier 2016 and Chardonnay Reserve 2016

King Family Vineyard: Viognier 2016 and Crosé 2017

Tour UVA

Oh the campus is SO beautiful! I really didn’t even think about the campus when we were planning our trip and had zero intention of touring it {how rude}. However, Saturday was rather gloomy and we had no real plans in the afternoon so I convinced Morgan to walk around the campus with me. We were both in awe from the second we were surrounded by beautiful red brick buildings. 

There is so much history in this campus and the beauty of it is all around you. We ended up walking around for about an hour but I would have happily spent a full afternoon there. Honestly, I probably would have applied to go there if I had toured when I was in high school. The campus blew me away that much! I definitely recommend adding a walking tour of the campus to your itinerary when visiting Charlottesville. It is truly a must! 

Destress at the Spa

After enjoying wine and charcuterie boards all day, what would be better than a relaxing late afternoon or evening at the spa? Nothing, right? Charlottesville has several fabulous spas right in the heart of town {or close to} that are easy to get to and from if staying at The Graduate Charlottesville or nearby. If you’re in the mood for a little relaxation, check out these spas: The Spa at Boar’s HeadNeroli Spa & Beauty Lounge, Halo Salt Spa, and Sliver Lining Day Spa.
Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | Charlottesville Vineyards | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog
Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | Charlottesville Vineyards | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog
Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | Charlottesville Vineyards | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog
Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | Charlottesville Vineyards | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Where to Eat

Let me start by saying, we were blown away by every meal we had. We never left hungry and our bellies were always satisfied! Charlottesville is filled with pretty, delicious, and unique places to eat. 

Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

Our first stop on our road trip was Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. We had a wine tasting scheduled there and also ate lunch here. Their food for the most part is tapas style and it is incredible!

We went full on tapas, ordering four different dishes and shared them all. Our order consisted of: the Cheese Board, Charcuterie Board, Chicory & Kale Caesar, and Pippin Sliders {with fries}. Everything was truly amazing {and so beautifully presented} and if I had to pick a favorite, I would say it’s a tie between the Charcuterie Board and Pippin Sliders. 

Not only do they have delicious food but also wonderful wine {more to come on that below} and a view to take your breath away! 

Heirloom

We ended up popping up to Heirloom after checking in and getting settled into our rooms. Heirloom is the restaurant on property at The Graduate Charlottesville. On nice days, it also includes a rooftop patio for dining and sipping cocktails. 

Their menu is very unique and creative! You’ll find true southern dishes with a bit of a twist. I ended up being too full from lunch but the others ranted and raved about their chicken wingers and burger + fries. 

I would definitely love to go back in the summer and experience one of their cocktails out on the rooftop patio. 

Red Pump Kitchen

We dined here for brunch on Saturday and Oh.My.Yum! So many tasty dishes to choose between. I opted for the Buffalo Creek Burger {16Fontina Fondue, Bacon, House Pickles, Housemade Aioli, Fries}. Y’all it was SO good! I never wanted the burger or fries to end! 

Morgan and Brittany chose the Chicken and Waffles {Crispy Chicken Thigh, Rosemary Waffle, Brandy Jus}. Which looked so sinfully delicious! 

Courtney went full on southern with the Shrimp á la Polenta {16Florida Gulf Shrimp, Apple Wood Smoked Bacon, Creamy Polenta, Arugula}. Which in my opinion is always a great idea! 

We each also ordered a mimosa. Red Pump Kitchen offers a variety of mimosas {think mimosa bars you see at bridal showers} cranberry, orange, and pineapple. We tried every option and loved them all! 

Additional Spots

Basil Mediterranean Bistro
Insomnia Cookie
The Juice Laundry

Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | Where to Eat in Charlottesville VA | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog
Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | Where to Eat in Charlottesville VA | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog
Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | Where to Eat in Charlottesville VA | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog
Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | Where to Eat in Charlottesville VA | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Where to Stay 

The Graduate Charlottesville

I was beyond excited to stay at The Graduate Charlottesville. I have been following them via Instagram for months and have completely fallen in love with the aesthetic of their hotel. Currently, there are 11 Graduate Hotels – all located in dynamic college towns. Each one is decorated differently and in some way or another reflects the heritage and history of the college town it is located in. So much thought was made when putting together the decor and aesthetic of these hotels and that is so apparent from the second you walk in! 

The Graduate Charlottesville is quite preppy in my opinion. Old school college style with heavy woods, rose, blues, and emerald hues everywhere. There’s the Sheepdog Cafe with a We Are All Students neon sign. And a game room on the second floor filled with books, racketball rackets, and all wood bar. You instantly feel as though you’re being pulled back in time and it’s quite fun! 

The rooms are also perfectly preppy and have a classic Americana feel. From the plaid carpet to the blue marlin hanging over the bed. 

If you can’t tell, I was truly blown away with this boutique hotel! I honestly couldn’t recommend staying at a Graduate Hotel more! 

Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | Where to Stay in Charlottesville VA | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog
Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | Where to Stay in Charlottesville VA | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog
Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | Where to Stay in Charlottesville VA | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog
Charlottesville VA Travel Guide | Where to Stay in Charlottesville VA | Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

You can watch a little highlight reel from our trip here

Thank you to The Graduate Charlottesville, Pippin Hill Farm Vineyards, King Family Vineyards, and Red Pump Kitten for making this trip + experience possible! 

34 Comments

  1. March 5, 2018 / 9:45 am

    So glad you were able to experience CVILLE! It’s truly a magical place. Go hoos!

    xoxo

    • March 5, 2018 / 12:38 pm

      Aw thanks gal! Yay – you’ll definitely love it. Thank you for the photography compliment – so sweet!

      xo Laura Leigh

  2. Taylor Aube
    March 5, 2018 / 1:11 pm

    All of these food pics have me so hungry! It looks like such a lovely place to visit!

  3. March 5, 2018 / 2:10 pm

    Your outfits were so so good! Isn’t UVA just a dream? I love Charlottesville!

    • March 5, 2018 / 3:37 pm

      Ah thank you gal! Yes, it really is. I can’t wait to go back when it’s warmer and hopefully sunnier.

      xo Laura Leigh

  4. March 5, 2018 / 4:46 pm

    So happy we made the trip here and I’m thinking we need to go back to King Family Vineyards on Memorial Day weekend!!

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

    • March 6, 2018 / 8:10 am

      The vineyards are so beautiful! I highly recommend visiting them. Oh the burger was almost too good haha.

      xo Laura Leigh

  5. March 6, 2018 / 1:21 am

    This looks like such an amazing place babe!! If i’m ever in the area, i’ll definitely have to check this out!

    Kileen
    cute & little

    • March 6, 2018 / 8:12 am

      It really is! Couldn’t recommend spending a long weekend here more. It’s a special little town.

      xo Laura Leigh

  6. Julie
    March 6, 2018 / 9:17 am

    What an amazing review tour photos are so awesome, it truly makes me want to travel there for our next trip. Thanks for all the tips.

  7. Ruth Ridley
    March 6, 2018 / 9:32 am

    Your travel diaries are my favorite! I want to visit every where you go! Seriously goals! Stunning recap my friend!

    • March 6, 2018 / 11:30 am

      Thank you gal! It’s actually a maxi dress but the cooler temperatures required a sweater.

      xo Laura Leigh

  8. March 6, 2018 / 4:41 pm

    It is a few hours from us. I have been there twice and can’t wait to head back this spring. Loved your post.

    ❥ tanvii.com

    • March 6, 2018 / 5:08 pm

      Aw you are so lucky to be so close! Hope you have a wonderful time in the spring. Thank you gal!

      xo Laura Leigh

  9. March 6, 2018 / 5:43 pm

    I have never been here, but I am dying to visit! Maybe I can convince my husband to take me this summer 🙂

    • March 6, 2018 / 5:49 pm

      Yes! You absolutely should. Y’all should go to one of the polo matches at The King Family Vineyard.

      xo Laura Leigh

  10. March 8, 2018 / 5:19 pm

    Your pictures are making it a necessity to visit like, right this instant! The vineyards in particular look gorgeous.

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