This past Labor Day weekend, we traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia to meet up with some dear friends that we met while we lived in Texas as newlyweds. Now, both of our families have little girls around the same age, and we all picked up right where we left off, even though it had been years since we were all together.
We decided to rent a home for the weekend so we could really unwind and experience the town as locals. HomeAway had a cute little bungalow situated right in downtown Charlottesville, three blocks from the downtown mall. The house was across the street from a cemetery (so it was quiet!), and the neighborhood was really charming.
As soon as we walked in, my heart swelled when I saw the kitchen. Even in the gloomy light of the cloudy day, this cozy place was just what we needed to have a relaxing home-cooked meal, made to the tune of a string of Tony Bennett songs. This place had all the comforts of home, but left us wanting to return for many more long weekends to come.
What I love about staying in a home, as opposed to a hotel, is that you get to experience the local culture without having to plan touristy agendas. Our next door neighbor played classical music from his front porch as he trimmed his garden, and we woke up to the sounds of birds chirping rather than the tap tap tap of "housekeeping!" I could easily make my morning Bulletproof Coffee, but could also run into town for a quick walk too.
The best part of all was walking to and from the downtown mall, which is a very European style pedestrian walk with shops, cafes, restaurants, and everything in between. There was a buzz of people out and about, but with very laid-back southern charm, so there were lots of hellos exchanged with those we crossed paths with (a little different than New York City for sure).
Additionally, we spent very little eating out since we had a fabulous space to get creative in the kitchen with the quaint back patio for outdoor eating. Whole Foods and Trader Joes were just a few miles away, so we had plenty of access to fresh foods and other favorite convenience items. Charlottesville had so much to see and do (wineries, Monticello, UVA, local farms, historical landmarks, etc.) and it was nice to have the option to lay low or see everything in one weekend. We opted for a balance of the two, that way there is more to check out next time we visit. Have you been to Charlottesville? Now I know why everyone raves about it!