Charlottesville Day Trips

Day Trip to Sperryville

Downtown Sperryville

One of the fun aspects of being an innkeeper is that we need to know about our local attractions. This means we’re, um, FORCED to eat out, to visit Monticello now and then, even (gasp) go to the wineries and sample their wares. Recently, we’ve been thinking we should start sharing what we know about the possible Charlottesville day trips. And, wouldn’t you know it, life handed us the perfect opportunity!

Flame and Raven on our Charlottesville day trip
On our Adventure!

Flame is an artist, and was recently commissioned for a painting of Meem’s Bottom Bridge, one of the few remaining covered bridges in Virginia. In order to do it justice, she of course needed to visit it, get to know it. Fortunately, it’s relatively nearby – less than an hour and a half from the inn.

Off the Grid is Off the Charts

We got off to a rather late start, leaving the inn around 10:30. Our first stop was Sperryville, about an hour away. Sperryville is a quaint little village of around 350 people nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. Sitting on Route 211, it’s a gateway town to the Thornton Gap entrance to the Skyline Drive. The town has several wonderful art galleries, antique stores and specialty shops. On the way to town, you’ll pass Old Rag Mountain (the subject of several of Flame’s paintings).

Since it was near lunchtime, Raven’s thoughts were more on food than on scenery. Flame had done her research, and pointed us to Off the Grid, which joins our collection of Great Discoveries. 100% solar, they strive to be fully carbon neutral. You can read more about them here.

We both got the chicken, fig and goat cheese sandwich. Of course, they had gluten-free options. Their outside seating is breathtaking! A small creek separates their restaurant from their farm, and tables are set right at the creek’s edge. The gnats were somewhat annoying, but they provide citronella candles, which seemed to help.

If they were in Charlottesville, we would definitely be regulars!

People Drive Across THAT?

Our next destination was Meem’s Bottom Bridge. About 30 minutes of winding mountain roads with hairpin turns and beautiful vistas brought us to one of the last covered bridges in Virginia that is still in service. Built in 1892, it spans 204 feet, and driving through it is an experience!

You can read more about our time there at Flame’s blog – <<Link coming soon>>

A Story Book Turn

Flame and I both love to hike, though we need to take more sedate paths than we used to! Flame’s research turned up a place called Massanutten Storybook Trail. A short 1 mile hike on a paved path leads to a stunning overlook. It’s an easy trail for any level of hiker, with a wonderful rocky area to clamor around on near the overlook. Little side paths tend to just peter out, but give kids (and Ravens) places to explore. We still have no idea how it got its name.

Roads Not Taken

Future Charlottesville Day Trips

This area is rich in activities! Skyline Drive is beautiful, Luray Caverns and Shenandoah Caverns are both nearby. Massanutten has incredible hiking and winter sports. We’ll probably share some more Charlottesville day trips to this area – so many more things we could have done (and several that we have already explored)! But our day was drawing to a close, and Raven was hungry!

Dinner and More

Our final stop for the day was at the Headmaster’s Pub. Set in an old school, which also houses the Cottage Curator (sadly closed when we arrived) and the Schoolhouse Nine Golf Course, it boasts a game room with air hockey, pool and a number of vintage arcade games.

Once again (truly not our usual pattern) we both ordered the crunchy Thai chicken salad, and Raven finished with the peach cobbler. They have a very limited tap, but their bottled O’Dark Extra Irish Stout from 6 Bears & A Goat hit the spot! A very tasty and satisfying end to our day away!

Join us and Explore

Charlottesville has so much to offer that one could spend days exploring. But sometimes it’s fun to range farther afield. We’re happy to start this exploration of some Charlottesville day trips.

We’d love to see you at Fairhaven Guesthouse!

Where Is Thy Sting?

Ecological Inn-Keeping and a War on Yellow Jackets

One of the things we pride ourselves on at Fairhaven Guesthouse is our commitment to our own ever-expanding ecological awareness.

So, when the yellow jackets arrived, we knew we wanted to find a least-toxic approach to “controlling” them.

Now, we’ve lived here for over 10 years. Why this is the year that our yellow and black friends decided to move in, we have no idea. We’ve had paper wasps, of course, but not until now did any other stinging insect homestead on our property.

Or maybe other members of the family are better neighbors.

Yellow jacket nest
These guys do NOT make good neighbors
The first yellow jacket clan announced themselves while I was mowing the front lawn. Nothing subtle, no warning buzz-by, they went straight for my ankle. I’ve been stung a dozen times over the years, and nothing’s hurt as much as these guys. Other than the shrieking and running around, kicking off shoes and socks as I leaped about, I think I handled it rather stoically.

The second, even worse, chose to assault one of our guests. Unacceptable.

Styling in my Anti-Yellow Jacket Jacket
Styling in my Anti-Yellow Jacket Jacket
Flame and I don’t like needless killing, even of insects. When possible, we relocate, or use natural repellents. But there are limits. When a ground hog first started devastating our garden, Flame began looking up recipes (fear not, we relocated the varmint). And we’ve sent many, many mosquitoes off to whatever afterlife they qualify for (a tip of the hat to Cher, where-ever she is, who always said “Go to the light!” before swatting one, trying to balance her Karmic debt). And running an inn, we just can’t have these squatters terrorize our guests. So we searched for low-toxic methods, and found several suggestions. The LEAST toxic method was brilliant in its simplicity – just cover the entrance with a glass bowl. Yellow jackets will keep flying into the glass, trying to get through, and the nest will starve (not humane, admittedly, but it uses no chemicals).

Great in theory, but on anything other than super-flat, loamy soil, it’s hard to get the bowl snug over the nest. It took several nights (IMPORTANT TIP, only approach the nest at night! And dress appropriately!) and several variations to get it right. The bowl needed to be edged by soil to seal them in. Otherwise, a few figured out how to get out, and kept the rest fed.

Mesh with tire, seemed good, but they crawled under the tire
First tried mesh with tire, seemed good, but they crawled under the tire.
Metal with stones, better, but still they crawled out under the edges
Metal with stones, better, but still they crawled out under the edges.
Goldilocks! Glass baking dish with soil pressed around the edges.
Goldilocks! Glass baking dish with soil pressed around the edges. No escapees.

The article we read suggested this method would take 2 days. For us, after 2 weeks, they seem to be gone. Another week to be sure, and I’ll stop pulling my socks over my pants again.

Meet, Eat and Drink Coffee – Grit Cafe

There are an incredible number of coffee shops in Charlottesville, and Flame and Grit Cafe I have tried most of them. We like to do our planning and administrative meetings out – there are just so many distractions at home (I say as I try to write this at home with Netflix playing).

Since so many people end up needing a place to meet, we thought it might be useful to give our thoughts on the various cafes.

Continue reading Meet, Eat and Drink Coffee – Grit Cafe

The Architect and our 1st First

Montpelier CloseupOne of the wonderful duties of being an innkeeper is learning about the various attractions available. We’ve lived in central Virginia for nearly 20 years, and there are so many places we haven’t been. Because of Fairhaven, we’ll be rectifying this.

Last week, Flame  and I closed the inn for a couple of days, and went out exploring in Orange County. We did it for fun, of course, but also to start finding out what Orange has to offer our guests. And it has a lot.

Continue reading The Architect and our 1st First

A Budget Bed And Breakfast in Charlottesville, VA