Charlottesville and surrounding Albemarle county are ideal for nature lovers. Breathtaking views of mountains and valleys lie on Skyline Drive and The Blue Ridge Parkway, which allow visitors to view nature right from their cars. The Parkway runs from North Carolina to Rockfish Gap, changes to Skyline Drive, and continues north. Pull off the road at one of the vistas to snap a few photos of the Blue Ridge Mountains, or bring a picnic.
A combination of short and long trails wind through the woods off these roads. Views are particularly moving in the fall when leaves are changing into vivid colors. All these options are sure to satisfy hikers, bikers, skiers, and fishermen.
Other parks and recreation areas are closer to civilization. In Charlottesville, visitors will find a large number of parks with playgrounds, hiking trails, and picnic areas. Hike around the city on Rivanna Trail, and feast on a picnic at McIntire Park. The city also has public tennis courts and swimming pools.
Tucked away amid the parks and mountains is the University of Virginia, a public university that consistently ranks in the top 10 on lists ranking public universities. Established by Thomas Jefferson, "the University" strongly shapes community life and serves as the area's hub for sporting and cultural events.
The University of Virginia
has nationally acclaimed business and law schools. Excellence is also evident in
the faculty who have won awards for research in fields like environment,
medicine, education, and nursing. Seven libraries serve students and
The technology industry is an ever-growing sector in the local economy, and plans are currently underway to increase economic incentives for local technology companies.
More traditional industries like agriculture are also on display throughout the area. Take a drive in the countryside, and see lush fields filled with everything from horses to apples. Albemarle County ranks ninth in the state for having the most producing area, with 188,567 acres devoted to agriculture. Most of these acres are filled with vineyards, orchards, and cattle farms.
The grape business is currently the fastest growing agricultural industry in the region. Local wines and vineyards have been nationally recognized ever since Jefferson earned the title "Father of American Wine." Every year, Virginia ranks high among the country's wine producers. Local farmers also still produce apples, peaches, and nectarines, but farmers have recently shifted to growing grapes.
Tourists can see another local industry by viewing some of the 13,000 horses that are stabled in the city and surrounding county. Horse farms are everywhere, especially in the county. One of the area's signature events, Foxfield Races, lures horse lovers from around the country. These races are held every fall and spring.
*Permission granted by the Charlottesville Albemarle Chamber of Commerce
City of Charlottesville
Charlottesville Family Web Site