“Once you make your home here, it's nearly impossible to leave. There seems to be something that draws us back, not just a feeling of missing home, but the feeling you are missing out on something if you are not here.” resembles an actual wine cave. It’s funky, fun and loaded with atmosphere. “Despite the growth, there’s still a small-town feel to Charlottesville, especially in the downtown area,” says Harllee. “There’s a real sense of community and local issues matter a lot. In the course of a day, I encounter poets, novelists, dancers, actors, visual artists— everybody seems to have something they do, some passion they pursue beyond their job.” One of those passions could include the business of wine-making: There are some 25 vineyards in the Charlottesville area, most notably White Hall, Barboursville, Keswick, Blenheim and King Family. “I think of Charlottesville as laid back and kind of quirky,” says Amy Gardner, 40, owner since 1994 of shoe boutique Scarpa on Barracks Road. “It’s full of interesting and eclectic people who are bright and creative.” Gardner, who looks like a fresh-faced college student, embodies hip, young Charlottesville. She is just one of a number of shop owners who purvey goods to an affluent, plugged-in clientele. Yves Delorme on the mall sells luxurious bedding (a not so local secret is this shop’s blowout Thanksgiving sale), and Caspari’s flagship store on Main Street showcases (in addition to its paper goods) furniture accents with a European twist. The Warehouse District—a new area of shops in former industrial buildings bordering Garrett Street—includes stores like C&A Camp. Owner Carlin Stargill Camp, 47, describes her stylish international inventory as “classic luxury.” (I have my eye on a fabulous Cari Borja asymmetrical coat that Camp carries.) “If I had only one word to describe Charlottesville,” says Carol Troxell, 63, owner of New Dominion Bookshop located on East Main Street, the oldest independent bookseller in Virginia, “it would be ‘smart.’” Troxell moved to Charlottesville in 1971, and though the city has changed dramatically during that time, she says its overall tenor has remained the same. “Charlottesville is still full of an interesting mix of people who are engaged with the world.” That mix of people balloons by more than 20,000 when classes are in session at the University of Virginia. UVA, established by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, may be Charlottesville’s
national average. The small-town, big-university best-known institution, and with good reason. atmosphere attracts a cosmopolitan and diverse Ranked in 2011 as the number two best public crowd, many of whom have been lured by the bevy university by U.S. News & World Report (tied with of top rankings the city has earned. It has been the University of California Los Angeles), UVA named one of the Top “Brainiest” Metropolitan has earned the top one or two spots every year Areas by The Atlantic magazine, the Healthiest Place since the publication began ranking public to Live by Men’s Journal magazine, and the 4th Best universities 14 years ago. Additionally, UVA Place to Live in the Country by Kiplinger’s Magazine. ranks in the top 25 of America’s best universities, Ric Barrick, director of communications for the both public and private. And its history is deep. city, says that the population increased by 8.5% Located on the west side of town, Jefferson’s between 2000 and 2010. Indeed, the floodgates Academical Village is the campus’ centerpiece. may have opened in earnest when, in 2004, Cities Known as the Lawn for the terraced greensward Ranked & Rated named Charlottesville the #1 Best it overlooks, the U-shaped design is crowned by City to live in. the Rotunda (based on Rome’s Pantheon) and The town-cum-city continues to attract features a long colonnade fronting the original 54 growth and development, especially downtown student rooms and 10 larger structures known as (where the current retail vacancy pavilions. Housing for professors and Above, from left: rate is significantly lower than the their classrooms, the pavilions are of McGuffey Art Center national average) and around the unique design, intended to reflect the on Second Street; university. Martha Jefferson Hospital various branches of learning and to is expanding and will move to the showcase different architectural orders. the Paramount Theater on the mall; Pantops area, completing a communityNowadays, the rooms on the Lawn as O'Suzannah's on driven transformation to mixed-use well as the parallel Range (site of Edgar Fourth Street. development that will include office Allen Poe’s room) are highly prized. space, condominiums and a hotel. Worldstrides, My fellow locals occasionally gripe about the an educational student travel company, will take constant construction and endless expansion of up space on Water Street, bringing with it 375 the UVA campus. I must admit I enjoy the summer, jobs. The university, too, has several large projects when parking spaces at the Corner are plentiful in the works, adding to it the SoHo (South of and the lines at Bodo’s bagel restaurant’s three Hospital) plan, which will bring in mixed-use locations shrink. But all in all, people recognize commercial, residential and research space just the boon the university affords the town: UVA and south of the newly expanded University Hospital. its health system are the area’s largest employers And poised to bank on downtown development, providing over 17,000 jobs according to the city’s City Walk, a 300-unit apartment complex, is set to 2010 Comprehensive Financial Report. break ground early next year. Says Ida Lee Wooten, director of community Suzannah Fischer, 45, owner of gift shop relations at the university: “City residents do O’Suzannah’s on Fourth Street, says, “I take huge express concern about traffic in the university area, pride in being a C-ville native. I think the city but in the past two decades I’ve seen the university feels progressive and puts an emphasis on families and city of Charlottesville increasingly working and community. Once you make your home here, together to build a strong community.” it’s nearly impossible to leave. There seems to be Charlottesville is “a progressive city that values something that draws us back, not just a feeling of education, the environment, social justice, the missing home, but the feeling you are missing out arts and our history and is a cultural, social and on something if you are not here.” • economic hub in Central Virginia,” says Mayor Dave Norris, 41, who has lived in Charlottesville since 1995. Norris points out that unemployment >> For more, go to VirginiaLiving.com/Cville in the city is consistently lower than the V i r g i n i a
L i v i n g
8/24/11 6:01 PM
Published on Sep 1, 2011
The October 2011 issue of Virginia Living is the tastiest yet, featuring our favorite pairings of cheese and wine, with every crumb and drop...