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[vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1603417545452{padding-top: 0px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;}” el_class=”hptext”]Not every town has unparalleled vistas, a Cab Franc made at the hands of the same person pouring it, or Dave Matthews and John Grisham walking by as you enjoy lunch at a café on its historic pedestrian mall—but Charlottesville does.

It’s urban and bucolic, historic yet modern. There are boundless hiking trails, wedding venues, wineries, breweries, boutique retail shops, and theaters (not to mention more restaurant seats than there are people to fill them). It’s for the limitless adventurer, the wine-taster, the music-seeker, and the family searching for a new experience.

At Charlottesville Insider, our goal is simple: to showcase Charlottesville by curating our ideas about what makes it unique. Follow our insiders to see what’s new, find exclusive deals, or simply figure out how to spend your day in our favorite city.

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Gotta get away? Charlottesville’s array of inns, hotels, and unhotels (just wait for it) provide lots of options for your home away from home. Here are five of our favorites unique and boutique, locally owned hotels.

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🍜🍚 We stopped in the new @changthaivirginia on Emmet St. for dinner. The interior was bright and comfortable, service was excellent, and the food was delicious! ...

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☕️🥮 Cou Cou Rachou is a little hidden gem over on Preston Avenue. This charming bakery serves the finest French breads, pastries, and custom wedding cakes made with local, organic ingredients. Owner Rachel De Jong, who received her pastry chef certification from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, refined her skills at @gearhartschocolates, The Inn at Little Washington, and as the executive pastry chef at The Wool Factory’s @theworkshop_cville, opened @coucourachou in November 2021. Open Thursday - Sunday 7am-3pm - treat yourself! 😋

@innatlittlewash @the_wool_factory

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🎞️ The Paramount Theater then and now! @theparamounttheater is giving free historical tours of the theater on the following dates and times...

🗓️ Saturday, January 21st at 11am
🗓️ Wednesday, January 25th at 11am and 5:30pm
🗓️Saturday, February 11th at 11am
🗓️Wednesday, March 15th at 11am and 5pm
🗓️Saturday, March 25th at 11am

Visit @theparamounttheater for more info!

Image credit: Ed Roseberry

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🍩🤫Insider tip: @cafebradbury does Spudnuts every Friday!

We’ve given you some ideas for the outdoors and fitness in the new year…but today, and every Friday…you deserve a donut. 😃

☕️ The Bradbury Cafe is open M-F 8am-2pm, is centrally located on the downtown mall as part of @thebradburydowntown, and offers espresso, hot breakfast sandwiches, and brick oven pizza for lunch on the go!
Provisions by @hmcatering

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🍸For this month’s bartender feature we sat down with Cris Morales of @tonic_cville, who mixed up a “Sage Advice” sage mojito, a new drink on the menu as of last week that will stay on through February. We love how Tonic is always changing up their drink menu, with efforts to include fresh and local ingredients. Their menu features multiple dessert drinks, such as their Downtown Flip and Hot Buttered Rum. They have a nice selection of draft beer and cider, and are adding draft kombucha as well! For all of you “dry January” folks out there, you will love Tonic for their new slogan and philosophy “zero to 100”, offering a great selection of non-alcoholic cocktails in addition to the spirited ones - all year round! And if you’re wondering about the “Sage Advice” mojito...simply delicious! Stop by and see Cris and follow his account @happyybartender! ...

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🥃🍽️ Marigold by Jean-Georges at Keswick Hall provides upscale cuisine prepared with fresh, local and organic ingredients with an ever-changing menu. Thanks to @keswick_hall for allowing us to share this photo of their beautiful space. We look forward to a visit to @marigoldkeswick at the end of the month! Stay tuned as we'll be sharing our experience and any recommendations! ...

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🌅 Sweet aerial shot of the sun setting over the Charlottesville Reservoir by @aerowingva on 1-13-23. 📸👏 ...

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🔦 In continuing with our theme of sharing outdoor/fitness ideas for the new year, we suggest checking out Nelson County's Blue Ridge Tunnel for an adventure near Charlottesville!

🚴🏼 🥾 In late 2020, after a decade of stabilization work and restoration, this historic tunnel was opened to visitors to hike, bike, and explore both the tunnel and surrounding park. A 2.3 mile crushed stone path from one parking area to the other, the Afton lot is .6 miles from the tunnel with an easy grade, while the Waynesboro lot is about a mile to the tunnel with a steeper grade. The tunnel itself is .81 miles long. The Blue Ridge Tunnel was originally constructed in the 1850s beneath Rockfish Gap and at the time of its construction, this was the longest railroad tunnel in North America.

💡Insider tips: The tunnel holds year-round temperatures of about 50 degrees. In the summer, the tunnel will feel refreshingly cool and in the winter, welcomingly warm (but dress in layers because there can be wind!). Don't forget to bring a flashlight ‼️ and wear hiking boots or shoes that can get dirty or damp.

📍How to get there: There are trailheads at either end of the trail, on GPS one is called the East Trailhead in Afton, VA (215 Afton Depot Lane), and the West Trailhead in Waynesboro (483 Three Notched Highway). Remember that the hike from the west end is more challenging due to the steeper grades on that end.

📸 We love this shot of the tunnel by Jack Looney! @jack_looney_photo

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🍝 Cajun Chicken Pappardelle by @lucepastacville! Back to our regularly scheduled programming of sharing Charlottesville's most delicious eats and drinks! Luce offers a small but perfect menu of "real-deal" pastas rolled, filled, and cut by hand. Order ahead of time and pick up from the cutest "hole in the wall" under the streetlight on a side street off the downtown mall. Fired pizza is offered Thursday-Saturday, and don't miss their cult-favorite kale salad, ever-shifting selection of gelati, and heavenly cheesecake. 😋 ...

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🚴🏼 🏃‍♀️ If you’re looking for a great place to run, bike, or hike, Sugar Hollow has you covered for all! About 15 miles northwest of Charlottesville you will find a beautiful and relatively flat stretch of road that runs along the Moormans River to Sugar Hollow Reservoir and dam. This is a nice low traffic area with multiple bridge crossings. An out and back bike ride or run from the Piedmont Store (2958 Browns Gap Turnpike in Crozet), you can get in up to 10 miles round trip on the paved road. Or if you prefer soft surface and trails, the paved road turns to dirt at the dam, taking you to a parking area with two different trail options, eventually connecting to the Skyline Drive and Appalachian Trail. This area is great for families and fitness enthusiasts alike, as you can choose your own adventure. In the summer, take a hike to “Blue Hole”, a popular natural swimming hole. In the spring, don’t miss the sprawling daffodils along Sugar Hollow Road - they are spectacular! ...

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🌿Crabtree Falls, the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River, located in Nelson County is a hike you don't want to miss this year! Just an hour drive from Charlottesville, Crabtree Falls features a series of five major cascades and a number of smaller ones that fall a total distance of 1,200 feet. The first overlook is just a few hundred feet from the parking lot along a gentle, paved trail perfect for travelers of all ages and abilities. If you're looking for more adventure, continue along the 3-mile trail to four other overlooks offering spectacular views of the Crabtree Creek Falls and lovely vistas of the Tye River Valley. From the upper falls, the trail follows the creek another 1.2 miles to the Crabtree Meadows.

📸 @visitnelsoncounty

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