Posted August 18, 2010 by Kate HammanSurrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville, Virginia, offers natural beauty in a small town atmosphere. Come discover an area rich in history and culture by taking a tour of Thomas Jefferson's former home, staying in a masterfully crafted inn, and snacking on to-die-for donuts made the old-fashioned way.
Monticello: Step inside the house depicted on the nickel to learn all about Thomas Jefferson. Completed in 1809, Monticello and its grounds have been restored to what the President would have called home during his retirement. You can see the gadgets, furnishings, and objects that made Jefferson such a unique man. Admission costs $15 or $20 (depending on season), and includes a tour of the house, grounds and gardens, and the 5,000 acres of plantation. Save money with a Presidents' Pass, where you can also tour the Ash Lawn-Highland (home of James Monroe) and Michie Tavern, as well as Monticello, for only $29 or $34.
The Dinsmore House Inn: The Dinsmore House Inn stands as a testament to the fine craftsmanship of Thomas Jefferson's master builder, James Dinsmore. Built in 1817, the property still maintains Dinsmore's architectural design. Choose from the inn's eight guest rooms, and enjoy extras such as complimentary drinks and snacks, an evening wine and cheese social hour, and an indoor pool. Rooms start at $109 per night, and include a full breakfast. You can also save a little by choosing from one of the inn's many package options.
The Spudnut Shop: Though not connected to Thomas Jefferson, the Spudnut Shop is a Charlottesville institution. With only a handful of places in the country still producing these potato-flour donuts, the cafe is living proof that some traditions are just too sweet to ever go away. The shop makes a variety of homemade spudnuts each day, including the plain glazed, which is an all-time favorite.
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(Photo: Klaas Lingbeek-van Kranen/IStockphoto)
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