Despite the dreary weather, we discovered that the Shenandoah Valley is a beautiful part of our country. Here’s Part 1 of the trip report!
A Long Drive
We set off on our 5 hour drive around 4 pm on Friday afternoon. We were blessed with minimal traffic and made it to our hotel around 10 pm (including a quick stop at Cracker Barrel – which seem to be located every 5 miles down south). Our first night was at The Holiday Inn Charlottesville – Monticello which turned out to be clean, roomy, and fairly modern.
Oh, What a Breakfast
The week before our trip I researched a few potential restaurants in the towns we were staying and happened upon Moose’s by the Creek – a highly recommended spot for breakfast in Charlottesville. One of the reviews cautioned not to be dismayed by the gun store next door, so I knew this was going to be interesting haha.
We arrived at an unassuming building and entered the restaurant to find lots of second amendment signs, guns on the wall, and plenty of deer heads and antlers. Jay was in heaven. The menu looked delicious and everything was less than $9, so I was also happy. I ordered eggs, sausage, hash browns and a biscuit while Jay went with an omelet. You’ll see there’s no picture of the food because I was so excited to eat when it arrived that I completely forgot to snap a picture : ) Pretty standard fare, but big portions and the absolute best biscuit I’ve ever had. I had no idea they could be that fluffy and flavorful. I wanted to take a dozen home with me!
To top off the experience, we had to participate in their tradition of taking a picture of all new comers…in front of a huge set of antlers. These were proudly posted on their Facebook page for all the world to enjoy. Certainly a fun way to start the day.
Monticello & Historic Charlottesville
After that breakfast, we stopped at Monticello to tour Thomas Jefferson’s house. The $25 ticket included an informative video, a 45 minute guided tour of the house, and access to the kitchens, wine/beer cellars, and the grounds. The house tour was well done and included lots of details about Jefferson’s life at Monticello. I particularly loved his library and hearing about his passion for books. He was also a self-taught architect and designed his estate and it’s many renovations himself. What a guy.
Next stop was historic downtown Charlottesville. I was looking forward to browsing the boutique shops and book stores in this section of town. As it turns out, the whole street was blocked off for pedestrians to wander, which is always a pleasant discovery. We found three (!!) used bookstores, and of course checked out each one. Everything was in the $7-$15 price range though, so I wasn’t too interested in buying.
To hold ourselves over until dinner, we picked out a pizza place from among the many restaurants. I chose a superb broccoli, spinach, and ricotta slice while Jay selected a slice of pepperoni and a slice of taco pizza. The slices were massive and they tasted great!
An evening in Waynesboro
During the drive to our next hotel, I realized the weather wasn’t looking too promising for the next day when we were planning to hike in the Shenandoah National Park. I asked Jay to stop at the park on the way and it turned out to be a lucky move. We drove through the mountains and saw some gorgeous views before the fog and rain rolled in.
We checked in to the Hampton Inn Waynesboro (and took advantage of their free, fresh from the oven cookies) before heading to dinner at El Puerto Mexican Grill. The margarita and chips and salsa were full of flavor but both of our entrees lacked in that department. At under $8 each, I guess you can’t expect too much haha.
That wraps up the trip report for our first two days in the Shenandoah Valley, VA. Stay tuned for Part 2!