I haven’t owned a car for six years. It’s both a benefit and a drawback. Not owning a car forces me to be creative and make concerted efforts to leave Washington when I can.
Charlottesville, Va., home of the University of Virginia, is about a three-hour train ride from Washington and costs a fraction to visit compared to New York or Philadelphia. Enterprise will also arrange to pick you up at the train station so you can rent a car to see the city and points nearby like Crozet, Barboursville, Ruckersville, and Stanardsville, to name a few.
Virginia is known for its wine and it produces some of the best in the country. However, did you know that Virginia is home to over 60 breweries with several in the vicinity of Charlottesville?
In a previous post, I stated that I am not a food critic. What I do know is that I enjoy clean, local food served in a welcoming environment. While its name is a bit of a misnomer, The Standard offers both.
The Standard promotes community involvement. The day I visited with my family, meals were being served by a group of middle-school students who were raising money to go to the Galapagos Islands on a service project. Great food and the opportunity to encourage students to explore the world while helping others? I couldn’t have tipped enough.
After a filling and lazy brunch, we hopped in the car and headed for Crozet, which is a scenic 50 minute drive from Stanardsville.
Crozet, Va., is the home of Starr Hill brewery. Starr Hill was founded in the late 90’s and I’ve found their products in Washington at Whole Foods Market and other restaurants and bars around town.
What marked the experience as a “must do” was the well-organized tour of the facility where you are taken through the brewing process from grain selection to distribution. Starr Hill also offers a tasting room where you can sample their year-round and seasonal brews.
Did you grow up in the Mid-Atlantic and want to feel nostalgic? Grab a bottle of Starr Hill malt vinegar to put on home-cooked French fries and remember those days spent on the boardwalk at the Maryland and Delaware beaches.
Charlottesville isn’t your standard college town. Drive around and you’ll see. Be sure, however, to ask residents about their favorite destinations. You may find some out-of-the-way treasures like The Standard or Starr Hill brewery just a short distance from Charlottesville, Washington, and Richmond.
Also, don’t sweat not owning a car. Get creative and get there:
76 Main Street
Starr Hill Brewery
5391 Notch’d Road