Area Newcomer's Welcome



Welcome to Charlottesville
Albemarle County, Virginia!

Nestled in the foothills of the legendary Blue Ridge Mountains, our community is known for year-round natural beauty and our small city sophistication. Families here enjoy drives alongside the beautiful rolling meadows of horse country where every hill promises a view. In the city, we benefit from the University of Virginia and support a thriving arts scene as well as many gourmet restaurants and boutiques. You can even daytrip to DC or get away to the mountains for quick escapes. Best of all, everywhere you go you'll be greeted with southern hospitality and welcomed to the hometown of Thomas Jefferson - a great place for families. Be sure to read The Charlottesville Welcome Book, a handy guide for visitors and tourists to dining, attractions, places to stay, concerts and much more.

17 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW UPON MOVING TO CVILLE

1. The most popular man in town is Thomas Jefferson. You will do well to quote him often and refer to him with the greatest respect.

2. The area on which the University of Virginia (UVA) sits is called the "grounds," not the "campus" and freshmen here are "First Years". And TJ didn't build UVA. Mr. Jefferson founded the University. The big domed building with TJ's great statue out front is called the Rotunda and faces a huge "courtyard" area which is surrounded by historic residences (Edgar Allan Poe being one of the most famous of residents) that are now occupied by students who consider their stay a great honor even though the facilities are primitive. This famous "courtyard" is known only as The Lawn and is packed full of children trick-or-treating every Halloween and UVA students graduating every spring.

3. Fun Eats: Bodo's Bagels on The Corner, Eppie's southern favorites on the Downtown Mall, and Riverside Lunch ("flat-out" burgers), Spudnuts in the Belmont neighborhood (no, I am not telling you what a Spudnut is - stop by for breakfast!) and Bellair Market for gourmet deli in sophisticated, yet casual, Albemarle style.

4. If you hear something about the Three Notched Road or Three Chopt Road, no one is consistent on this, but we do all agree that today's Route 250 was a colonial highway traversed by TJ, James Monroe and others visiting our area and now includes such historic stretches as the Downtown Mall and West Main Street.

5. The best spot for celebrity spotting is the Bellair Market, where, besides getting famously great chicken salad and awesome sandwiches named after local neighborhoods, you may get a glimpse of Howie Long, Sissy Spacek, John Grisham, Mary Chapin Carpenter or Jan Karon. Don't let the fact that this place is a "gas station" fool you.

6. What's a Wahoo? Legend has it that Washington & Lee baseball fans dubbed the UVA players "Wahoos" during the fiercely contested rivalry that existed between the two in-state schools in the 1890s. By 1940, "Wahoos" was in general use around Grounds to denote University students or events relating to them. The abbreviated "Hoos" sprang up later in student newspapers and has gained growing popularity in recent years. (Interestingly, "Wahoo" is also a predatory fish that can drink twice its weight in liquid.)

7. Just in case the kids ask, Charlottesville was named for Queen Charlotte Sophia, wife of George III, and incorporated as a city on March 2, 1888. Albemarle was named in honor of William Ann Keppel, second Earl of Albemarle, who was then governor general of the Virginia colony.

8. You should know that "Rio Road" is not pronounced "Ree-o", but rather "Rye-o". The explanation I have heard is that it used to be Route 10. Others claim it sprung from the nearby Rivanna River (locals pronounce it "RY-vanna" river). Pronouncing it wrong is a dead giveaway that you're not from around here.

9. "The Dave" or "DMB" refers to the Dave Matthews Band - hometown boys who studied music at Charlottesville High School and then made the big time. You might find many locals referring to Dave like a close friend or acting like a proud second cousin.

10. The OBX signs you will no doubt notice on many cars here refer to the best beaches around - the Outer Banks in North Carolina. You are likely to run into someone you know while "beaching it" there.

11. The Downtown Mall: To do the Mall properly in the day with the kids, you should hit the Ice Park, have an awesome homemade ice cream cone at Chaps, stop in at the Discovery Museum and finish up at the Charlottesville Pavilion for a little echo testing. If you really want to experience that "small town" feel, stop in at the lunch counter of Timberlake Drugstore. Here you'll forget about all the hip teens hanging out across the way with a cup of Joe and think you've been teleported to Mayberry.

12. Depending on where you're coming from you might think our "town" is bigger (or smaller) than you thought. Here are the facts:

ALBEMARLE
Size: 726 square miles
Population: 100,553
Number of households: 37,459
Persons under age 18: 21.3%
Growth between 2010 and 2011: 1.6%

CHARLOTTESVILLE*
Size: 10.24 square miles
Population: 43,511
Number of households: 17,290
Persons under age 18: 14.6%
Growth between 2010 and 2011: 0.1%
(*Includes all residents, so students counted.)

-United States Census Bureau's population estimates for 2011

13. University history in the making - The University of Virginia was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1825, and was an all-male institution until 1970, when it welcomed women to Grounds. Electing a woman president took 40 years longer; in January 2010, the Board of Visitors elected Teresa A. Sullivan, the University of Michigan's provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, as UVA's eighth president.

14. Historical heroes abound in Albemarle. The legacy of the three presidents, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe includes magnificent homes and indirectly, thriving local tourism (the second largest industry here). Jack Jouett is credited with saving the skins of at least one of those illustrious men in a famous midnight ride to warn of a British invasion of Charlottesville in 1791. Meriwether Lewis, perhaps the most famous explorer in the United States (at least in 2003 when everyone celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition) was from Ivy (a very desirable place to live just west of town) where many relatives still reside. Outside of the obvious visits to Monticello, Ash Lawn-Highland and others, a great way for you and the kids to get to know Charlottesville's history is to take a historic tour of downtown during the summer months and/or get tickets to the annual downtown Spirit Walk around Halloween. A great history-buff tip: When you get settled and have your driver's license up to date reflecting proof that you are an official local, you can accompany a paying friend to Monticello and gain entrance for yourself for free.

15. The Corner is the cool campusy area at the intersection of University Avenue and the central entrance to the University grounds, the Honor Gate.

16. Albemarle for many means sophisticated country living. Getting a taste of it is easy. Drive west on Barracks Road straight out of town and within 5 minutes, you'll be driving through rolling hills of grazing horses and majestic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Within 10 minutes you can stop at Oakencroft Winery to pick up some of Virginia's finest wine for when the kids are in bed and take in the breathtaking countryside. To catch a glimpse of Albemarle's wealthiest, hop on Rt 250 going east out of town 10-15 minutes and make a left at Shadwell toward Keswick. Over the course of your 20 minute drive you'll catch views of the homes of some of our most famous and wealthy residents.

17. Named the #1 Best Place to Live by Sperling's Best Places, and recognized in Reader Digest's "Top 10 List of Best Places to Raise a Family," Charlottesville is a great place to live, and is affectionately known to locals as C'ville.



Explore Charlottesville Online!

Get an Overview

Visitor's Guide to dining, attractions, places to stay and more
Chamber of Commerce
Local History

Plan Outings

CF Daytrip Ideas
CF Parks & Playgrounds
Charlottesville Dining Directory
Jefferson-Madison Regional Library
Local Family Fun Outings
UVA Athletics

Make Friends

Clubs & Classes for Kids
Find a Place of Worship
Parent Clubs & Co-ops




Getting Settled

Welcome home! Click here to find all you need to know about area utilities, facilities, and more.

City of Charlottesville
Albemarle County

Guide to Realtors from the Charlottesville Welcome Book



Finding a School

Local School Connection




Two Books Every Newcomer Family MUST Have




Charlottesville Welcome Book

The elegant Charlottesville Welcome Book debuted in Spring 2009 and reaches out to thousands of newcomers, families and tourists visiting Thomas Jefferson's home at Monticello, the prestigious University of Virginia and the beautiful Charlottesville-Albemarle region. High-quality design, thoughtful editorial and a strong online presence combines to make this free quarterly a must have, even if you're local. With guides to festivals, restaurants, wineries, museums, real estate, theatre, antiques, sports, music and attractions, The Charlottesville Welcome Book offers direction to any and all of your family's interests.



The CharlottesvilleFamily Ultimate Go-To Guide

This annual family directory is packed with useful information that you will want to keep at their fingertips, including timely calendars for keeping track of the family schedule, Charlottesville event highlights, emergency services and amazing resources for those who are new to the area. And of course its packed with phone numbers for great local businesses for health care options, party places, shopping, education resources, kids recreational activities, family fun and more. Plus, you will enjoy an exciting new daytrips features!


Some photos above courtesy of the Charlottesville/Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau at visitcharlottesville.org.

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