America’s Loire Valley is Near Charlottesville Va
Who knew: America’s Loire Valley is Near Charlottesville Va. Lovely Chateaus and vineyards growing cabernet franc and voigner grapes are located in the rolling countryside near Charlottesville Virginia. Over Labor Day weekend I made a quick trip to the area and then onwards to Washington D.C. as my husband and I visited our daughter Caroline.
Caroline teaches AP history in a private school in Alexandria Virginia and lives in the Woodley Park neighborhood of Washington DC. After Classes – and Volleyball practice – on the Thursday before Labor Day, Caroline drove to Orange Virginia where we enjoyed one nights stay at the hilltop Holiday Inn Express. This hotel is much nicer than it sounds . We were s surprised to find a “back yard” that includes a swimming pool overlooking fields of corn. The view reminded me of the Tuscany region of Italy because of the terrain and the lush greeness of the fields.
We chose Orange because it is near Montpelier, the home of US President James Madison. James and Dolley Madison entertained most of the familiar names from the American Revolution here. It was also at Montpelier where our US Constitution was imagined – in the upstairs Study of James Madison. Later, most of the founding fathers of the United States would pay respects at Montpelier which was a day’s ride from Charlottesville, Monticello (home of US President Thomas Jefferson) and US President James Monroe’s home at Ash Lawn-Highland. These American Chateaus are all within a 30 minute drive of one another.
But wait, theres more. Along with these great homes, we visited some outstanding wineries. Our stops for tastings at Keswick Vineyardshttp://www.keswickvineyards.com/ and Barboursville Vineyard http://www.barboursvillewine.net/winery/ were greeted with outstanding tastings of wines made from cabernet franc (same grape grown in Loire Valley region) and voigner (lovely whites). The settings are casual and we enjoyed picknick lunches in both locations.
Montpelier-Home of James and Dolly Madison: 11407 Constitution Highway, Montpelier Station, VA 22957 Opens at 9:00. http://www.montpelier.org/visit Current Seasonal Hours April – October 31 — 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM *Closed on Mondays, except for holidays. *First tour begins at 10:00 AM. Last tour is at 4:00 PM.
Ash Lawn-Highland-Home of James Monroe: 2050 James Monroe Parkway, Charlottesville, VA 22902 http://www.ashlawnhighland.org/ 9:00 -6:00
Monticello 931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway Charlottesville, VA 22902 http://www.monticello.org/