COVER- TJ's guide to the best summer ever

There are many lessons to be learned from the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson. A visionary whose ideas and ideals still apply today, his words have been pored over, catalogued, recatalogued, analyzed, published, and in every other way intellectually masticated.
Yet nearly 200 years after his death, there's always something fresh to be gleaned from his writings, though his true meaning may not always be immediately apparent. Applying the CIA-worthy decrypting skills we developed while reading the Da Vinci Code, we have discovered that not only did Jefferson have a vision for building our great nation, he also had a vision for how you should spend your summer. Heed his words, please, or face charges of treason.


"Botany I rank with the most valuable sciences, whether we consider its subjects as furnishing the principal subsistence of life to man and beast, delicious varieties for our tables, refreshments from our orchards, the adornments of our flower borders, shade and perfume of our groves, materials for our buildings, or medicaments for our bodies." Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, 1814

"Refreshment from our orchards? Medicaments?" Seems that Jefferson is almost speaking to us from beyond the grave, as if to say, "Go pick peaches!" And fortunately, we know just what the ghostly TJ means. He means we should pick peaches from Chiles, that bountiful orchard west of town in Crozet. In addition, strawberries, blackberries, and cherries are available– and you won't want to miss the fresh homemade ice cream.
Chiles is open through Labor Day, Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm; Sunday 10am to 5pm. 1351 Greenwood Road, Crozet. 823-1583



"Some ladies think they may, under the privileges of the deshabille, be loose and negligent of their dress in the morning. But be you, from the moment you rise till you go to bed, as cleanly and properly dressed as at the hours of dinner or tea." Jefferson to his daughter Martha, 1783
Who are we to argue with Jefferson? Of course, in order to heed his advice, a woman would need to have a closet full of finery, and that doesn't happen on its own, does it? No, it does not. Fortunately, Charlottesville's shopping options have multiplied over the past few years, and with all the boutiques, second-hand shops– and now Target!!!– there's no reason men, women, and children alike can't appear at any moment as "cleanly and properly dressed as at the hours of dinner or tea." And if anyone criticizes your spending? Just tell them TJ made you do it!



"I wish to see this beverage become common instead of the whisky which kills one-third of our citizens and ruins their families." Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1815

You can help beer become common simply by driving over to Staunton and visiting the Queen City Brewing Company. There, you can pick from among more than 60 styles of beer, including a Belgian Wheat with hints of orange and coriander, and a heavy-bodied Imperial Stout.

"We cover the whole spectrum," says Queen City brewer Jeff Schwalm, who adds that experts are on hand during all operating hours to help the uninitiated brew the best possible batch.

Don't expect to come home with your beer after your first visit, however. Schwalm says brewing beer is a two-visit venture. During the first visit, you'll do the actual brewing– of two, four, or six cases. Three or four weeks later, after the beer has fermented, return to the brewery to do the bottling.
While you must be over 21 to concoct the intoxicating fluids, the brewery may be an ideal outing for whole families– parents make beer, and kids can make their own soda, picking from eight flavors.

Beer brewing isn't cheap– two cases of beer cost $49 for the brewing, plus an extra $10-15 for bottling. Brew in bulk, and the cost drops. Brewing six cases runs just $89. And if that's not an excuse to expand your beverage horizons, we don't know what is!
Queen City brewing is located at 834 Springhill Road, Staunton. 540-213-8014.


"The drunkard, as much as the maniac, requires restrictive measures to save him from the fatal infatuation under which he is destroying his health, his morals, his family, and his usefulness to society." Jefferson to Samuel Smith, 1823
Calling all lushes! The jig is up. TJ has your number, and it's time to detox before your "fatal infatuation" does you in for good! Where, oh where, to begin? Well, here's a hint: not at Miller's– or at any of the other smoky late-night restaurants that beckon you to drop in and drink... and drink some more. And maybe smoke just one cigarette, because even though you quit last month, you just can't down whiskey and listen to jazz without a single Parliament. Or maybe 10.

Where do you start? How about the City Market! What could be more wholesome than rising with the sun on a Saturday and breathing restorative early morning air while selecting the freshest vegetables Charlottesville has to offer? After that, you could head over to Bikram Yoga to sweat out the putrid toxins that have been accumulating in your body since, well, college. Do this a few weeks in a row, and you'll be as fresh as a baby's bottom. Or something like that. And then you can go back to Miller's, certain that your "usefulness to society" has been fully restored.

Charlottesville City Market happens every Saturday from sun-up until 1pm in the parking lot at the corner of Water and Second streets downtown. Bikram yoga holds classes daily at 107 Fifth St. SE 220-1415.


"But whether I retire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun." Jefferson to Dr. Vine Utley, March 21, 1819
After two UVA students were arrested during a nocturnal stroll of the Monticello grounds two years ago, we can't recommend sneaking around Monticello to see the sunrise (or following his supposedly healthful every-morning practice of soaking his feet in frigid water). But you can get the free mountain-view experience by driving up to Pantops and parking. Just don't forget to face east (away from commerce and toward the town). Take croissants, coffee– whatever treats float your boat– and see the majesty that unfolds each day while most of us are still sleeping.

The sun rises at 5:54 on June 1, 5:56 on July 1, and 6:18 on August 1. If sitting in a strip mall parking lot isn't your thing, you could also head out to Skyline Drive for a sunrise au naturel.


"Dancing is a necessary accomplishment, although of short use; for the French rule is wise, that no lady dances after marriage. This is founded in solid physical reasons." Jefferson to N. Burwell, 1818

We're not so sure about any solid physical reasons why married women shouldn't dance– in fact, we've seen our share of hot moms of Charlottesville cutting a rug into the wee hours. But Jefferson definitely had the first part right. There are so many ways to achieve this "necessary accomplishment," but a good place to start, perhaps, is at Fridays After Five. Though it's no longer the mellow family affair of years past, when the amphitheater was small and the grass was greener (or at least there was more of it), there's still plenty of reason to kick up your heels– especially for married women, who may even have a child or two dancing with them. Another dancing option: R2, the dance club at downtown Rapture restaurant. And late night revelers can always kick up their heels– even past 2am– with a diverse crowd at Club 216, provided they know a member of this gay-friendly establishment. As the catchy Kinks song goes, why not come dancing– it's only natural.



"Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it." Jefferson to Maria Cosway 1786.
Although these words came from Jefferson's famous "head and heart" letter to his married British galpal, this advice might be aimed at the fish who just might be tempted by your wriggling nightcrawlers as you cast your line and see what you reel in. Try your luck on a lake– Chris Greene Lake, Walnut Creek, and Mint Springs all allow fishing– or sit on the bank of the Rivanna, James or Mechum rivers. Or you can head for the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir and try to snag something that swims in our drinking water. Just don't forget to contact the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to get your license. 296-4731

Chris Greene Lake, Chris Greene Lake Road. 973-3790

Mint Springs: From 250W, take a right on Rt. 240, then a left on Rt. 788 (Railroad Avenue), right on Rt. 684 (Mint Springs Road), left into park. 823-5889

Walnut Creek: Rt. 29S, left on Rt. 708 (Red Hill Road), right on Rt. 631 (Old Lynchburg Road), park is 1/2 mile on left. 979-0964



We could, in the United States, make as great a variety of wines as are made in Europe, not exactly of the same kinds, but doubtless as good." Jefferson to M. Lasteyrie, 1808

Little did Thomas Jefferson know that nearly 200 years after he penned those words, the Charlottesville area would be home to nearly two dozen wineries. Indeed, the Virginia winemaking industry has flourished in large part thanks to Jefferson's early (though unsuccesssful) efforts to grow grapes. Today, few pleasures are as delightful as spending a sunny afternoon driving through the countryside, stopping at wineries to sip and perhaps picnic. If you want to have too much fun, borrow or rent a convertible! Just be sure you have a designated driver, or do as the true wine experts do: swish it, then spit. (We know, we know, it seems like such a waste, but then so is spending the rest of the weekend in a jail for a DUI!)

Afton Mountain Vineyards - 540-456-8667.

Autumn Hill Vineyards/Blue Ridge Winery - 985-6100.

Barboursville Vineyards - G540-832-7572.

Blenheim Vineyards - Tours and tastings are by appointment only. 293-5366.

Burnley Vineyards - 540-832-2828.

Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery - 540-456-8400.

Christensen Ridge - 540-923-4800.

DelFosse Vineyards and Winery - 263-6100.

First Colony Winery - 979-7105.

Horton Cellars Winery - 540-832-7440.

Jefferson Vineyards - 977-3042 or 1-800-272-3042.

Keswick Vineyards - 244-3341.

King Family Vineyards - 823-7800.

Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard - 977-3895.

Mountain Cove Vineyards & Wine Garden - 263-5392.

Oakencroft Vineyard & Winery - 296-4188.

Prince Michel Vineyards -540-547-3707.

Stone Mountain Vineyards - 990-9463.

Veritas Winery - 540-456-8000.

White Hall Vineyards - 823-8615.


"I am as happy no where else and in no other society, and all my wishes end, where I hope my days will end, at Monticello." Jefferson to George Gilmer, 1787
It's not hard to understand why Jefferson was so passionate about his home, and a tour of Monticello is a great reminder. Beautiful gardens, gorgeous views, fabulous architecture. Heck, we'd move in if they'd let us! Locals get a sweet deal on admission– $6 for an adult. Bring out-of-town friends who pay the full-price, and you'll get in free! This year, for the first time, you can reserve your tickets online at And for an extra special Monticello experience, head over for the naturalization ceremony that happens every July 4, where immigrants who have waited years and worked through bundles of red tape finally realize their dream: American citizenship. You can show your support– and remind yourself that despite these troubled times, the United States is still a beacon of hope for many. This year's featured speakers are Christo and Jeanne-Claude, environmental artists best known for their 2005 work of art, The Gates, in Central Park in New York. 10am. Free. 984-9822


In strict theory, the velocity of water at any given depth in a river is (in addition to its velocity at its surface) whatever a body would have acquired by falling through a space equal to that depth." Jefferson to William Dunbar, 1804

You can experience the velocity of water yourself, while tubing! Two companies– James River Runners and James River Reeling and Rafting– offer tubing in Scottsville on the James River. Pack a cooler and meander down the river for several hours kicked back in an inner tube. The velocity– and depth– of the river starts high, but as the summer goes on, if rainfall is below average, the water level can drop, making for a slower– and bumpier– ride.

James River Runners. 10082 Hatton Ferry Road, five miles from Scottsville. 286-2338.

James River Reeling and Rafting. At the corner of Main and Ferry streets in downtown Scottsville. 286-4FUN.


"Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independant, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bands." Jefferson to John Jay, August 23, 1785
You don't have to worship farmers to cultivate a little garden of your own. A few square feet, in fact, will yield a tomato plant, some green beans, or whatever other veggie might suit your fancy. Kids dig it (literally), and it's a great way to save a few bucks at the grocery store as well. While it's late for spring delicacies like lettuce and peas, there's still time to put in some Better Boy or Mortgage Lifter tomatoes and some lavender and other herbs to last for years. So get out there with a hoe and sow your wild oats. Then see how vigorous and virtuous you feel!


"I cannot live without books." Jefferson to John Adams, June 10, 1815

Even if you could live without books, it wouldn't be much of a summer without reading a bestseller or two. A few of this season's big releases: Philip Roth's Everyman, Anne Tyler's Digging to America, and James Patterson and Peter DeJonge's Beach Road. And just in time for all the hubbub over Capote, Barboursville resident Charles J. Shields has just come out with Mockingbird, biography of Truman Capote's good friend Harper Lee. And don't forget blockbusters of years past. There's no place cooler (in more ways than one) than the air-conditioned library on a hot– or rainy– summer's day.


"I deem it the duty of every man to devote a certain portion of his income for charitable purposes; and that it is his further duty to see it so applied as to do the most good of which it is capable." Jefferson to Rogers and Slaughter, 1806
Writing a check is good, but when it comes to charity, getting right into the thick of the activity is even better. You can do a little charity of your own making, by visiting a nursing home or picking up trash in a public place. If that's not your thing, there's no shortage of organizations that need your help, and summer's a great time to give. Here are a few places to start...

Habitat for Humanity: 293-9066

Meals on Wheels: 293-4364

Literacy Volunteers of America: 977-3838

Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA: 973-5959

...and about 200 others. Visit the Hook's "Get Involved" page at for more ideas.



"Music, drawing, books, invention and exercise will be so many resources to you against ennui." Jefferson to daughter Martha, 1787
That dreaded ennui! Fortunately, there's no excuse for it during a Charlottesville summer. Here are some of your best resources against it...


There's tons of music happening at venues all over town, every night of the summer. But some of the biggest events of the season will happen at the big places. For instance, James Taylor plays the new John Paul Jones Arena on August 17. And here are some highlights from the Charlottesville Pavilion...

July 2: The Marshall Tucker Band

July 22: Bo Bice

August 22: Bruce Hornsby

August 22: Lyle Lovett August 26

Tickets are available online at


Grab a pad and pencil and pick a beautiful spot– try your hand at drawing. If it's terrible, no one has to see it. And it's a great excuse to go laze about in a park on a sunny day, all the while looking like someone with talent, someone driven, someone that cute guy who walks his dog every day might stop to talk to...

Exercise: You don't need to join a gym to get exercise, particularly not in summer. Start your day off with a run or walk along the Greenbelt, the paved portion of the Rivanna Trail that starts at Riverview Park and now extends past the VFW Lodge on River Road. Another great walking option: The Thomas Jefferson Parkway, of course! Nearly three miles round trip, the trail winds its way up from Route 53 to the top of Monticello mountain. Kids love to feed the geese in the pond, and interesting insects make for fascinating sightseeing along the way.

This year's big race for women, the Four Miler, is set for September 2 at Foxfield, and training starts in June. Meet each Saturday morning at the UVA track for training, then put what you learn into practice. For information call Ragged Mountain Running Shop 293-3367.



"My daughter Randolph, whom you knew in Paris a young girl, is now the mother of eleven living children, the grandmother of about half a dozen others, enjoys health and good spirits, and sees the worth of her husband attested by his being at present Governor of the State in which we live. Among these, I live like a patriarch of old." Jefferson to Maria Cosway, 1820

Even if you don't have 11 living children (or a mountain-top mansion), you, too, can live like a patriarch or matriarch. Just call up a few people who share at least a slim portion of your genetic code and plan a good old-fashioned family reunion. You'll laugh, remembering the time you and cousin Wilbur put a tack on granny's chair, and you'll cry remembering the sad day when Dad ran over Rover. Plus, you can have a very special race– who can regress the fastest! Before you know it, you'll be bickering with your siblings like you're 10 again, rebelling against Mom and Dad and remembering why you were so happy when your grumpy Aunt Mabel moved to Duluth. Good times, good times...


"I hope [the University of Virginia] will prove a blessing to my own state, and not unuseful perhaps to some others." Jefferson to Edward Livingston, 1825
UVA is a school, sure, but it's also a monument to Jefferson, and everywhere you look there are architectural reminders of the founder. From the novel idea of mixing students with faculty on the Lawn to the Rotunda with its glorious dome and invisible bookcases, a stroll across UVA's "grounds" is sure to leave you inspired. Check out the Jefferson-designed Pavilions lining the Lawn for their gorgeous, one-of-a-kind gardens with twisting walking paths and serpentine walls. (Although UVA faculty members occupy some Pavilions, the spaces are also generally open for public use. An open gate is a sign saying, "Come on in and enjoy the beauty!") But don't stop with the old stuff. The new underground Harrison Small library, home to UVA's impressive special collections, can help you beat the heat– with knowledge!



"All things here appear to me to trudge on in one and the same round: we rise in the morning that we may eat breakfast, dinner and supper and to bed again that we may get up the next morning and do the same: so that you never saw two peas more alike than our yesterday and to-day." Jefferson to John Page, January 20, 1763

You've heard of tunnel vision? Well, when it comes to dining in Charlottesville, it's easy to come down with a case of "Mall vision." And there's nothing wrong with that, not with dozens upon dozens of restaurants to choose from on and around the Downtown Mall. But, dear folks, there is culinary life off the Mall, and for a special occasion, Fossett's in Keswick Hall is a place offering something no downtown eatery has: views that even Jefferson might have swooned over. Not to mention the fact that it's named for Jefferson's top cook at Monticello, Edith Fossett!

Stroll the gorgeous grounds beforehand, and then settle in for a dining extravaganza while gazing at verdant fields through floor-to-ceiling windows. On a warm evening, the Fossett's patio offers al fresco elegance. The ever-changing menu features three courses– particularly delightful on a recent evening was the beef carpaccio and the creme brulee.

And it's one of the few local restaurants at which a sommelier handles all your wining. If you're feeling particularly decadent, order the flight of port after dinner and see if your palate can detect the difference between 10-, 20- and 30-year-old varieties. This would be the grownup version of the "Pepsi Challenge."
Fossett's is open seven days for dinner. 701 Club Drive. 979-3440