Scenic drive on the way to Charlottesville

Old Jun 30th, 2010, 07:20 PM
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Scenic drive on the way to Charlottesville

DH and I are considering a relaxed road trip south from DC towards Charlottesville for July 4th weekend. We enjoy scenic back roads and small towns. Any suggestions on a route to take or interesting/off beat places to stop? We aren't too concerned about whether or not we actually make it all the way to Charlottesville. We're just looking to get away on a mellow road trip.
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Old Jun 30th, 2010, 07:49 PM
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One variation of that drive would be to scoot over to Front Royal and then drive the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah NP -
http://www.blueridgeskyline.com/main-skdr.php
http://www.nps.gov/shen/index.htm
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Old Jun 30th, 2010, 08:46 PM
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I really hate those suggestions from people who've only heard of a destination from friends/family or read about it - but have never been there themselves. Don't you?

Now I'm going to be "one of those". I've always imagined that following Virginia's State Route 5 along the James River and visiting the James River plantations would be a wonderful thing to do.

Someday in the fairly near future (like next year), I hope to visit Richmond and do exactly this.

It's not exactly what you want but I thought it I'd just mention it.
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Old Jul 1st, 2010, 09:07 AM
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Well, 29 will take you to Culpeper, which has a prettyish downtown with some arty shops. From there, 15 would get you down through Orange and Gordonsville -- last time I drove through Gordonsville I noticed several antique shops, although I didn't have time to stop. James Madison's Montpelier is somewhere around there as well.

If you went past Charlottesville on 64, you could cut down route 151 towards Wintergreen. It's a bit hillier there, and there are several wineries around Wintergreen (it's a ski resort). Very pretty area. The parkway is nearby, and there is a variety of hiking trails. If you go that direction, Crozet Pizza in Crozet always has rave reviews, although I hate to admit I've never actually been there.

On the Route 5 question -- I've never stopped at the plantations, but it's definitely a pretty drive between Richmond and Williamsburg, much more scenic than I-64.
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Old Jul 1st, 2010, 09:26 AM
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Skyline Drive
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Old Jul 1st, 2010, 12:36 PM
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Well I'll vouch for Crozet pizza as very good pizza. It's a little pricey and I wouldn't drive way out of my way to make it a destination but it's well worth a visit if you're in the area.

exiledprincess, If you can plan a trip in late April to coincide with Historic Garden Week, you'll find extended hours and tours at many of the Rt 5 plantations plus at least one that is only open during garden week. Richmond has lots of special activities associated with this event too, including Agecroft Hall which is worth a trip any time of year. It's an English Tudor house that was disassembled and carted across the Atlantic and reconstructed on the James River in the 1930s. The gardens are stunning.
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Old Jul 1st, 2010, 12:39 PM
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I will also vouch for Crozet pizza. I've been there many times and it's good. But I was a UVa student at the time and we were easy to please.
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Old Jul 1st, 2010, 09:30 PM
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Well, 29 will take you to Culpeper, which has a prettyish downtown with some arty shops. From there, 15 would get you down through Orange and Gordonsville -- last time I drove through Gordonsville I noticed several antique shops, although I didn't have time to stop. James Madison's Montpelier is somewhere around there as well.

This is exactly the route someone else gave me, and we'll be taking, this weekend in fact!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2010, 04:21 AM
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There are also wineries around the Orange area. I am planning to visit later this month en route from Richmond to the Big Meadows Lodge in Shenandoah national Park
http://www.visitorangevirginia.com/index.htm
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Old Jul 2nd, 2010, 05:11 AM
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If you want to get off the main roads a bit, here is one way to do it:

Head west on 211 from Warrenton towards SNP. At Sperryville, turn south on 231, which runs along the base of the Blue Ridge, past Old Rag Mtn (nice view of it), and ends in Madison. At Madison, go briefly south on 29 and turn right on 230 towards Wolftown. 230 will interect with 33 in Standardsville after maybe 10 miles or less. Go very briefly west on 33 and look for the left turn on Rte 810 (Called Dyke Road here). Follow 810 as it winds thru the Piedmont. (Keep an eye out for the number where another road intersects as there are a couple places you need to turn vs keeping straight to stay on 810.) Eventually it will land you in Crozet, just west of C'ville. This will all take you on country roads thru some very scenic pastoral countryside between 29 and the Blue Ridge. Not a direct route to C'ville, but that doesn't seem to be what you are after anyway, right? More like a "Sunday Drive".

I'd even suggest getting a DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer for $20. They can be found at any big book store like Borders, B&N, etc and also at many gas stations and 7-11's. Back Roads, points of interest, etc overlayed on topo maps, so you get the lay of the land a regular road map doesn't have. Outstanding resource.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2010, 10:20 AM
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Thanks, obxgirl.

Funny that you should mention that. I was indeed thinking of combining that drive down Route 5 visit with one ending up in Charleston & Savannah - next spring.

Just prelim planning stages, of course: Take Amtrak out to D.C. Day trips to Mount Vernon and Richmond (including the James River portion).

Then back on Amtrak to Charleston and Savannah. Fly back.

So it would be a kind of "gardeners delight" trip, if I can get the timing right.

Curiousgirl964, sorry for hijacking your thread just a tad.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2010, 07:20 AM
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Or you could take I-66 out to I-81 south and get off at the first exit, route 11s into Strasburg.

Follow 11, a scenic byway, through Strasburg, Tom's Brook (North Mountain Winery), Woodstock (Woodstock Tower, 1785 Court House and bust and statue of Peter Muhlenburg), Edinburg (Shenandoah Vineyards), Mt Jackson (Meem's Bottom Covered Bridge, Route 11 Potato Chip Factory), into New Market(New Market Battlefield and Museum).

Then take route 33 east toward Luray to get on Skyline Drive. Skyline south to I-64 east and Charlottesville.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2010, 03:05 PM
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Well, I can tell you this, the route we took, until Culpeper, is NOT scenic, unless you consider strip malls great scenery. From Culpeper to Charlottesville, however, is lovely.

Also, when we left Dulles, we drove around Manassas for 1/2 hour looking for Manassas National Historic Battlefield. I am not kidding, there was not one sign, and we never found it!
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Old Jul 4th, 2010, 09:46 AM
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From Dulles toward Manassas, you should have gotten off rte 28 and onto rte 29-211 which cuts through the battlefield or just before onto I-66 which is uphill rom thje battlefield and has signs.

Did you stay on 28 into Manassas? Should have taken rte 234 out of town to the battlefield.
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Old Sep 24th, 2014, 07:21 AM
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I will vouch for the Route 5 drive being beautiful. The plantations are amazing, one of my favorites is the Westover Plantation.
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Old Sep 24th, 2014, 09:22 AM
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To avoid the staties on 29, I went south on I-95 toward Richmond (which is nice once you get outside the immediate DC area), west on Route 3 (iirc) through Fredericksburg, and then south on route 20. Route 20, especially within 20 miles of C'ville, is EXACTLY what you're looking for.
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Old Sep 24th, 2014, 09:29 AM
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The OP should be home by now this is from 2010
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