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Welcome to www.weloveourlife.com. This is our page dedicated to our experiences while staying at Valmontis in Charlottesville, Virginia.
We have been informed that Valmontis has been sold and is no longer
a Bed and Breakfast.
Valmontis' website stated that we would receive champagne and hor d'oeuvres upon arrival, and there was truth in the advertising. Our innkeeper Mark asked us if we would like something to drink and to eat. We declined the offer of food, with thoughts of the outdoor pool beckoning us. Mark took the time to show us around the inn, pointing out the icemaker and the guest refrigerator upstairs that contained complementary champagne, wine, beer, and soft drinks. There were also bagged snacks available. On both evenings, we indulged in a bottle of champagne. It was decent champagne - Seaview, a vintage from Australia, that was dry and to our liking. We found the self-service guest refrigerator to be a very welcome amenity and a great, relaxing way to end the day. We also helped ourselves to some of the cream liqueur available in the library (another thoughtful amenity). The inn's website also states that coolers are available to take outside to the pool.
We enjoyed the outdoor pool. This was central Virginia in early June, and the humidity was on the rise. The pool was located in a quiet meadow, and we spent time there both afternoons we stayed at the inn, and found it refreshing. The inn thoughtfully provides pool towels for guests.
Mark, the innkeeper, was also the chef. Each morning fresh fruit, cereal, and muffins were available on the buffet in the breakfast room. Our first morning at Valmontis we were served individual quiches with fresh herbs, very tasty smoked bacon, and asparagus. The home-made muffins were excellent. On our second morning, we had some very fine eggs benedict accompanied by a stuffed tomato with a baked filling of cheese and herbed bread. It was obvious Mark took great care in the meals he prepared, and we ate on fine china and drank out of crystal. Although we turned down Mark's offer on both days for a snack in the afternoon, he was most willing to whip up something if we wanted it. On our second day at the inn, his "snack" was to be scallops with a sauce! Based on our experience with his breakfasts, we are confident it would have been delicious.
Valmontis did not have a bar, but provided complementary beverages to guests.
We found Mark to be a most friendly and inviting soul. One of the first things he asked us was what we wanted to drink in the morning with breakfast (coffee, tea, etc.). We asked for iced tea, and he had a pitcher of iced tea freshly made for us each morning. We appreciate those special extra touches. The inn was clearly his venture. We also met his wife on two occasions and she took the time to talk to us. Mark showed us some menus in the library and suggested the mall in downtown Charlottesville as a way to check out some local restaurants and see what most interested us. He gave us a local map and showed us how to get downtown (about a 10-15 minute drive). He was clearly interested in seeing his guests were well taken care of and we found him to be very friendly.
Charlottesville's Downtown Mall
Our first foray after arriving at Valmontis was to seek out a place for dinner, and at our innkeeper's suggestion, we headed to Charlottesville's Downtown Mall. We found a parking garage ($1 per hour) and strolled down the mall, which is closed to vehicle traffic and is covered with brick pavers. Charlottesville clearly put a lot of effort into revitalizing their downtown, and it shows. There are 120 shops and 30 restaurants in this area, and several restaurants had tables outside for alfresco dining. We walked down the several blocks, looking at the menus posted outside, trying to decide where to eat. The Downtown Amphitheater is located at one end of the mall and from late April through early October, plays host to "Fridays After 5." Live acts play free concerts each Friday evening in an attempt to keep people downtown. The week we were there, the band War was playing Friday evening (yes, the 70s band War known for "Low Rider" and "Why Can't We Be Friends"). Although we did not go to the concert, locals told us later that War brought out the largest crowd to date. We felt fairly safe walking around downtown Charlottesville, and noted that it was very clean.
Monticello - Charlottesville, VA 804-984-9822
We recommend going early, as this is a very popular attraction. We arrived around 10:30 and purchased tickets. There is a shuttle available to take visitors up to the house, which sits on top of a mountain. There is a trail that can be taken on foot, but it is a pretty steep grade. Once we arrived at the top and disembarked the shuttle, we had about a 30-minute wait. Monticello is a smoothly run operation and has worked out the fine details of moving many people through the residence daily. The tour guide was very knowledgeable. Of special interest to us was the many clocks Jefferson had in a time when not very many people were obsessed with knowing what time it was. Several of Jefferson's own inventions were evident in the house: a 7-day clock, "automatic" doors, a wine dumb-waiter (to bring wine up from the basement), a rotating serving door, skylights with overlapping glass panes, and many more. After the tour through the house, visitors are on their own to explore the grounds. Do not miss Jefferson's "all-weather walkway" under the house, which was a long passageway that connected many rooms that contained operations vital to the running of the household. We were amazed that the old smokehouse room still smelled like smoke. Mulberry Row runs alongside the house and contains the remains of many of the estate's dependencies where slaves lived and worked. Restrooms and a gift shop are available at the top of the mountain as well. We chose to walk down to shuttle station, as we wanted to visit the graveyard where Jefferson and his descendants and friends are buried. The walk back down is 2/3 mile and is mostly covered by trees. We saw an amazing number of butterflies as we walked down the mountain. Monticello is a "don't miss" attraction if you are visiting the area.
We also stopped at several wineries in Virginia. Please visit our wine page for more information and links to these wineries.
Moondance Cafe - 201 E. Main Street Charlottesville, VA 804-984-3933
St. Maarten Cafe - 1400 Wertland Street Charlottesville, VA 804-293-CAFE
The St. Maarten Cafe has been awarded a "best of ..." www.weloveourlife.com award.
Awful Arthur's - 333 West Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 804-296-0969
We visited central Virginia in early June. The days were in the 80s and the evenings were in the high 60s/low 70s. It was comfortable but humid, as Virginia is prone to humidity.
There are several historic attractions in the Charlotesville region that attract many visitors. It is a good idea to visit these attractions as early in the day as possible (especially on weekends). Virginia roads are well-marked but make sure you have directions and maps readily available.