She’s bought the dress. She’s found the caterer. She’s analyzed each minute detail. Let’s face it—she’s probably a little stressed. Give the bride a respite from all that planning with the perfect weekend getaway: a little wine, a little relaxation, and a whole lot of bridal bonding with her best friends in Charlottesville, VA.
The city of Charlottesville is located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The local culture is rooted in tradition but has a modern sensibility. Home to the University of Virginia, it possess a rich intellectual and cultural life, as well as strong ties to the surrounding farms, forests, and waterways. It’s the perfect destination for the bachelorette who loves indulgences, yet also craves a chance to take things easy. For outdoor adventures, rustic wineries, and upbeat downtown romps, come to Cville. Pack your bags and get excited for the ultimate girls’ getaway.
Find a Home Base
Choosing your home away from home is a vital part of planning the ultimate bachelorette getaway. Adventure awaits—but you’ll definitely want somewhere comfortable, central, and serene to rest up between adventures. Here are our favorite accommodations:
We can’t praise this boutique inn enough. Located steps from the University of Virginia campus in the heart of Charlottesville, Oakhurst is a short walk from The Corner (a stretch of bars and restaurants popular with students). Mere feet from the hotel, you can hop aboard Charlottesville’s trolley service and find yourself on the Downtown Mall, the city’s bustling pedestrian mall with dozens of local boutiques, restaurants, bars, and music venues. Oakhurst boasts quaint, cozy charm; you’ll feel as though you’ve lived there for years. Complete with a Russian gramophone, warm firesides, four libraries, and a killer brunch restaurant, it’s ideal for the bachelorette who craves old-fashioned charm.
Does your bride love history and modern comforts? Look no further than The Dinsmore. A true piece of Virginian history, the Federal-style townhouse was built in 1822 by Thomas Jefferson’s master carpenter, James Dinsmore. Walking into this nine-room boutique inn is like stepping back in time and rediscovering Charlottesville’s colonial roots—but after it’s recent renovation, you won’t be without contemporary luxuries like upscale bedding and flat-screen TVs. Stop into the inn’s new farmhouse-inspired restaurant, Farm Bell Kitchen, for everything from breakfast to English tea.
Omni hotels have a reputation for refined elegance combined with contemporary comfort, and Charlottesville’s Omni takes the cake. Since the hotel is located on the edge of the Downtown Mall, the bridal party can walk to numerous local shops, restaurants, and bars. Take a dip in its indoor heated pool or mosey through the seven-story glass atrium for a cappuccino at Morsel’s Coffee Shop. We highly recommend the Omni for bachelorettes looking to add a little high-class glitz to their weekend.
Stay Charlottesville Rental Home
Why split up into separate hotel rooms when you can rent an entire house to, well, house your weekend fun? Rent a we-can-only-dream home through Stay Charlottesville, the area’s premier vacation home rental service, where you can rent everything from a downtown loft to a historic estate. Devote time to making group meals in a gourmet kitchen, sitting poolside and sipping cocktails, or having a truly relaxing staycation within the elegantly appointed walls of your home-away-from-home.
At Keswick Hall, the bride-to-be isn’t just the bachelorette—she’s a goddess. This palatial manor welcomes guests to bask in pampering, five-star accommodations. Practice your archery and croquet on the 600-acre estate, swim in the horizon pool, or prep for the wedding day by spending a morning getting deep-tissue massages, facials, and body glow treatments at the Keswick Club Spa. Keswick is much more than a bed for the night: it’s a sanctuary for relaxation and indulgence.
Pro Tip: Keswick Hall is closed for renovations throughout the remainder of 2018, with plans to reopen in early 2019.
We recommend taking it easy after arriving in Charlottesville Friday afternoon. Settle in, unpack, and explore your accommodations. Make sure you get your beauty sleep Friday night—you’re in for a day full of adventures, so rest up! For some low-key but festive activities to start the weekend off right, check out our Friday evening recommendations below.
Get acquainted with the Charlottesville by driving through its scenic countryside of Crozet to King Family Vineyards for a pre-dinner wine tasting. King Family has been on the wine scene since 2002 and produces some of the area’s best vino. Make sure you try the Crosé, which is perfect for drinking al fresco on a warm day, or spring for a bottle of Meritage if your crew loves full-bodied reds. Trust us: you’ll be leaving with a bottle (or two, or three).
Mas is located in the heart of Belmont, just a few blocks from the Downtown Mall, and it’s perfect fare for your first night in Charlottesville. Seating at this Spanish tapas restaurant and bar is first come, first serve, so get there on the early side for guaranteed seating for you and the girls. Everything here is sourced seasonally, so the menu changes all the time, but go for the staples: bacon-wrapped dates, bocadillo de jamón, and alcachofas a la parilla (halved grilled artichokes with their signature aioli). You’ll want to split the large pitcher of sangria. Prepare to leave happy, full, and a little boozy.
Work off that food baby with a walk through Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, taking some time to browse through the city’s eclectic shops. If you can find the stomach room, grab a cup of gelato at Splendora’s in seasonal flavors such as Blueberry Rosemary, Chipotle Chocolate, and Goat Cheese Honey Fig.
Head back to your home base, change into silky robes, and kick back for some girl talk, romantic comedies, and a shared bottle of—you guessed it—Crosé.
Lounge around your accommodations while you enjoy cappuccinos and muffins. Then throw on sundresses, sun hats, and sunglasses (weather permitting)—it’s time to get your day drinking on. Charlottesville sits at the epicenter of Virginia wine country, but few realize that its cideries and breweries are nearly as revered as its vineyards. Your bachelorette will love sampling all this rich region has to offer. After all, what bride doesn’t love toasting with her girls?
A trip to Charlottesville would hardly be complete without checking out the area’s best wineries, cideries, distilleries, and breweries. To avoid the hassle of appointing a designated driver or two, check out your options for transportation through Monticello Wine Tours. They’ll help you get to and from the destinations of your choice. Here are a few of our favorites:
Albemarle CiderWorks grows 200 different cultivars of apples, including many heirloom varieties, on site through its umbrella business, Vintage Virginia Apples. The family-run operation has spent years developing the varieties that gives their hard cider its cool, crisp taste. Stop by for a tasting and enjoy live music in the warmer months.
Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyard
This stunning vineyard is one of the area’s most popular by far. We’ve covered dozens of weddings at Pippin here at Zola, but we never tire of its truly breathtaking Blue Ridge views. Head inside the tasting room to sample their wines, then order a cheese board to share under the breezy outdoor veranda. Be sure to have your cameras ready—there’s no better location to document your bachelorette weekend than in front of Pippin’s picturesque vistas.
Pro Tip: Saturdays at Pippin get pretty crazy—expect long wait times. For guaranteed service, book the 4-course paired tasting menu at The Vintner’s Table for groups of 6-16.
Blue Mountain Brewery
This hidden gem is a favorite destination for locals in search of a Saturday outing. Grab a table on their extensive outdoor deck and order a tasting flight, as well as some heartier fare to counter-balance all the boozing. Luckily BMB’s kitchen churns out a delicious menu, including burgers, salads, and gourmet pizzas. For a little post-lunch education, request a complimentary tour of the brewery and learn all about craft brewing practices.
Veritas Vineyard & Winery
Hanging in there? Great! It’s time to head over to Veritas for one last wine tasting. Their idyllic landscape, and views of the mountains have made them a favorite venue for Charlottesville weddings. Taste anywhere from 6-10 wines, then head outside to enjoy the view.
Pro Tip: Groups of 8 or more people need to make a reservation for a group tasting, and will need to split into smaller groups for seated tastings on Saturdays and Sundays.
Take a few hours to relax, (maybe nap?), take a refreshing shower, then throw on your best stilettos—the night awaits!
It seems Charlottesville has a thing for small-plate menus. Good thing you girls like to share. Bang! is tucked between the Downtown Mall and South Street. With an excellent selection of martinis and delicious Asian-inspired tapas, you’ll do just fine. Sit outside on the back patio to experience a seriously Cville evening.
Not into passing plates around? Sample inventive Mexican fare (and expertly crafted margaritas) at The Bebedero (where incredible musicians perform live Latin music every night), or splurge on a high-end meal at sleek, modern TEN sushi.
From dinner, head a few steps down the mall towards Rapture, a restaurant that transforms into a heart-pumping dance floor when the sun goes down. Need one more drink before busting a move? Stop by cozy French restaurant The Alley Light (located in a literal alley) for some of the most original, expertly-crafted cocktails of your life. Or hit up nightlife fave Skybar, the rooftop bar portion of Commonwealth restaurant.
If your crew’s dancing vibe is less bump-and-grind and more stand-and-sway, see which national musical acts are scheduled to play at The Jefferson or the more intimate and eclectic The Southern Café & Music Hall.
You did it! You made it through five of Charlottesville’s most fantastic wineries, cideries, and breweries. You danced until those killer stilettos gave you a killer blister. You celebrated your best friend’s last weekend as a bachelorette and laughed until your stomach ached. Chances are, Sunday morning may greet you with a wee headache. Don’t worry; we have the perfect remedy.
Pop a few Advils, then make your way to the Oakhurst Inn Cafe, whose brunch is positively to die for. “Ooh” and “ahh” over their Duck Hunt Sandwich with fresh, local chèvre and housemade cherry jam, or their hearty Buckwheat Shortcakes topped with Virginia hickory syrup, fruit compote, and freshly whipped ginger cream.
For something within walking distance of downtown, check out the Sunday brunch at Tavern & Grocery, where the Steak & Fromage will cure all that ails you. Is it even legal to put grass-fed ribeye, creamy brie, crusty bread, and crispy fries all on one plate?
Want to do more than just drive through the countryside sampling Charlottesville’s finest libations? Not a problem! This city has something for everyone.
- Take an outdoorsy bachelorette to hike Humpback Rock.
- Get your sweat on with a full-body workout at group running studio treadHappy or take a heart rate-monitored HIIT class at OrangeTheory Fitness.
- For a yoga sweat instead, gather the girls for a heated vinyasa class at Hot Yoga Charlottesville.
- Cleanse your system by visiting the Salt Room at Halo Salt Spa, where you can breathe in Himalayan salt aerosols and absorb the crystals’ neutralizing negative ions.
- During the summer, head out to watch a polo match at King Family Vineyards.
- Also during warm months, catch huge acts at the outdoor Sprint Pavilion at the edge of the Mall.
- Sample local produce and baked goods (and find stellar breakfast items) at the very popular Charlottesville City Market on Saturday mornings downtown.
- See what’s scheduled to come through indoor John Paul Jones Arena, whether its music, WWE, or stand-up comedy.
- Visit Monticello to learn about Charlottesville’s very own founding father, Thomas Jefferson.
- Attend a UVA athletic event—football, baseball, basketball, or lacrosse games are especially popular.
- Go tubing, kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddleboarding in downtown’s Rivanna River through outfitters Rivanna River Company.
- Pick apples at Carter Mountain Orchard, where you’ll find killer views and apple cider donuts.
- For the super artsy, watch live broadcasts of opera, theater, and television performances within the stunning halls of The Paramount.
- Feel like getting a little risqué? Book a private class in pole, exotic, burlesque, lapdance, chairdance, aerial arts, and more at The Phoenix Dance Studio.
- Eat made-from-scratch pie and sip chai at quaint shop The Pie Chest.
Charlottesville offers something for every bachelorette. With adventure waiting around every corner, it’s the ideal destination for one last weekend of unmarried life spent laughing, dancing, and celebrating with your girls.