This past weekend my friend Alissa participated in the Monticelloman Triathlon which is a race that features both a half-ironman and olympic distance that takes place in and around Lake Monticello just a few miles southeast of Charlottesville, Virginia. Home to Thomas Jefferson and of course the birth of The Dave Matthews Band, Charlottesville has many cool attractions and activities to partake in if you are in the area. It makes for a great little getaway weekend from Washington, DC as well.
Filled with history and vineyards you can visit Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello and then go wine tasting at Jefferson Vineyards. Jefferson sits on the site of Thomas Jefferson’s original vineyard he built when he settled there. However during the Revolutionary War the vineyards were destroyed. The vineyard remained farmland until 1981 when grapes were replanted and the Vineyard reopened as Jefferson Vineyards. I highly recommend their Meritage wine there. Fantastic bold red with lots of flavors. Jefferson’s wines tend to be on the dryer side just FYI. A tasting is just $10 and you get to sample 11 wines and a crystal wine glass! Just not more than ten minutes down the road is Trump and Blenheim Vineyards (owned by Dave Matthews). We had managed to stop in at Jefferson and Trump for a tastings but didn’t make it to Blenheim Vineyards due to the late start time that we had following the triathlon. Trump is a fantastic winery that offers incredible views of the valley and has a lovely outdoor tasting area. It is a great spot to spend a nice sunny afternoon with a glass or bottle and relaxing. If you are into ports and whiskey I highly recommend the Cru. Its an after dinner white wine that is made similar to port and has a strong Jack Daniels flavor to it. Its great on the rocks, straight or even in a mimosa. The bottle is rather large and does only have a 10 day shelf life unlike port. The sauvignon blanc is lovely too. I had a glass of that following the tasting. We hung out at the Trump tasting room until they closed since the atmosphere was so great.
Following our wine tour we made our way into downtown Charlottesville in search of some good cuisine. There is a lovely pedestrian mall that stretches most of the historic downtown area called East Main Street. The closed off street features dozens of restaurants ranging from Chinese to American to Indian cuisine. Following the race we were craving carbs and something different with lots of flavor. We felt like we needed to indulge a little. In the end Alissa and I decided on Indian. We ate at Himalayan Fusion, which is located on the eastern end of the East Main Street has a nice menu of Indian and Tibetan cuisine (some Chinese too). The vindaloo and the garlic naan was great. Very flavorful and moderately priced! In all we wish that we had a little more time here but we definitely made the most of it with the time that we had. I am planning a return trip this fall during the foliage season to hit up more wineries and visit some sites that I missed along the way this time. Stay tuned for my full race report on Monticelloman!