My trip to Charlottesville has filled up all my senses – I’m tipsy on sights, sound, tastes, and smells. What a wonderful getaway!

I hadn’t actually heard of Charlottesville, VA before this trip, but I’m glad I explored it. It’s a college town that contains the University of Virginia as well as a historic town with venerable taverns, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison’s homes, and other sights. There’s a fantastic pedestrian mall in the center of the city with fun boutiques, book shops (huzzah!) and craft stores as well as about 3 or 4 superb restaurants on each block. Add to all of this the Blue Ridge mountains and eye-popping fall color, and you’d be intoxicated by your senses, too.

Though Big Guy was busy with the Pastors’ Conference, and I had a backlog of work to complete, we did manage to get out and walk the trails and explore restaurants. A group of us pastors and spouses enjoyed jazz at South Street Brewery, where Dave Matthews used to play, and I had a plate of BBQ ribs so good that I could have licked the bones for another hour. The Shebeen offered us unusual South African food and I even tasted a lamb dish that I liked! There’s an Enoteca on Main Street that offers wine by the half-glass, which made it easy for us to sample a bunch of new Italian wines (as well as swooningly delicious cheeses and marinated sun-dried tomatoes). And for lunch, a group of us went to a Middle Eastern restaurant with the best falafel and cucumber salad I have ever tasted.

At Monticello I learned that Jefferson was a gadget guy who loved to tinker with inventions and who had a passion for farming. One little detail fascinated me. His slaves would go fishing and then keep the fish in a little pond next to the kitchen until fish was on the menu. Talk about fresh! Peg and I also had a good time making stained glass bowls at a craft store. Once they’re fired, the plates will be shipped to us from C-ville.

We never made it to DC except to and from the airport, but I don’t have any regrets. If you’re in the area, especially in the fall, don’t miss visiting Charlottesville.