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Discover Charlottesville & Beyond

Are you looking for some guidance about how to spend your days while lodging at the Iris Inn? We can help with that. We provide a couple different itinerary options that take you to hiking trails, history tours, wineries, breweries, and caverns:

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Day One: Staunton Tour- Staunton, VA is a historic city known for its architecture, its quirky shops and boutiques, and its unique restaurants. Stop by Sunspots Studios and watch a live, glass-blowing demonstration. For a truly unique item, hand blow your own Christmas glass ornament. Experience the Frontier Culture Museum, an indoor and outdoor demonstration of early settler life in the Shenandoah Valley or take in the legacy of Woodrow Wilson at his birthplace, museum and research library. Enjoy dinner at one of Staunton’s restaurants, Zynodoa and Mill Street are excellent choices. Then enjoy a night of theater at the Blackfriars Playhouse, the only re-creation in the world of Shakespeare’s legendary indoor theatre.

Day Two: Crabtree Falls Loop- This loop takes you down the Blue Ridge Parkway and to the beautiful Crabtree Falls. The largest cascading falls east of the Mississippi, Crabtree Falls is “famous for its connection to the well-known television show The Waltons. The falls were not shown on television, but the name was referred to several times during the life of the program…in reference to a Sunday outing.”  Besides the beautiful hike, this loop takes you past some excellent breweries and wineries, including Devil’s Backbone, Blue Mountain Brewery, Flying Fox Vineyard, Afton Mountain Vineyard, and Veritas Vineyard and Winery. Both Breweries serve up lunch and dinner if your stomach is growling after your waterfall hike.

Day Three: Blackrock Summit Loop – This loop begins with the scenic Skyline Drive and then a stop at Blackrock Summit. Blackrock Summit is a relatively easy hike, not quite 1 mile in length, and it boasts a panoramic view that is absolutely breathtaking. Once you’ve finished your hike at Blackrock, head off towards Grand Caverns, one of the oldest operating show caves in the U.S. Tour the various “rooms” and “halls” in the caverns, learn about the fascinating rock formations, and discover the wealth of Civil War history surrounding the caves. If you’re not too exhausted after your hike and your cavern tour, on the way back to the Iris Inn, make a quick stop at CrossKeys Vineyard in Harrisonburg, VA, and try out their award-winning Chardonnay, Meritage, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.

Day Four: Monticello - Monticello, a 5,000-acre plantation near Charlottesville, was the home of Thomas Jefferson, the president of the United States. Thomas Jefferson  authored the Declaration of Independence, and founded the University of Virginia. Take a tour of the house, designed by Jefferson himself, the rooms, and the historic gardens. Once you’ve toured the estate, take a few minutes to visit Jefferson Vineyards, which is one of the first to introduce modern viticulture to Virginia and at long last help realize Thomas Jefferson’s dream. Enjoy a Jeffersonian period lunch at the Ordinary in Michie Tavern, a historic term for a place to eat food. Then wander to Charlottesville downtown mall, largely considered one of the finest urban parks in America. While on the mall, pick up tickets to a live music venue at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion or the Paramount Theatre to enjoy after dinner at Hamilton’s.

Looking for a longer stay? Check out the hot air balloon rides, horseback riding, or a day at the beach on Sherando Lake.