I have been to Charlottesville, Virginia a few times. My trips were always to visit Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, and I was usually taking out of town guests with me. It’s a nice place. But when my friends suggested we organize a girls’ weekend in Charlottesville, I protested. Not only because I wanted to go someplace new, but also because I wondered what we could possibly do besides a historical tour. Which is fine, but not exactly girls’ weekend kind of fun. My friends wanted to do a wine tour, and, as the last holdout, I begrudgingly went along. I like wine, but I’m a bit of a lightweight, so I wasn’t sure what I’d get out of this whole thing.
Boy, was I wrong on so many accounts. First, Charlottesville in September is beautiful. After a very hot East Coast summer, we had perfect late summer temperatures and an amazing view of the Blue Ridge Mountains at all of our stops. Being a college town, Charlottesville also has a bit of a bohemian vibe. Yes, you can still find your traditional Virginia horse country men in pink pants and jackets watching a polo match. But much of the downtown area is full of small, independent stores and cafes that add local charm.
But this is the most important thing. For all of my protesting, the moment I was seated at an outdoor table at a winery with a bottle of Viognier and a platter of creamy cheeses, fig spreads, and fudge on toast, I looked across the view of the vineyard framed by the mountains, laughed with my friends, and realized that sometimes you just have to give in and indulge. There would be no history lesson on this trip, no physical adventure, and little cultural connection. On this trip, I would enjoy nice wine, eat amazing food, get the best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages, and soak in stunning views of the Virginia countryside.
I never even had Indulgent Vacation on my travel checklist. I never thought that was for me. More stamps on my passport, more historically relevant destinations, new cultures to explore, that was always the goal. But for one weekend, just a two hour drive from home, I discovered that sometimes a vacation can be just as satisfying when you’ve simply treated yourself. And eaten lots of cheese.