Travel Nurse Assignments: Live Like a Local – Charlottesville, VA!
Welcome to Charlottesville, VA! Located in Central Virginia, Charlottesville has a rich history that dates back to colonial times. The city was home to three former U.S. Presidents: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe, and their estates are now historical landmarks. Jefferson also founded The University of Virginia in Charlottesville, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is known as a hub for outdoor recreation with Shenandoah National Park just minutes away. Plus, if you’re a vino lover, you’ll be in paradise with dozens of local wineries to choose from. Charlottesville has plenty of entertainment and relaxation opportunities to enjoy while on your travel nurse assignment. Come see for yourself what makes Charlottesville so charming!
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Jefferson’s Monticello is Charlottesville’s crown jewel and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Jefferson designed Monticello himself and moved in while it was still under construction in 1770. Monticello was established as a working plantation, and Jefferson owned over 600 slaves, many of whom lived on the grounds and helped build the main house. Jefferson continued to update and remodel the property until his death in 1826 when he bequeathed Monticello to his daughter Martha. In the 20th century, it was purchased by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and became a museum. Today you can tour the main house and the grounds, explore the multitude of exhibits and interpretive sites, and visit Thomas Jefferson’s grave in the cemetery.
More Presidential Homes
Monticello is the main draw for tourists, however, the other presidential homes of Charlottesville are worth a visit as well. James Madison’s Montpelier is about 40 min from the city center and was built in the 1760s. Madison was the fourth president of the U.S. and is known as the “Father of the Constitution” for his pivotal role in drafting the Constitution of the United States. Visitors can tour the estate as well as the grounds, with 8+ miles of walking trails, a formal garden, and access to the Madison family cemetery. Montpelier is only open to the public on weekends and federal-holiday Mondays, and you can make your reservations online. This historical experience is one you won’t want to miss while being in Charlottesville during your travel nurse assignment.
Last but not least, James Monroe’s Highland is just a 6-minute drive from Monticello. Monroe was the fifth president of the U.S. and helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase. He lived at Highland sporadically from 1799 to 1826, and the main house burned down in 1829. Visitors can tour the guesthouse, which was built in 1818, as well as the grounds which include the Highland Rustic Trails.
Shenandoah and Carter Mountain Orchard
If historical attractions aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy in the Charlottesville area in between your nursing shifts. Shenandoah National Park encompasses part of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is just a short drive from the city. With over 200,000 acres to explore, Shenandoah is the region’s premier destination for outdoor recreation. Hiking is especially popular, with over 500 miles of hiking trails, and numerous opportunities for backcountry camping. Another popular activity for travel nurses on their day off is taking a scenic drive along the historic Skyline Drive. This 105-mile national parkway runs the entire length of the park along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you make the drive, spectacular vistas and opportunities for wildlife viewing await you.
Back in Charlottesville, Carter Mountain Orchard is a popular attraction just minutes away from downtown. The farm overlooks a lush valley and provides a stunning backdrop for walking through groves of apple and peach trees. The orchard is open year-round, and you and your fellow travel nurse friends can pick your own apples from August through November. In the spring, the trees come alive with apple blossoms adding extra beauty to the landscape. During the summer, the orchard hosts the Thursday Evening Sunset Series with live music, local food trucks, and adult beverages from Carter Mountain Wine and Bold Rock Hard Cider. Also, there is a general store stocked with fresh produce and sweet treats like ice cream and donuts. If you find yourself in Charlottesville on your travel nurse assignment during these seasonal months, take the time to stop by!
Charlottesville is located in the Monticello American Viticulture Area, and winemaking in the region dates back to the 1770s. Thomas Jefferson had a passion for wine and tried unsuccessfully to start a vineyard of his own. However, his dream of turning the area into a premier winemaking region was achieved by future generations. Today, there are over 30 wineries in the Monticello AVA all within 25 miles of the city.
Read more about wineries to visit in the Southeast!
These wineries grow over 30 different varieties of grapes, particularly Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, and Viognier grapes. High-profile wineries in the Monticello AVA include Blenheim Vineyards, owned by rock musician Dave Matthews, and Jefferson Vineyards, planted on the site of Thomas Jefferson’s original vineyard. There are also several highly-rated wine bars in town like Tilman’s Cheese and Wine and Orzo Kitchen and Wine Bar. Enjoy a relaxing and tasteful winery experience during your travel nurse assignment in Charlottesville, VA!