Charlottesville this weekend, May 3-5, 2013, 2013, offers spring blooms, live music, art, City Market fresh goodies, the Montalto 5K Challenge, retail therapy options, and a chance to tour a nearby Italian-style Swannanoa Palace. Charlottesville isn’t that far away; hop in the car for a quick road trip and enjoy all that Charlottesville has to offer this spring weekend.
Kick off this weekend with live music at Charlottesville’s Fridays After Five, a free music concert every Friday at the Ntelos Wireless Pavilion on the Charlottesville Downtown Pedestrian Mall. Groove Train plays disco tonight, with an opening set by Blue Step. Not that spontaneous by nature? Check out the current schedule of musicians and plan a trip to Charlottesville for another weekend this spring.
After checking out Fridays After Five, make a night of it by having dinner “on the mall,” followed by some window boutique shopping. Or, get your art on at a participating First Fridays gallery opening. Enjoy the Charlottesville local art talent, along with snacks and perhaps a glass of wine; and then hit Fridays After Five at the pavilion for some tunes or the mall for dinner.
If you’re an early riser, and race day fees of $40 fit your wallet, you can walk, run or just watch the Montalto Challenge. The 5K race winds up Montalto, from Kemper Park, on the Monticello-Saunders Trail, to the top of the mountain for spectacular views of Charlottesville and the surrounding areas. The last bus for walkers leaves at 7:00 a.m.; for runners and spectators the last bus departs at 7:30 a.m.; get the full scoop.
Retail therapy options also beckon early on Saturday morning depending on your preferred treasure of fresh veggies, antiques or toys. Charlottesville’s City Market opens at 7:00 a.m. and offers all manner of fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, flowers and plants, as well as live music and art. (City Market is open every Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to noon, April-October and from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays in November and December. For more information call Charlottesville Parks & Recreation at (434) 970-3260.)
Shenanigans, a toy store, located on 601 West Main Street near the Amtrak station, offers a sidewalk sale with deep discounts this weekend from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., up to 75% off toys, dolls, stuffed animals, games, puzzles. Stock up now for future birthdays and Christmas! And, there’s FREE parking in front of and beside the store.
In nearby Crozet, the Girlfriends Antique & Home Décor sale is holding a free indoor sale (Saturday, May 4, 9:00a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Sunday May 5, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) at the Golf Pavilion Room of the Old Trail Golf Clubhouse (in Old Trail Village, Crozet, VA, 22932) featuring seven different antique dealers. (Sale continues on Sunday May 5 from, if your Saturday is already booked.)
Round out your Charlottesville weekend with amazing architecture on Sunday: Swannanoa Palace. Check out the Italian-style palace near Charlottesville which is open to the public for tours this weekend starting at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 5. James Dooley built Swannanoa Palace in 1912 as his summer home in the mountains to escape the heat of Maymont, his Richmond, VA, home. Modeled after the Medici family’s palace in Rome, Italy, Swannanoa Palace required the skills of more than 300 artisans, and includes a 4,000 piece Tiffany stained-glass window. Although the grandeur of Swannanoa Palace has experienced some aging, the tour is only $6, and worth every penny. For more information, call 540.942.5201.
Travel to Charlottesville any weekend is a good idea; and with cool temps and bountiful blooms, spring travel is even more delightful.
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