Like many C-villians, our P+K crew pines for weekends. When we wisely choose to spend one living life in lieu of life maintenance errands, we open ourselves up to the ridiculously wide range of options this gem of a town and region offer. It’s overwhelming AF. With this embarrassing wealth of opportunity comes a first-world challenge—tread the path you know or branch out to new adventures? To expand our horizons on the latter, we decided to tap the community of dynamic industry pros in Charlottesville for fresh ideas.
Welcome to Weekenders, which will aim to answer the question:
If you had one perfect weekend to spend in Cville, what would you do?
Locals know, and visitors quickly learn, that the radiant soul of Charlottesville is acutely personified by the charming cats that make up its food industry. If you’ve consumed a shred of this blog, you get that we are die hard fans of this community. Somms, mixologists, chefs, servers, baristas, butchers, bakers and many more - they are frontline ambassadors of love, guardians of light, and they have our hearts. Their endless cheer is a guide star that brightens the corners and illuminates the path forward. Lately we’ve needed that more than ever and will take all we can get.
In that spirit, we're thrilled to report that reinforcements of joy have landed, or rather, returned. With cheesy puns intended, what we’re saying is: Albee’s back!
One of the most genuine, lovable badasses in the business, Albee Pedone previously ran the bar at Oakhart Social before paring down life to what he could fit into a backpack and setting out, early spring, for a soulful adventure on the Appalachian Trail.
Albee returns with deep insights and reflections from his journey that you’ll want to hear. While you're being regaled by his stories, sip on a local draught at the new brewpub from Three Notch’d Brewery in the IX Art Park where he is now Assistant GM/Bar Manager. This new joint officially opens the week after Labor Day, and we're all over it.
When you’re diving into a gig like this, the concept of free weekends is a fairy tail. Still, one can pipe dream, so here Albee goes.
The weekend kicks off in one location with two dimensions. The soft place in my heart is for barbecue and Smoked Kitchen and Tap nails it every time, so I’m feasting here on Friday night. But first I hit The Rooftop (by the same crew in the same building) for happy hour to sip a few beers and take in the majestic views of the Blue Ridge at dusk. This is truly one of the best spots to see the beauty that surrounds Charlottesville. Here I start to visualize the trails I’ll be hiking as the rest of the weekend unfolds. Then it’s downstairs to the main dining room with friends to get busy with a giant dose of beef brisket and cornbread, two of my favorites on the Smoked menu. Also, their fried chicken is just insane!
Maybe the biggest single no-brainer any weekend for me is brunch at MarieBette. I’m planning to put some mileage on my hiking boots today, so I’m fueling up here. I start with the Jorgensen (open faced sammie of smoked salmon, crème fraîche, red onion, cucumber, dill), and for dessert I work a stack of lemon ricotta pancakes.
After brunch, it’s time for a long drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is an ideal weekend so the weather is perfect and the Wrangler’s top is down. Eventually I’ll stop and do a hike to St. Mary’s Falls. This is one of the last virgin forests around and some parts of the trail are not super blazed. You’re in the wild out here. The hike to stunning waterfalls, the ideal spot for reflection or just zoning out on a big rock, is only 2 miles in, so it’s a pretty manageable hike.
Post hike I’m thirsty for a locally brewed beer so I will drop in on Stable Craft Brewing to quench it before I head back to town.
As you know, I log a lot of time in a bar socializing, mixing it up with folks since that’s where I spend my working hours, so when I get a free night, I’m at the movies. The Violet Crown downtown on the Mall is my go-to venue.
After the movie, I’m sitting at the bar at Lampo chatting up Andrew, Loren, Shelly and Mitchell while digging into ALL THE VEGETABLES. You’d never guess that the best vegetable dishes in town can be found at a pizza joint, but there they are!
Sunday brunch goes down at Rapture where I’m working a country scramble and whatever seasonal pancake special is on the menu. The portions are giant here so it helps to have a partner in crime on this mission. Owners Mike and Cici are veterans of this industry just wonderful people.
All afternoon I’m cruising Skyline Drive and basking in the endless vistas of Shenandoah National Park. Along the way I’ll drop in for a hike to Black Rock Summit for a 360 degree mountain view. The payoff is only about a mile in - one of the shortest around and ideal for a quick fix. The best bang for the buck, as they say.
To finish the weekend, I’m stopping by Al Carbon for a takeout, whole rotisserie chicken and a few sides, and I'm chilling at home with a flick.