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 chores (and manage to get out of working), 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 their picture of the ideal weekend and make a series out of it.
Welcome to Weekenders, which will aim to answer the question:
If you had one perfect weekend to spend in Cville, what would you do?
Erin Barbour Scala manages the wine lists at both Fleurie and Petit Pois restaurants. Fleurie's has received national acclaim and awards for its wine program, while Petit Pois hosts winemaker dinners every couple months that feature unique, otherwise unattainable wines from as far away as the coasts of Australia. Chosen as a “40 under 40” by Wine Enthusiast in 2014, Erin is also a contributor to every wine geek’s favorite podcast, “Levy Dalton’s I’ll Drink To That,” and regularly pens articles for C-Ville Weekly and Knife & Fork. Rumored to be a talented drummer who is now dabbling in pro-am video creation, last but not least, Erin is also currently hard at work trying to get her 18-month-old, Valentina, to eat peas. In full disclosure - in case it's not already clear - we are Erin's biggest fan girls.
So, without further ado, here is Erin’s ideal weekend, in her own words, for how she'd spend time in Cville if she weren’t helping guests pick the perfect bottle to go with their steak frites or scallop gateau.
The weekend would start early with a long, leisurely lunch at Bizou. I’d be outside ordering from their Champagne list—it’s the best!—and eating their fried chicken lunch. Afterwards, I’d make a quick run to Staples, and not for any reason other than Gearharts is right next door. I’d get an eight-pack of their chocolates (the Maya truffle is my favorite), pop four right away, and then save the other four to slowly eat over the rest of the weekend. After all that, I’d need a pick-me-up so I’d have to go to Milli Coffee Roasters for some coffee.
I’ve always wanted to go up to Carter’s Mountain to take in one of those amazing Charlottesville sunsets. So I’d grab Valentina and head up there to enjoy some cider and blue grass while taking in the view.
I’d head home, get the baby to bed, and watch Netflix. When Joe gets home, we’d enjoy a late-night glass of Savenniéres on the porch watching a meteor shower.
Of course—and this is my fantasy—I’d get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep and wake up to a family breakfast on Saturday morning. And while we’re talking fantasy, Valentina is magically potty trained, too. I’d make egg-in-the-hole for her and then we’d head to the Charlottesville City Market. First stop would be coffee at the Shenandoah Joe's stand, and then we’d head to the Radical Roots stand for heirloom tomatoes. They have the best tomatoes and I’m always in search of all the ingredients for the most awesome grilled cheese sandwich. If Radical Roots has any of their big black “Carbon” heirloom variety, I’m grabbing those because their stock goes fast! Then it’s some natural bread with pumpkin seeds and some good melting cheese from Caromont Farm's stand. Now all I need is some olive oil, and salt and pepper (and a toaster oven) to make the most incredible grilled cheese and tomato sandwich. In fact, even though this is my ideal/fantasy, in reality I do get to make this more frequently than not. Then Valentina and I would spend some time people and dog-watching on the Downtown Mall. While we’re there, we’d head to Splendora’s for gelato. Valentina would get a bambino cones and I’d get one of their citrus flavors—grapefruit is my favorite. I’d need another pick-me-up, so it’d be time for an Americano at Mudhouse.
In an ideal setting, Joe would also be off and we’d have a babysitter. We’d either be able to see some sort of show—something very cultured like ballet or opera—or go have dinner someplace far, far away from anywhere I work. Perhaps we’d spend the night in Marshall and go to Field & Main for dinner. Neal Wavra has a very cool Virginia by-the-glass list and I’d start with a Viognier. For dinner we’d have a bottle of Lapierre Cru Beaujolais.
I’d really love to visit the Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C., if we had time so I could get astronaut ice cream to bring back to Valentina. We’d meander our way back to Charlottesville, stopping at a winery for lunch on our way back. Early Mountain would be on the way, ha!
Of course I’d need to catch another sunset. Anywhere I am, I’m always obsessed with the best place to catch the sunset in that locale. I love sunsets on the Mall—when it’s slightly cloudy and the sun is just right, the Paramount starts to glow and all the bricks reflect the light beautifully. Most nights, I can see the sunset through the windows at Fleurie or Petit Pois and it’s a moment of calm just before dinner service gets into full swing. On this Sunday though, the ideal would be to have time to take a short hike to some high place to really take in the sunset. And—of course!—the ideal would be to find some morels along the way.
That evening, we’d make the best dinner at home: something involving Polyface pork sausages, wild rice and local veggies to go with the morels we foraged. Dinner would be paired with a nice Burgundy or a cab franc from the Loire Valley. Surprisingly, when it comes to drinking, I’m a lightweight. But if I had it in me, we’d either have a pre-dinner cocktail or nightcap. Lately we’ve been experimenting with our takes on the Dark & Stormy. Currently our favorite iteration involves some housemade Orgeat and El Dorado rum.
And then sleep. Glorious sleep.