Thursday, May 30, 2013

Part Two - Charlottesville, VA: On the Mall

The mall area in Charlottesville is pretty unique in that it is the town's center, but you really can't drive through it. It makes for a sort of bubbling hub: lots of excellent restaurants, unique businesses, trendy stores, yoga studios, vintage options, bars and clubs, and most importantly, people. You can really tell that the C-Ville population takes an interest in their surroundings.

Hello, Charlottesville :)

These photographs are pretty representative of the mall as a whole - the central brick street is flanked by businesses and has lots of outdoor restaurant seating down the center.

I sort of have a soft spot for these old drug stores. 
This particular one had a deli and soda fountain in the rear and when we walked back there, it really did look like a scene from the 1950s. If I had been remotely hungry, I definitely would have ordered a coke float.

Rock Paper Scissors was probably my favorite local business that we visited on the mall. I have a weakness for paper products, and this little shop was overflowing with neat cards, awesome wrapping paper, wax stamps and so much more. I bought my second souvenir here: 2 cards that will probably end up in frames for a gallery wall in the making.

Unique mural and bike rack.

It took awhile to decide on the perfect lunch spot because there were so many tempting options.
We ended up going with Citizen Burger Bar; a really good choice.

It's 5:00 somewhere.
Rule #3: Why not??

We split a lobster club sandwich and a Citizen burger. 
Both were excellent, but I think Brigid would agree that the sweet potato fries were ridiculously good - easily the best ones I have ever had.

Random chalk wall at one end of the mall.
Unfortunately, there was no chalk when we visited, but we did get to read the words of advice from many, many others. 
Rule #4: Be happy

Thought this was funny.

After spending the day on the mall and scoping out some good nighttime spots, we headed back to the hotel to get more presentable. 
We cabbed it back downtown around 8.
Brigid is very good at making conversation with, well anyone, and was able to charm Bruno (our cab driver) into turning off the meter early. (Yes, he got a great tip.)
Rule #5: Being overly nice and outgoing gets you the best service

We had a light dinner and then drinks at Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar. 
I didn't bring my camera, but we split a salad and some lobster and salt cod cakes with coconut sauce that were so good I'm getting mad thinking about them as I type this. The bar here is really pretty awesome - it's open air with lots of seating and heaters (!) which were great because it got a little chilly that night.

**Note: for anyone googling "Charlottesville + first date spot" this is the place to come, by a landslide. 

This is Millers, known to us because Dave Matthews was a bartender here. 
It's a small and crowded bar, but we got to see some great musicians and also some free tequila.

From Miller's we headed to another night spot where we happily observed the party-goers, mildly partook in some dancing, and talked to two other friendly out-of-towners. This was going great until one of them offered us illegal drugs. I am pretty sure they knew they had asked the wrong people when the record scratched, the bar became silent and you could hear crickets chirping in the background. Laughing, we decided it was time to call Bruno and headed back to our comfy hotel after a fun night. 
Rule #6: The party stops when strangers offer you drugs

I have ONE more Charlottesville post that I'm really excited to share with you next week, because it was hands down my favorite place that we visited (twice!).
Stay tuned!!

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