24 HOURS IN CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” -Helen Keller.
Growing up my family drove to Virginia almost every single year to visit my Grandpa. We didn’t travel out of Michigan often as a family, so it was always considered a big trip and a long way from home in my eyes. My Grandpa, who lived there, was the only grandparent that got to see me grow up so visiting him was always very special. I absolutely loved being in the state of Virginia! Maybe it was because of the beautiful spring weather and getting to see the mountains. Maybe it was because my Grandpa let me eat ice cream every evening and stay up late. Or maybe it’s a little bit of everything that has made Virginia such a special place in my heart! Needless to say, being able to visit this beautiful state for the first time in 5 years with Nick and Leo was an absolute treat!
This was Leo’s first car ride that was longer than two hours, so we were a little nervous to see how he would take it. When we first got on the road it was around 5 am so Leo and I went back to sleep while Nick graciously drove south. Leo did so great on the long car ride and never made a peep! I did give Leo some happy traveler pills and sprayed some calming spray around 9am to help keep him stay relaxed and avoid an upset stomach. We stopped every couple of hours for potty breaks and offered him water and kibble outside of the car. I was extremely proud of Leo and already can’t wait for our next road trip now that I know he can handle it with ease!
After 8 hours in the car we arrived in Charlottesville, VA! We were so excited to stretch our legs and walk around the University of Virginia’s campus in the beautiful weather. We were quickly informed that the locals refer to the campus as the “grounds” which is understandable because they are so quiet and well kept! We took in the fresh air, historical architecture and fresh blooms while students stopped us to pet Leo.
After we got a feel for life at the UofV we headed further south to wind down at a stunning winery that overlooked the mountains. I was in absolute awe of this place! We had the option on sitting in their closed in patio with Leo or on their grass lawn. It was a sunny day and the lawn had the best view, so we opted for that! I told Nick while we were sipping wine and looking out at the mountains that this was one of my favorite dates we had ever been on! Leo attracted some attention towards the end of our visit and a local photographer even offered to take a family photo of us.
The evening was rolling in, so we then headed to the Graduate Charlottesville, the pet friendly hotel we stayed at that night. This boutique hotel is located on UofV’s campus conveniently in walking distance to many cute shops and restaurants. We were greeted by their friendly valet and front desk staff as well as many guests who wanted to pet Leo. Do you see a theme here? Leo sure knows how to attract a crowd ;)
When we walked into our room we were welcomed by a gift basket full of snacks for Nick and I as well as a Bark Box and custom Graduate Charlottesville dog blanket for Leo. We were blown away by the hotel’s generosity and hospitality! As we settled in for the night we had a delicious meal from Camp Ten Four, the hotel’s rooftop bar. The menu had so many great options to choose from and we definitely couldn’t pass up a milkshake for dessert!
We all slept like babies after such a long, fun filled day and woke up to a view of the mountains from our hotel room window. We got ready for the day and headed down to the lobby to get a better look at the hotel. We stopped in the game room to take a few photos and tried our best not to disturb the students that were studying there. I think it’s so cool that the Graduate hotels welcome students to such a great study environment!
We grabbed a drink from the Sheepdog Café located in the hotel lobby. A black coffee for Nick, a vanilla latte for myself and a water for Leo. Us northerners couldn’t get enough of the nice weather, so we took our drinks outside to the charming patio.
We then went back inside for some more photos and a member of the Graduate’s staff pointed out that there are a few special drawers at the check in desk with tassels on them. We were geeked to open them and find dog treats in one and smarties in another. How cute is that!?
Another feature of the hotel that I absolutely loved was the bright orange bikes available to rent out to their guest. Since Leo is a little too big to ride in the basket, we had to venture the town by foot, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to snap a few photos of them!
Although our stay in Charlottesville was short, it was full of so many great memories! I want to give a huge thanks to the Graduate Charlottesville for hosting our stay in this charming, southern town. We already can’t wait to visit again one day!