You wouldn’t expect Thomas Jefferson, Stonewall Jackson, and William Shakespeare to have anything in common, but they do. All three men cast long shadows in a swath of Blue Ridge country bracketed by the towns of Charlottesville and Staunton. A three-hour drive southwest of Washington, D.C., this corner of Virginia offers a sampler of history and bucolic scenery, with Jefferson, Jackson, and Shakespeare front and center.
In Charlottesville, you’ll naturally want to make the pilgrimage to Jefferson’s Monticello estate and the grounds of the university he designed, but also be sure to check out at least one local eatery. "In a place with so much history," says local writer Brian Wimer, "start with Michie Tavern, which dates to 1784 and is popular for its lunchtime Southern buffet based on 18th-century recipes."