Thomas Jefferson's estate of Monticello is one of America's most famous homes, so much so that it is stamped on the back of every nickel, but visitors cannot stay there. The city of Charlottesville is only two miles from Monticello, and that cosmopolitan university town offers a range of accommodations, some of which are almost as historic as Jefferson's home.
Monticello is easily explored in a single day, and tickets for the estate are only good for a single day's visit in any case. However, the Charlottesville area has much more to offer than just Monticello, such as wineries or Montpelier, the home of Jefferson's close friend and successor as president, James Madison. Accommodations should be chosen with an eye on how convenient it is to reach these other attractions as well as Monticello.
Boar's Head Inn
Although the name may conjure up images of a quaint country inn, the Boar's Head is really a 171-room resort situated on 55 acres in western Charlottesville. Fodor's praised the resort's luxury and "tons of amenities," including an 18-hole golf course that made the "Best Places to Play in the 2008/09 edition of Golf Digest and a restaurant set in a grist mill from the 1830s that serves wines drawn from local vineyards.
Keswick Hall at Monticello
Keswick Hall is an Italianate villa built in 1912 that has been converted into a 48-room luxury hotel, replete with antiques and claw-footed bathtubs. Situated on a vast 600-acre property, Keswick Hall is also an area country club boasting an 18-hole golf course designed by Arnold Palmer. The hotel earned a Fodor's Choice award and a Frommer's rating of "exceptional," making it the top choice in the area for both travel guides.
Silver Thatch Inn
For accommodations that reflect the revolutionary era, the Silver Thatch Inn offers its guests a clapboard farmhouse dating to 1780. The seven rooms are decorated in a fashion suiting the historic origins of the building, with four-poster beds and plenty of dark wood, and most of the rooms have fireplaces. The one potential drawback is that its18th-century scale means the inn and its rooms are on the small side.
- monticello image by Gordon Adams from Fotolia.com