Joshua Kurlantzick, whose byline is usually attached to articles about foreign policy in The New Republic and other opinion journals, has written a travel article for the New York Times, suggesting that readers might enjoy "36 Hours in Charlottesville, Va."
Beginning, as might be expected, with a reference to Thomas Jefferson and the architecture he designed or inspired at Monticello and on the grounds of the University of Virginia, Kurlantzick goes on to note:
But the town itself is far more cutting-edge than its architecture. As American regional cuisine has gone upscale over the past decade, Charlottesville has been at the center of many changes, with local chefs updating traditional Southern fare by marrying grits, fried chicken and other standbys with French, Asian and other influences. The town's music scene, too, has served up megastars like the Dave Matthews Band and helped to launch the modern roots-rock wave. Even Virginia wine, once more Burger King than Bordeaux, has caught on. Local vineyards that never used to get invitations to competitions now hold their own with the finest of California or France. Even Jefferson would be proud — the third president succeeded at nearly everything, but he couldn't coax a decent wine out of Virginia's soil.The NYT web site also includes a colorful slideshow of scenes in the Charlottesville area, with views of the downtown mall, Monticello, various restaurants and shops, the Barboursville ruins, and Ash Lawn-Highland.