Summer 2018 in Charlottesville

Summer 2018 in Charlottesville

Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer and 2018 is rapidly filling up with fun activities for the entire family to enjoy. From farmer’s markets to hiking, tubing and vineyard tasting, to music at various venues around town, there’s truly something for everyone. 

Farmers Markets

Long a favorite as a Saturday morning destination, and now starting its 45th year, the Charlottesville Farmers Market will run through until December.

A producer-only market of farmers, food vendors, crafts, and artisans since 1973 – The Charlottesville City Market is held every Saturday from 7 am till noon Downtown. 

While the construction Downtown has changed its location several times, it has generally been in the Water Street area, with offshoots at Meade Park, Forest Lakes, Pen Park and in Crozet.

The City Market offers fresh produce, herbs, plants, grass-fed meats, crafts, and baked goods from over 100 local vendors. 

Fridays After Five

What would Fridays in summer be without Fridays After Five at the Sprint Pavilion as the perfect place to unwind after the work week, meet up with friends and family, and enjoy free music outdoors?

Running through September 14, this free concert series is now in its 31st year. With music from 5:30 until 8:30 pm, this has long been a draw for families, visitors or people relaxing after work.

Each week volunteers work the concessions on behalf of a variety of local non-profits who share in the proceeds, which raises tens of thousands of dollars to support their work in our community.

The Sprint Pavilion is always a great place to spend a summer evening with any number of concerts coming up – this season will feature: on May 15 – Vance Joy; on June 16 – Blackberry  Smoke and JJ Grey & Mofro; on June 21 – Alison Krauss; on July 5 – Trey Anastasio; and on July 11 – Indigo Girls, just to name a few.

Sunsets at Carter’s Mountain

If it’s a Thursday then you know where most people are heading – up to Carter’s Mountain to partake of the best sunset views around and listen to great music – and free admission makes it that much sweeter.

The Thursday Evening Sunset Series starts in mid-May and runs through the end of September, and goes until 9 pm. Join friends for dinner, live music, wine and hard cider, hayrides, and, of course, the sunset views with a possible glimpse of hot air balloons.  

Bring lawn chairs and blankets, or come early for a picnic table. The Mountain Grill is open Thursday evenings with delicious dinner selections. The menu varies from week to week, and offers choices such as Pulled Pork BBQ, salads and/or wraps, fruit and cheese plates, housemade sides, hot dogs, fries, Apple Cider Donuts and apple pie. 

Summer fun on the James or Rivanna Rivers

Most everyone who grew up around this area has been tubing on the James or kayaking on the Rivanna at some point during the summer – both are the perfect ways to relax and spend time with friends and family.

The 3-mile James River Runners tube trips wind through beautiful rural countryside, and have a nice set of novice rapids. The trip lasts 2-4 hours, depending on river conditions and your activity on the tube.

Cost is $25 per person ($22 group rates for 25 or more people). $8 per cooler tube. All tube trips depart on the half hour between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (hourly on weekdays). If river levels are below 3.2 feet, the last trip will go out at 1:30 p.m. 

GPS can often place you on the other side of the river. Consult the directions and maps below to find the fastest route. The address is 10092 Hatton Ferry Road, Scottsville, VA 24590. Call if you need help getting here: (434) 286-2338

Rivanna River Company – a new company – is located at the “River Hut” at 1538 E High St, Charlottesville, VA 22902. Phone: (434) 218-2052.

The 2017 early Summer Season began on Saturday, April 22, with the official start happening Saturday, May 27, and running through Monday, Sept. 4 – closed on Tuesdays. Check out their website to see several options for kayaking, tubing or canoeing trips.


With the mountains just minutes away, hiking is pretty much a standard activity as soon as the weather turns nice, although you do have to be prepared for ticks, bugs and lots of other hikers, so plan ahead as many popular hikes may require pre-registration in the Shenandoah National Park.

Locally, you can take shorter walks around the Ivy Creek Natural Area, Preddy Creek Trail Park, Walnut Creek Park, Schenk’s Greenway, Rivanna Trail, Pen Park Nature Trail, John Warner Parkway, Mcintire Park, Greenleaf Park, and the Saunders-Monticello Trail.

Charlottesville Parks and Recreation maintains a variety of trails in the City. There are nearly 6 miles of paved trails, and about 30 miles of nature trails available for residents and visitors to enjoy. 

Multi-use trails exist at Riverview Park (and upstream along the Rivanna river), Meade Park, and at Forest Hills Park. Nature trails exist in the woods of many City parks and alongside creeks.

The Moore’s Creek trail connecting Sunset Avenue and Old Lynchburg Road near Azalea Park is open. The City acquired the 30 acre “Fornes” parcel and a trail easement from the Eagles Landing Condominiums. There is a wide grass trail along the west bank of Moore’s Creek from the end of Sunset Avenue Extd. over to old Lynchburg Road across from Azalea Park.

For hotter days – theater indoors!

Drama Students at U.Va. have the opportunity to pursue their degrees in a state-of-the-art theatre complex, which includes the 520-seat Culbreth Theatre with proscenium stage, the flexible 160 to 200-seat Helms Theatre and, the new 300-seat Ruth Caplin Theatre.

To contact a representative, please email Season subscriptions to the Heritage Theatre Festival are on sale now, and can be purchased online or by mailing in the subscription order form.

Upcoming Shows

A Chorus Line – June 21-23, 26-30 at 7:30 pm; June 24, 30, and July 1 at 2 pm 

Culbreth Theatre.

Heritage Theatre Festival: Harvey – July 5-7, 10-14 at 8 pm; July 8, 14, and 15 at 2 pm – Ruth Caplin Theatre.

Call (434) 924-3376 for more info or tickets.

Local Vineyards – always a popular way to spend an afternoon

Ever wanted to see a polo match? Check out the Polo games at King Family Vineyards.

starting Sunday, May 27, for the first match. 

Guests are invited to join fieldside to watch polo. Matches are held every Sunday, from Memorial Day weekend through mid-October, weather and field conditions permitting. Matches are free, open to the public, and begin at 1 pm. 

Please check on Sunday mornings after 9 a.m. to confirm that we will be playing or call (434) 823-7800.

Interested in learning to play polo?  Contact Lou Lopez at

Grace Estates – Friday Evenings in the Vineyard

Every Friday, Grace Estates hosts local musicians and food vendors from 6 – 9 p.m.  Tastings are not offered during this time, but select Grace Estate wines are discounted by the glass and bottle. Come usher in the weekend.

Attendance is free and does not require reservations.  On Saturdays, from April through November, local acts also play in the evenings from 4 – 7 pm.

Upcoming shows are: 

6/1 -JAXN, Fardowner’s Mobile

6/8 – Karen Jonas, Fardowner’s Mobile

6/15 – Matt Johnson, Delicias Marina

6/22 – David Tewksbury Band, Cote Rotie

6/29 – JAXN, Cote Rotie

7/6 – C-Ville Jazz Congregation, Fardowner’s Mobile

7/13 – Karen Jonas, Spice Sea

7/20 – Grainneog, Spiked

7/27 – The Pollocks, Delicias Marina

Jefferson Vineyards – Sunsets Become Eclectic Concerta 

Jefferson Vineyards has long been the perfect spot to visit and enjoy the view while sipping wonderful wines and listening to music.

Upcoming shows are: Saturday, May 26 (6 – 8PM– Bryan Elijah Smith & The Wild HeartsTerri Allard Trio on Saturday, June 9 (6 – 8PM); Mighty Joshua

Saturday, June 23 (6 – 8PM); and Beleza on Saturday, August 25 (6 – 8PM)Admission is free. Parking is $5.

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Charles McDonald
Charles McDonald
Charlottesville Solutions
2013 Woodbrook Court, Charlottesville VA 22901
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