University of Virginia
Smack in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is a town where the beer flows like wine, which also flows like wine, because there are a staggering number of wineries in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Charlottesville balances out all that local booze with an award-winning restaurant scene befitting a city twice its size. Or thrice!
Drink here: Nestled in the hills above town, Blue Mountain Brewery is one of the most flat-out gorgeous taprooms you'll ever set foot in (the beer is damn fine, too). Star Hill, South Street, Devil's Backbone, Three Notch'd, and Champion all have roots in C-ville, and you should drink their liquid wares on the patio at Beer Run, the town's best bottle shop. The cocktail scene is strong on the Downtown Mall, the broad, leafy, car-free pedestrian avenue sprawling a dozen blocks East of the corner. Tipple at C&O, Blue Light, Commonwealth, Public, Bang!, Hamilton's... pretty much any place within sight of the red-brick promenade is going to mix you something tasty. Then, there's wine. Oh lord, is there wine. Charlottesville is surrounded on all sides by picture-perfect wineries. Yes, you should drink at them. Barboursville, Keswick, Jefferson, Pippin Hill... the list is long, and distinguished. Book a Wahooptie and tour them all in the same day, like the college kid you wish you still were.
Eat here: C&O if you're fancy, Belmont BBQ if you want a Slop Bucket of vinegary pulled pork, carbs of all flavors, and happiness. Riverside Lunch is a burger counter from another era; eat there. The Corner gets crowded, but brave the shit show for pizza & beer at Mellow, or a people-watching Sunday brunch bonanza in The Virginian's front booth (so, so choice). Bellair is the sandwich shop you will occasionally dream about after departure from this culinary paradise.