Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1

    Default Autumn trip to Monticello

    Hi folks, driving out to Charlottesville from DC. Can you please let me know which of the three suggested routes on Google is best? Would like a pretty drive and it looks like all three are about the same distance.

    Link to google maps.

    Thanks!


    Pics for clicks (from last year's trip):






  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    7,399

    Default

    If time is not critical, I'd look at a 4th option - take I-66 out to Front Royal and take the Skyline Drive down to I-64. Note that this could possibly take you 6 hours. The speed limit on Skyline Drive is 35 mph and there is a $15 admission fee.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,556

    Default Mountains vs Piedmont

    Hello HoyaDub,

    I've spent several of my 54 years doing field work roughly in the triangle formed by Charlottesville, Richmond, and Fairfax, VA, so am most familiar with the area of your three prospective traverses.

    Routes 1 and 3 keep you closer to the mountains- both the Blue Ridge, and the foothill range named the Southwest Mountains. Route 2 is a primarily Piedmont traverse.

    If your trip is this coming weekend, I suppose there could still be some color in the lower elevations of the Blue Ridge but possibly bare trees up top. Likely the "peak" of colors in the Piedmont elevations, however. I'd be wary of the Skyline Drive. A cloudy/misty forecast could mean fog up top, and if it's clear, it's likely to be jammed with leaf-peepers.

    While Route 3 has you essentially in view of the Blue Ridge all the way down, it is also a congested urban/suburban route with a plethora of stoplights all the way to the south end of Warrenton and then picking back up at Madison, VA for the remainder of the way to Charlottesville. One alternative would be to leave US 29 at Culpeper and go south on US 15 to and through Orange, thence to Gordonsville. At Gordonsville, take VA 231 to Shadwell, on Charlottesville's doorstep. One could also take VA 20 from Orange directly into Charlottesville, but VA 20 is very, very curvy. It DOES go by the Barboursville wineries!

    Route 2 is interesting in that it takes you by Lake Anna, and the leaves/views there should be quite nice now. That's a nice little section of country between I-95 and Lake Anna, too. I would consider running US 33 north to Gordonsville from Louisa and then take VA 231 to C'ville, however.

    Route 1 is very nice, especially the long interval along VA 20 between Wilderness and Orange. Lots of rolling pasture/fields/forests. There again, at Orange, either take US 15 south to Gordonsville, thence VA 231 to C'ville, or VA 20 directly to C'ville. There are a few spectacular old farms in the vicinity of Barboursville and Somerset.

    While I fairly dismissed the US 29 route on the whole, consider a bit of a bushwhack: I-66 to US 29 as shown, US 29 south to Madison, VA, thence VA 230 to Stanardsville, passing through the low gap at Wolftown where my first home still stands (and you must stop at the Wolftown General Store). At Stanardsville, turn north/west on US 33 towards the Blue Ridge, then quickly to the south on VA 810. The 810 route is a series of county roads skirting the base of the Blue Ridge in Greene and western Albemarle counties. It passes through Nortonsville (I think), Dyke, Doylesville, and Mountfair en route to Crozet, where a short hop on US 250 west takes you to I-64 some 15 miles west of the Monticello exit back to the east in Charlottesville. If you prefer, you can take US 250 east from Crozet directly into the western side of C'ville, where UVA's Grounds await your camera and the Fall colors. I'd guess it's around 1.5 to 1.75 hours from Madison through Stanardsville, Dyke, and Crozet back to I-64. Oh, and from where you reach I-64 at Crozet, 10 minutes west is the crest of the Blue Ridge at Rockfish Gap, with long views down into the Piedmont. You can cross over there at the gap and hit the viewing areas on the eastbound side on the way back. I think the views there are superior to those from Monticello.

    Have fun, and do post a field trip report, with pics!

    Foy

  4. #4

    Default

    Wow, very thoughtful reply, thanks!

    There is a bit of a time factor involved, so I gather that route 1 or 2 is probably the best bet then. Can't be stuck on back roads for the whole day...
    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    Route 2 is interesting in that it takes you by Lake Anna, and the leaves/views there should be quite nice now. That's a nice little section of country between I-95 and Lake Anna, too. I would consider running US 33 north to Gordonsville from Louisa and then take VA 231 to C'ville, however.

    Route 1 is very nice, especially the long interval along VA 20 between Wilderness and Orange. Lots of rolling pasture/fields/forests. There again, at Orange, either take US 15 south to Gordonsville, thence VA 231 to C'ville, or VA 20 directly to C'ville. There are a few spectacular old farms in the vicinity of Barboursville and Somerset.
    What would be your pick between these choices? Mostly the same drive until you choose between rte 3 or further down 208. Would enjoy seeing some more color and scenery, and it sounds like Lake Anna might be a nice sight?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,556

    Default Routes 2 and 3?

    First, I failed to notice your route 3 does NOT run the gauntlet of stoplights down US 29 from I-66 past Warrenton. Still, I have not been in the area you routed in +30 years so haven't a clue what it's like, development-wise, today.

    Your route 1 probably has the best chance of a combination of fairly good scenery and good travel speed. While I like Lake Anna, I don't recall exactly a multitude of view points for the water. The segment between I-95 and Lake Anna is a bit slower going, if I recall correctly, than the 4-lane VA 3 out of Fredericksburg. Plus, once you get to VA 20 at Wilderness, it's pretty straight 2-lane with many passing zones. US 15 is then 4 lane and open from Orange to Gordonsville.

    So, I'd have to say Route 1, but I'd still cut the corner from Gordonsville to Shadwell on VA 231 in one direction, while saving the US 15 segment between Zion Crossroad (I-64) and Gordonsville for the other direction. There are some very nice, open, pastoral views along US 15 between I-64 and Boswells Tavern, in the Historic Green Springs area.

    Foy

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Foy View Post
    So, I'd have to say Route 1, but I'd still cut the corner from Gordonsville to Shadwell on VA 231 in one direction, while saving the US 15 segment between Zion Crossroad (I-64) and Gordonsville for the other direction. There are some very nice, open, pastoral views along US 15 between I-64 and Boswells Tavern, in the Historic Green Springs area.
    Sounds good. So probably do this, then?

    thanks for the detailed replies... really appreciating it!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,556

    Default Correct you are, but........

    Quote Originally Posted by HoyaDub View Post
    Sounds good. So probably do this, then?

    thanks for the detailed replies... really appreciating it!
    .......be aware on the Charlottesville end there is an interchange at US 250 and I-64 at Shadwell, so the portion of your route which follows US 250 west for a couple of miles into C'ville from Shadwall, thence out VA 20 to Monticello, is unnecessary (as well as out of the way and not the least bit scenic). In essence, you'll jump off of I-64 at the Monticello exit and back on it there, as well, provided Monticello is the only stop you intend to make in the Charlottesville area. And if you do the VA 231 on the way out, you will have first entered I-64 at Shadwell, which I recall is the next exit east from Monticello. Doing the US 15 leg on the return trip, you'll drive east from the Monticello exit, past Shadwell, for some 18 miles or so to the very well-marked US 15 interchange at Zion Crossroads.

    One of these days I'm going to recon and drive the "Three Chop'd Road" from west of Richmond through Charlottesville and over the Blue Ridge at Jarman Gap. It was the principal road to the Shenandoah Valley in the early 18th century and many segments still exist as county roads today, some even named "Three Chop'd Road". Now THAT would be a photo essay/Road Trip!

    Foy

Similar Threads

  1. My First Cross-Country Road Trip
    By Serra in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 08-17-2008, 05:18 PM
  2. Oh no, yet another Western US trip!
    By wibble in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 08-11-2008, 08:57 AM
  3. road trip Seattle-Mt Rainier-Glacier Nal Park-Yellowstone
    By Hannah in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-17-2008, 12:27 PM
  4. Colorado trip report
    By Dee August in forum RoadTrip Field Reports
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 09-22-2005, 04:05 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • EmailTwitterFacebookMore!

    RoadTrip Reservations
    Fuel Cost Calculator