Well, here’s what they are in alphabetical order and in ‘my’ opinion…
But, before I begin be aware: There are areas of Albemarle County that don’t associate themselves with any town. This is where the Farmington Country Club and Boar’s Head Inn sit. They are located just outside the city limit yet in no town. Both have fabulous residential communities surrounding them especially for Charlottesville seniors. There’s University Village, Ednam, If I was rich I’d live in Farmington – really top-notch.
Afton sits near the top of Afton Mountain and was founded as a railroad depot then later as a summer retreat for Washingtonians & Richmondians to hike the Blue Ridge Mountains. Nearby are two great vineyards – Afton Mountain & Cardinal Point and that’s about it. The infamous Blue Ridge Tunnel is here and when it was dug out of green granite in 1850 by Claudius Crozet it was the largest engineering feat in the world. Crozet said it would take one year to go 2 miles into the Shenandoah Valley. It took five years and numerous deaths.
Advance Mills sits along the Rivanna River and has no stores however Rt 29 and everything is close by.. Rolling countryside with scenic farms and easy on/off access to Rt 29 which cuts through Virginia going north & south.
Batesville was once a major apple barrel manufacturing town in the 19th century. Today it’s a sleepy, quiet 30 house town. The historic Plank Road (originally covered with wooden planks so wagons would not get stuck in the mud) runs through it and goes from the James River into the Shenandoah Valley. A very historic road with a lot of sad memories. The private Miller School is here as is the historic Batesville Market which offered a fun dining room experience with music on Saturday nights (pre-Covid 19).
Crozet named for famed, mid-19th century, French engineer, Claudius Crozet is a designated cluster zone in western Albemarle County. What this means – Large subdivisions such as Old Trail, Cory Farm, and ten attractive others. By the way, Old Trail is fabulous. On Sundays there’s polo at King Family Vineyard which is within walking distance to Old Trail. Numerous stores including two hardware and two food markets (Harris Teeter). A super place for kids to grow up. Excellent Western Albemarle public schools 3 mins away. Highly recommended for people who like to live in the country and near amenities. Topography is rolling but mostly flat.
Esmont offers a gas station and a horse vet. Mostly large farms and estates and loads of horses. On tough, winding roads (Rt 20) & Plank Rd which can be hazardous at night.
Free Union is a tiny hamlet with a private elementary school, the Free Union Country School, and a very-local convenient/gas station, Maupin bros (set to close any day now) with loads of “country color” especially during deer hunting season. It offers spectacular Blue Ridge Mountain views and is close to Charlottesville. If you want views and bucolic, rolling countryside then consider living here. Free Union homes, as expected, are expensive. One excellent vineyard to keep your blood flowing…Glass House Winery. Home to the elegant Farmington Hunt.
Earlysville adjoins Free Union from the east and is very similar in real estate and topography. There’s a wonderful art deco public elementary school, Broadus Wood. Earlysville offers an historic general store (now a convenience/gas station) ; an older super market and a few take-outs. Expensive farms and estates. Easy access to Charlottesville Airport which sits in Earlysville and close to Rt 29, Target and all shopping.
Greenwood originated as a railroad stop for Blue Ridge Mountain hikers, poets, young lovers, and city-dwelling apple, peach, and pear-pickers during the Gilded Age. Wonderful 18th and 19th century historic homes including Ramsay (home to Irene Gibson of Gibson Girl fame) ) and Mirador), home to Lady Astor and Irene’s sister. Fabulous vineyards, antique, garden stands and gourmet shops. Easy on/off access to I-64 (which goes east and west).
Ivy also known as Ivy Depot was a railroad stop during the late 19th century. Known for its farms and attractive houses, Ivy offers a gas station, Ivy Garden Center and 5 other small stores and services. Duner’s is here but closed until Oct. Toddsberry’s a gourmet wine and food store is closed for good. Blue Ridge Swim Club a wonderful, outdoor, stream-fed pool originally built in 1913 and Greencoft Club, an attractive tennis, swimming & fine dining, private club.
Keswick, ahh…one would think there would be something here but there’s very little! A post office which doubles as a meeting place for residents to swap gossip and news, and the Cismont Market & Deli – a welcoming, clean, gas convenient store to get a tasty sandwich and drink before continuing your sight-seeing.
North Garden is located south of Charlottesville at the crossroads of Plank Rd (coming up from Scottsville along the James River)and Rt 29 (north/south through Virginia). Home to Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard known for its spectacular sunset views and wedding venue; Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie, a fun restaurant for locals and tourists offering creatively prepared, honest food sourced from local farms. Keswick is mostly large farms and estates and has one of the most scenic roads in America. Peter Jefferson (Thomas’s father & Nicholas Lewis, Meriwether Lewis’s father) both built their family plantations here. The soil is rich and the terrain is similar to Yorkshire, GB. Hoes are very expensive. Home to the second organized fox hunt in Albemarle County: the Keswick Hunt and the nationally acclaimed Keswick Horse Show. The Keswick Horse Show, the second oldest horse show in the United States, started and continues to be a community horse show that represents the best of Virginia horseman and our community. Started in 1904, the horse show has been chaired by members of the Keswick community and Keswick Hunt Club.
The area’s only Mobil Five Star Resort is Keswick Hall in Keswick. Currently undergoing major restorations and due to reopen fall /winter 2020. Originally home to home furnishings mega star, Laura Ashley.
There are two private, gated golf communities in Keswick and both are super. Keswick Estate is located on the grounds of Keswick Hall, and Glenmore Country Club which is an equestrian, golf/ tennis community. Both are wonderful and expensive. For more of a peaceful existence see Keswick Estate. Glenmore is huge and great for kids and seniors. My pick? Glenmore…lots of good fun for everyone.
Schuyler the boyhood home of Earl Hamner, Jr., creator of the popular 1970’s television series The Waltons and the Walton Museum as the main attraction. Located in Southern Albemarle about 50 mins from Charlottesville & resting between Rt 29 and Rt 6 and the James River. There is one gas/convenient store. The hamlet is very cute and small with a wonderful historic chapel. Known for its superb soapstone.
Scottsville, the original county government seat of Albemarle County sits at the bottom of Southeastern Albemarle County along the mighty James River. Moved by Thomas Jefferson to Charlottesville when he began building the University of Virginia, this dealt Scottsville it’s first of many death blows. Centuries of flooding; and now Covid 19 dealt it again. You can always tell how the economy is going by walking the 3-4 historic streets of Scottsville. If stores and restaurants are open then the US economy is booming. If stores are vacant and restaurants shuttered then don’t buy here. Home values can fluctuate big time here. Great river silt/soil for farming. On a good day there are 12 shops open. And yes, you can get a great sandwich here. However, most of the fine dining restaurants are gone due to Covid 19. While I love floating down the James on a hot, sunny day, I’d be nervous about buying a home here as prices fluctuate and you can lose all your home equity in a down market. The route north and south (Rt 20) is a treacherous, two lane road with numerous memorials to those who lost it along the way.
Across the James is the quiet, rural, pine-tree-clustered county of Buckingham. Buckingham County is probably the most affordable place to purchase a home within an hours drive of Charlottesville and home to Yogaville.
White Hall is located in the Northwest corner of Albemarle County and located at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The topography is rolling and verdant. There are a few good vineyards here: Grace Estate Winery & Whitehall Vineyard. Favorites among locals are hiking in the Sugar Hollow Dam and Reservoir is a City of Charlottesville Water Supply Reservoir on the Moormans River in Albemarle County. Its 47 acres are stocked with rainbow and brook trout. River crossings, swimming holes and plenty of climbing make this a great summer-time hike. You’re always 40 mins from Charlottesville living in White Hall. That can be good or it can be irritating especially if you are shuttling children around all weekend.
So, when you are ready, lets talk and I’ll give you some helpful tips where to begin your hunt…