Top 5 Sandwiches in Charlottesville

Ah, the sandwich. One of Britain’s greatest gifts to gastronomy in general and the working class in particular. Though praised by those who have to walk around while they eat, this versatile, utilitarian food item is credited to John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. Like its Mexican cousin, the taco, or its Mediterranean counterpart, the gyro, the sandwich has endured throughout centuries. Charlottesville–whose central Virginia land is fertile ground for both the farm-to-table movement and an overall appreciation for all things craft food–has more than its fair share of dynamite sandwich shops. But, alas, this is a top 5 list, and it’s our job to bring those 5 to you. Without further ado:

1. Ivy Provisions

Ivy Provisions (or IvyP, as it is affectionately known) is like something out of a dream. It’s a smorgasbord of creative sandwiches ranging from light and fresh to coma-inducing, and everything in between. While $8-10 is a little steep for a sandwich, you definitely get what you pay for at this place, with its emphasis on local ingredients from Charlottesville. At the helm here is Tommy Lasley, former head chef of Orzo and part-owner of Fry’s Spring Station Pizza. The concept is quick, inventive sandwiches and salads with high-quality ingredients. A long-lasting partnership with The Rock Barn means that local pork raised and butchered on Nelson County farmland is a given. Whether you’re thinking about sandwiches like the Notorious P.I.G. (salami, prosciutto, Rock Barn capicola, provolone, peppers, onion, lettuce, oil & vinegar), or the specialty off-menu Cvilly Cheese (roast beef au jus, grilled onions, hot peppers, and sweet peppers with a smoky, creamy cheese sauce), every option is available on a bed of greens instead of a sandwich (although we’re not sure how a steak and cheese sandwich would work out). Their breakfast and espresso options are nothing to scoff at either. The Sloppy Jose is a brilliant chorizo, egg, and pimento sandwich on an English muffin.

Favorite sandwich (pictured above): IvyP Banh mi-roasted pork, pâté, ham, cabbage, cilantro, pickled vegetables, mayo & chile oil served warm on baguette

2. Revolutionary Soup

Soup, salads, and sandwiches…the trifecta. This Cville staple has locations on the pedestrian downtown mall and The Corner (by the University of Virginia). The staff is friendly, polite, and incredibly good at their work, churning out thoughtful craft sandwiches with efficiency during one of the most infamous lunch rushes in the downtown Charlottesville area. Their fare extends beyond the strict territory of the “sandwich,” with items like quesadillas and shrimp and grits providing some alternatives. The titular soup is a must for any rainy day; this author had the flu one week and pretty much lived off of the lamb curry, with its spicy lentils, spinach, and cilantro. Whenever possible, Rev Soup (as it’s known in the neighborhood) strives to use local ingredients. A big part of their philosophy is sourcing ingredients from farms in central Virginia and the surrounding areas, whether it be bread from Albemarle Baking Co. or BreadWorks, or tofu from Twin Oaks Farm in Louisa, etc. At the end of the day, you can drop by for a $3 grilled cheese on bread baked 10 minutes away and delivered that morning. Sounds like a win to us.
Favorite sandwich (pictured): The 90’s Club-local chicken breast, bacon, cheddar, avocado, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and a house sauce on a kaiser roll


3. Littlejohn’s

Remember that part about sandwiches being utilitarian? Littlejohn’s is maybe the only 24-hour restaurant in Charlottesville proper (with the possible exception of Waffle House). They don’t boast any fancy local ingredients, but the fact of the matter is, when you are hungry and alone after a night out, Littlejohn’s is there for you, with a hot, fresh, greasy sandwich and a big glass of water. (When you watched the movie Psycho with its creepy shower scene and jarring use of violins, you woke up at 5am with nightmares and Littlejohn’s had a bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast bagel ready for you, and a big glass of orange juice to wash away the night terrors. When you were in the library cramming for your 9 am final and your body started crying out for food…well you get the idea.) Dependability is a decidedly utilitarian feature in any sandwich shop, and so we must pay homage to LJs, our rock. It’s not just greasy goodness either. They have an entire chalkboard devoted to “lighter fare” which includes some flatbread delicacies and salads that are not terrible. But after a long night, you might just want to double down and opt for something with bacon, butter, and cheese. You deserve it. We know you do.

Favorite sandwich: Chipotle chicken-shredded and seasoned chicken, spicy chipotle mayo, bacon, sautéed onions, lettuce, tomato and melted provolone (hot peppers optional).


4. Bellair Market

We almost feel guilty including Bellair Market on this list. A little lunch counter, tucked away inside an innocuous Exxon Tiger Fuel gas station, Bellair Market is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Once you get the lay of the land in Charlottesville, it’s hard to overestimate the value of a well-kept secret…especially when it comes to food. Technically the “Market” has a few locations, but it’s important to note that the sandwiches at the Ivy Road location are the sole reason for the Bellair’s inclusion on this list. In true Cville fashion, Bellair’s specialty sandwiches are named after regions in the greater Charlottesville area. Often, these are rural areas in central Virginia; for example the Keswick (country ham, swiss, honey mustard, lettuce, tomato, herb mayonnaise on French bread), the Earlysville (sweet ham, turkey, smoked gouda, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and herb mayonnaise on sourdough) or the Montpelier (rare roast beef, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and horseradish mayo on French bread), named after James Madison’s famous estate in Orange County. Gas station gourmet is a staple of the South, and Charlottesville in particular, so we had to include this gem.

Favorite sandwich: the Jefferson-maple turkey, cranberry relish, cheddar lettuce, herb mayonnaise, french bread

5. Market Street Market

Mkt St Mkt

Like Revolutionary Soup, Market Street Market is located just off Charlottesville’s downtown mall. It’s right on Market Street, making it a popular pop-in for busy retail and office professionals, lawyers, city officials, and all hungry people. The bulk of the space is devoted to a small, upscale grocery store with a wealth of locally sourced products including produce from surrounding central Virginia farms, fresh baked goods from Albemarle Baking Co. and Mission Home (try the peanut blossom cookies!), and a great craft beer selection. But the deli is the heart of the store, the ever-churning furnace that breathes life into the establishment and its patrons. At this juncture it’s worth noting that Market Street Market has some of the classiest background music of all time, and it’s the perfect volume (audible but not distracting). You can build your own sandwich starting at $3.99. But there are some truly inspired specialty sandwiches and salads. The gals and guys at Market Street Market run a tight ship and service is pretty fast, but don’t be surprised if you stop in at 11:15 and end up waiting 15 minutes. The key is to pop by just before or after the lunch rush hour…but there’s no hurry, because this deli is serving fresh, made-to-order sandwiches until 8pm!

Favorite sandwich: Custom-cracked peppermill turkey, smoked gouda, spinach, tomato, red onion and mayonnaise

Health Food Stores in Charlottesville

With its reputation as a haven for the farm-to-table mentality, Charlottesville, Virginia has given rise to a great number of restaurants and small farmers serving the community. The approach carries over to the retail side of things, where there are many small and large grocery stores providing fresh, local, organic alternatives to the homes in Charlottesville. We’ve highlighted a few here in this post about health food stores in Charlottesville.

Integral Yoga
IntegralYogaCommonly abbreviated “IY,” this health food haven has been locally owned since 1975. You won’t find many (if any) animal products here, but the store carries more than its fair share of meat alternatives (think black bean burgers and Twin Oaks Tofu) but the place really shines when it comes to its produce, fresh and local. IY’s sourcing philosophy is both old-school and new age: they will buy produce from anyone in the area, whether it be a Charlottesville-area farm like Sharondale Farm in Keswick or a guy with a bunch of berries in his backyard. They are partnered with over 30 area farms and boast over 30 local Charlottesville chains, but you don’t have to be over 30 to go in. There is an extremely slim chance that you’ll be able to walk into IY and buy something that isn’t a local product, whether a cup of coffee or a bag of granola. Now that’s commitment to neighborhood partnership! Integral Yoga’s crown jewel may be its juice/smoothie bar, at which you can buy a 16 oz juice with your choice of local frozen fruit. A 16 oz serving of juice packs a walloping five pounds of fruit! And they will cater to any and all dietary restrictions or preferences.

Foods of All Nations
FoodsofAllNationsFoods of All Nations is nothing short of a Cville staple at this point. Its warm, friendly, and inviting staff have been bridging the gap between central Virginia farms and the people they serve for over 50 years, during which they’ve developed both an extensive supply of local, domestic, and international foods. A lot of the produce is locally-sourced, and most of their meats and seafoods are direct from farms in the central Virginia area. What’s more, the folks at Foods of All Nations put as much work into cooking the ingredients as the Charlottesville farmers do growing them. The hot bar and deli have some of the best low-key food in the city, so before you buy a couple pounds of oysters, try, for example the oyster po’boy with okra and homemade remoulade. While you’re at it, get me some gazpacho. It goes without saying, but Foods of All Nations is partnered with a bunch of local businesses…Caromont Farm, Keswick Gourmet Foods, Polyface Farms, and Wade’s Mill just to name a few.

Rebecca’s Natural Food
RebeccasNorman Dill has been working in health food stores since 1976. He opened up Rebecca’s in 1987, naming it after his daughter and basing its core aesthetic on food principles set down at his mother’s table (no junk food!) The result is a health food store dedicated to selling only the most salubrious offerings, whether we’re talking produce, kombucha, or supplements. Rebecca’s is committed to selling only safe products with few or no side effects, and their wares are always local when possible and rarely (if ever) processed. There is an appreciation for ancestral eating: the practice of modifying our dietary inclinations to match those of ancient peoples (think the “paleo diet.”) And like Integral Yoga, they offer a plethora of local brands: Barefoot Bucha, Free Union Grass Farm (a local Charlottesville-area farm, meat and eggs), Mad Hatter Hot Sauce, etc. Check them out at the Barracks Road Shopping Center.

Sunrise Herb Shoppe
While the Sunrise Herb Shoppe doesn’t carry groceries, its offerings vitamins, minerals, herbs, enzymes, probiotics…more supplements than you can shake a stick at. The shop and its website boast a huge collection of articles with different perspectives on what it means to live a healthy lifestyle. They also offer regular classes and (with an appointment) consultation courtesy of Terri L. Saunders, a Certified Health Professional with 26 years of experience. The employees are great sources of information, all well-versed with regard to holistic health practices. They’ve made it a priority to provide information and resources, both on and in person at their store on 910 Marshall Street, Charlottesville VA.

All these stores are uniquely situated to contribute to a healthy, happy living, with regards to both local, organic food and conscientious lifestyle choices. In many cases, their good intentions are corroborated by plain, honest, and transparent relationships with local farms in central Virginia. Fresh food from the farm next door!

Wegmans Grocery Store Comes to Charlottesville November 2016

We’ve known for awhile that the popular, monolithic mid-Atlantic supermarket Wegmans had found a new home on Fifth Street in Charlottesville, but representatives from the grocery store have confirmed an opening date of Sunday November 6, 2016, just a few months away. The supermarket aims to make sourcing food products from local central Virginia farms a priority, and will likely give the Whole Foods on Hydraulic Road a run for its money.

The construction of Wegmans carries with it implications that reach far beyond its effect on Charlottesville grocery stores. The building (120,000 ft² in all) will include such Wegmans hallmarks as a full beer and wine library, a huge prepared foods section, a full-service family restaurant (known as The Pub at Wegmans), a seafood section with fresh fare delivered daily, and more than 60,000 different products overall. The Wegmans staff estimate that the store will be bringing in over 3,000 organic products, many of them sourced from farms on land around Charlottesville, according to the Daily Progress.

Such a huge structure requires deliberate planning, and the city of Charlottesville has been working hard to accommodate a family-first company that will certainly bring revenue, jobs, and opportunities to people in the city and the areas outside the city. Wegmans will be situated on the intersection of I-64 and Fifth Street at the brand new Fifth Street Station, a shopping center which was essentially constructed to host Wegmans and a few other stores. The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors approved the development of the property as far back as 2008. River Bend Management is handling the development; local music/real estate mogul Coran Capshaw is involved in the development. Wegmans will be the largest business in the Fifth Street Station, but it will share the property with a Dick’s Sporting Goods, Mattress Warehouse, PetSmart, Virginia ABC, Panera Bread, and a few other businesses.

Also of note is the construction of the new Bent Creek Parkway which will link Fifth Street and Avon Street. During negotiations with the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, the developer proffered that Bent Creek Parkway be completed before certificate of occupancy can be granted. The city of Charlottesville is also providing additional transportation options. Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT) is currently in the logistical stages of planning a new bus route that will service the Fifth Street Station. The new route will also provide service down Avon Street to Monticello High School and the Mill Creek neighborhood.

So what does all this mean for you as a current or future Charlottesville resident? For one, it means that there will be a surge of jobs in the Charlottesville area. Indeed, Wegmans alone has announced that there will be 550 employees at the Fifth Street branch, 500 of whom will be selected from a pool consisting solely of Charlottesville applicants. Wegmans has appeared on Forbes’ annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list every year since its inception in 1998, making the top ten eight years in a row. It has a reputation for being a family-friendly company with a genuine interest in improving and advancing the lives of its employees, and its commitment to finding and selling local produce and meats will be right at home with the local farm-to-table mentality.

Health Rankings for Albemarle County

Here at Gayle Harvey Real Estate, we care about your health. Simply by virtue of being on this site, you probably know that we sell property in central Virginia. This is the first installment in a county-by-county health ranking series. Today we look at health statistics for Albemarle County.

Albemarle County is ranked 4th overall for healthiest counties in Virginia:

  • Years of potential life lost before age 75/100,000 people: 3,900 (compared to a state average of 6,100, and 5,200 among the “Top U.S. Performers*” nationwide.

Albemarle County is ranked 11th overall for quality of life:

  • 12% of people report having poor/fair health, consistent with the average percentage of Top U.S. Performers (12%) and slightly lower than the state Average of 17%.
  • 3 days was the average number of physically unhealthy days and the average number of mentally unhealthy days per month, as reported. This is slightly lower than the state averages (3.5 and 3.3, respectively) and only slightly higher than the national average for Top U.S. Performers (2.9 and 2.8, respectively)
  • 7% of live births were low birthweight (<2,500 grams, <5.51 lbs) compared with 6% for the Top U.S. Performers and 8% for the state average

Albemarle County is ranked 10th overall for health factors:

  • 15% of adults identify as regular smokers, compared to 14% for the Top U.S. Performers and 20% for the rest of the state
  • 23% of adults are considered obese (body mass index of 30 or more), compared to 25% for the Top U.S. Performers and 27% for the rest of the state
  • The food environment index is a confluence of factors that influence good eating habits, on a 0 (worst) to 10 (best) scale. Albemarle has a food environment index of 8.6, slightly higher than Virginia’s average and the average of Top U.S. Performers, both 8.3.
  • 20% of adults over 20-years old report not engaging in physical activity, a percentage consistent with the national percentage of Top U.S. Performers (20%) and slightly lower than the state percentage (22%).
  • 74% of the population has access to adequate exercise opportunities, compared to 91% among Top U.S Performers and 81% for the state of Virginia.
  • 18% of adults report heavy drinking or binge drinking, compared to 12% for the Top U.S. Performers and 17% for the rest of the state.
  • 39% of driving deaths in Albemarle involved alcohol, compared to 14% for the Top U.S. Performers and 31% for the state overall.
  • Albemarle County reported 212.5 sexually-transmitted infections per 100,000 people, compared to 134.1 in 100,000 for Top U.S. Performers and 407 in 100,000 for the state of Virginia.
  • Albemarle County reported 11 teen births per 1,000 teenage females (ages 15-19), compared to 19 for the Top U.S. Performers and 27 for the state overall.

Albemarle County is ranked 4th overall for clinical care in the state:

  • 13% of the population under 65 is without health insurance, compared to 11% for the Top U.S. Performers and 14% for the state of Virginia. It should be noted that this percentage has been steadily decreasing across recent years in Albemarle County.
  • The ratio of population to primary care physicians in Albemarle County is 610:1, compared to 1,040:1 for the Top U.S. Performers and 1,330:1 for the state of Virginia
  • The ratio of population to dentists in Albemarle county is 1,070:1, compared to 1,340:1 for the Top U.S. Performers and 1,570:1 for the state of Virginia
  • The ratio of population to mental health providers is 980:1 in Albemarle County, compared to 370:1 in the Top U.S. Performing Counties and 680:1 for the state of Virginia overall.
  • There were 37 preventable hospital stays in Albemarle County, compared to an average of 38 for the Top U.S. Performers and 49 for the state overall.
  • 88% of Medicare enrollees ages 65-75 received diabetic monitoring, compared to 90% for the Top U.S. Performers and 87% for the state of Virginia.
  • 72% of female Medicare enrollees ages 67-69 received mammography screening, compared to 71% for the Top U.S. Performers and 63% for the state overall.

Top 5 Pizzerias in Charlottesville

Or, more accurately, top five pizzerias in the Charlottesville area. Despite the modern pizza’s roots in Naples, Italy, the delicious combination of flatbread, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and various toppings has long occupied a place in American hearts, notable for its status as “the only thing my kid will eat.” We can’t live without pizza; it’s good for sporting events, birthday parties, and getting people to come to interest meetings. Enough already…you know what pizza is. But do you know where it is? Now you do. Take a look at our picks for five of the best pizza joints to land in the Charlottesville area! Many of these spots get bonus points for sourcing their ingredients from central Virginia farms. Note: We’ve only included local spots, but you probably already know that Cville has a laundry list of all your favorite pizza chains. Anyway, let’s get started!

1. Dr Ho’s Humble Pie

Our #1 pick for sure. The self-described “Alternative Pizza” has been a personal favorite for as long as this author can remember. It was love at first bite. The spot is located just south of Charlottesville, in North Garden , a small “town” in Albemarle County. It’s been around since the late 90s (which makes it older than you’d think, at first), adopting an artisanal, handcrafted approach to good pizza. This means housemade dough, local beer, and a whole bevy of fresh ingredients locally-sourced from a plethora of farms in the Charlottesville area…places like Belair Farm, Double H Farm, Caromont Farm…the list goes on. It’s also worth stopping in to Dr. Ho’s to eat your pie there; they cultivate an open, inviting atmosphere. Don’t be surprised to see a bluegrass quartet pickin’ away while you sip a beer and wait for your pizza. A comfortable, delicious affair.

Favorite pie: A two way tie between the Popeye (spinach, caramelized onions, artichoke hearts, roasted garlic, mozzarella, cheddar) and the Lil Mermaid (shrimp, house-made basil pesto, roasted tomatoes, cheddar, feta, and mozzarella)

2. Lampo

If you are Lampo, and you’ve somehow been imbued with consciousness, and are reading this, please know it wasn’t an easy decision and that you are a close second. Lampo is Italian for “lightning,” probably one of the more appropriate descriptions of a place that churns out a pie in 90 seconds. But “churns” make it sound like fast food, which it certainly is not. The folks at this authentic Neapolitan pizzeria are steeped in culinary tradition, taking their cues from the great pizza makers of Italy. That means San Marzano tomatoes and fresh buffalo mozzarella…if you doubt their commitment, check out the 3-ton brick oven. They keep wood burning throughout the day, making sure the oven gets up to 1000 degrees…whoa. A lot of their producers are Charlottesville farms: Free Union Farm, JM Stock and Provisions, and Wolf Creek Farm just to name a few.

Favorite pie: Technically it’s a panuozzi (a sort of pizza/sandwich hybrid) but the muffuletta (prosciutto, salami, mortadella, giardiniera, provolone). Also can’t go wrong with a good margherita pizza.

3. Crozet Pizza

This spot has a lot of history in the area around Charlottesville and Crozet. In a way, it epitomizes the small-town charm of a place like Crozet. We’ll explain: In 1977, Bob and Karen Crum bought an unoccupied building in Crozet. The original Crozet Pizza was pretty small…it had only five tables, all of which were handcrafted by Bob himself. The couple teamed up to build a successful pizza place from the ground up. Karen perfected Crozet Pizza’s inimitable dough recipe while Bob concocted the sauce from scratch. Pretty soon that tiny, five-table restaurant started getting calls for orders days in advance. The same recipes are in use today, under the ownership of Colleen, their daughter, although the wait time is considerably shorter. There’s also a location on some prime real estate in Charlottesville proper, steps away from UVa’s campus. We can’t tell you exactly what makes Karen Crum’s secret dough recipe so delicious, but we’re willing to go broke trying to figure it out.

Favorite pie: The “Meet Me in Crozet” (Pepperoni, sausage, and meatballs)

4. Christian’s Pizza

Charlottesville pizza purists might agree with the order of this list, but even they would agree that Christian’s is the most ubiquitous name in Cville pizza. That comes from over one-and-a-half decades of hard work by the titular Christian Tamm himself. The franchise started with a location in downtown Charlottesville, at the heart of the pedestrian mall. It soon opened up locations in Pantops, on the UVa Corner, and in Richmond, VA between West Franklin and West Grace Street. The secret? Fast, fresh, delicious pizza at affordable prices. We’ll let you in on a little secret…each Christian’s is different. The Corner location is great for a quick slice of cheese after a night out. The downtown location is perfect for lounging and people-watching, especially from its elegant patio. If you’re grabbing a few pies for a group/party/event, hit up Pantops. Either way, you’re in for a treat!

Favorite pie: Spinach and feta (spinach, feta, sauteed mushrooms, diced tomatoes, garlic)

5. College Inn

Bringing up the rear is the almighty College Inn (not to be pronounced like or confused with collagen), a place that has transcended typical “restaurant” status and become an institution. It’s been around since 1953! This place is older than the president! Some of the delivery drivers have stories about delivering hundreds of pizzas to UVa libraries and fraternities during Finals Week…and this was before cellphones mind you. This place keeps its lofty place in our hearts because it delivers, rain, snow or shine until 2am every single day. College Inn, you’re playing a dangerous game, but we love it. In fact, this is the only delivery joint on our list. It’s the only one you need, whether you’re lounging at home or planning a tailgate. They’re here for you, long after Domino’s and Papa John’s have closed their doors.

Favorite pie: Chicken alfredo (grilled chicken, sliced mushrooms, ham with mozzarella & parmesan cheeses, alfredo sauce base)

Dave Matthews Band Turns 25, Returns to Charlottesville

Other than Thomas Jefferson, it’s tough to think of a name more synonymous with the spirit of Charlottesville than Dave Matthews. Once a bartender at the city’s most prestigious dive bar, Dave (we’re clearly on a first name basis here) and his band of Cville locals rose to unexpected heights of fame, selling out arenas worldwide and earning two Grammy Awards for his anthemic vocal performances. Many of the guys in Dave’s band got their starts here…keyboardist Butch Taylor plays John D’earth’s weekly gig at Millers, the same bar where Dave worked and where saxophonist LeRoi Moore played before DMB had even started. On May 11, 1991, the Dave Matthews Band (DMB) played its first show. Now, 25 years later on May 7, they will return to town, playing an anniversary show at John Paul Jones Arena.

Matthews is known and celebrated in this town for more than just his music. In 1999, he bought 10 acres of land in Albemarle County, and his Blenheim Vineyards wine is a testament to not only the viticultural potential of land in the Piedmont region, but also his commitment to preservation and conservation. When the band hit it big, they gave back…they’ve donated an estimated $40 million to grants and charity in the Ville (and elsewhere) through the Bama Works Fund, administered by the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation. So it should come as no surprise that the proceeds from May’s show (an estimated $1 million) will go to charity. Face it, when it comes to Charlottesville heroes, Dave is starting to make even TJ look like a normal guy. In honor of the many gifts given, hearts won, and shows to come, we’ve picked out a couple of our favorite classic DMB songs. He’ll doubtlessly play some of these at the May 7 show at John Paul Jones Arena.

“Don’t Drink the Water”

The first single off of Before These Crowded Streets, “Don’t Drink the Water” opens with a murky, sludgy kind of bass groove, fleshed out by a frothing, bubbling banjo rhythm courtesy of Bela Fleck. Dave’s lead vocal is supplemented by the wailing cries of Alanis Morissette; together the two reach a fever pitch. Lyrics like “No room for both, just room for me” reflect Dave’s social consciousness. The song is about South African apartheid and the subjugation of Native Americans.


#41 begins with a light, hip drum groove, heavily syncopated. The tune is a testament to Dave’s trademark style; drifting purposely through a myriad of rock landscapes. The subtle grooves of the intro merge and mesh into an open, unrestrained instrumental space, with violin, flute and sax solos over a deep pocket groove.

“Ants Marching”

This is a contender for most famous DMB song. It’s both a tribute to and a repudiation of what some affectionately call “the daily grind.” A musical celebration and a lyric denouement. It’s a song about getting up in the morning and doing the same darn thing you did the day before, an earnest, from-the-heart reflection from a guy who we sometimes forget was a bartender at a decidedly working-class establishment. Musically this experience is redeemed, while the lyrics have a distinctly existential approach.

“Best of What’s Around”

The textures of this song are porous, shimmering, inviting light into its depths. It’s got lush, full harmonic ideas, rife with substance and motion. It’s also got one of the most head-nodding, groovy backbeats in DMB’s catalogue. The vocal performance by Dave is rich, and at times even soaring.

Charlottesville: The New Capital for Venture Capital

The National Venture Capital Association recently ranked Charlottesville as the fastest-growing venture capital ecosystem in the United States.According to the organization, venture funding in Charlottesville increased from $250,000 in 2010 to $27.7 million in 2015.

The main reason for this astonishing growth is the cornerstone of the Charlottesville community, the University of Virginia.

There are 9 leading companies that were recipients of the $27.7 million, and 6 of the 9 worked with the UVA Licensing & Ventures Group to launch and grow their businesses using research from the University.

Another tool UVA has is the  i.Lab, a competitive business incubator that offers coaching, workshops and a flourishing community of innovators. The i.Lab’s accelerator program is open to students and faculty, as well as anyone in the Charlottesville community.  This program includes a workspace, grant funding, intensive guidance and support for budding entrepreneurs.

The UVA Health System is another key supporter of Charlottesville’s start-up culture.

It is exciting to see the incredible ideas, products, and companies that have been born from these initiatives and programs, and to see these dreams come to life to help the community of Charlottesville and beyond!

To read the full article click here.

Nelsonite to Become Virginia State Rock

Photo from Nelsonsite State Rock Initiative

Many great and beautiful innovations hail from the land of Nelson County…Wintergreen Ski Resort, the inspiration for the TV show The Waltons, the ginger gold apple variety, a sea of craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries, and now…Virginia’s state rock. The Virginia State Senate voted to make Nelsonite the Commonwealth’s state rock. On Friday, April 1 Governor McAuliffe signed off on the decision; the bill becomes law on July 1.

The bill’s passage is the result of a community effort which germinated at Piedmont Virginia Community College. PVCC’s political science and geology departments came together in what was initially supposed to be an exercise, a way to experience firsthand the process of introducing legislation to Virginia’s Congress. But the Nelsonite State Rock Initiative had other plans. The group demonstrated steadfast tenacity, and so what began as an innocuous attempt to illuminate students about the mechanism of legislative government became a community-driven initiative, supported by people from all over land in central Virginia. All due to the hard work of three honors geology students and one political science student (who happens to be a 54-year old woman headed to UVa to complete her bachelor’s degree in the fall!)

Nelsonite (named after Nelson County, Virginia, naturally) is a fairly scarce intrusive igneous rock, consisting of mostly ilmenite, rutile, and apatite. It’s mostly black or dark grey, with white and tan speckles. It was deposited on land in Nelson, Roseland, and Amherst over a billion years ago, and is considered a rare earth element. It also occurs in Washington State, Quebec, China, and Canada. It’s got a rich economic history in the 20th century, having been mined a lot by the banks of the Piney River (on land in Nelson County) and other similar areas. It provided an ample source of titanium for paint pigments and steel alloys, and for the calcium phosphate used in artificial teeth and fertilizer. Many historians credit the rock with boosting Virginia’s economy in the early 20th century. It’s still very economically viable in both China and Canada, where they too refer to it as Nelsonite. The movement to officially recognize Virginia’s love affair with Nelsonite gained a steady stream of momentum after Virginia State Geologist David Spears supported the choice. At the annual 2015 Virginia Field Geologists Conference, it won a unanimous vote to be chosen as the state rock.

The Nelsonite bill’s passage was fairly prompt due to more contentious issues before the Congress, such as the difficulty of Virginia’s State Senate to choose a new VA Supreme Court Justice. If you think there are more important issues in front of Congress than rocks, you’re probably right. But the Nelsonite State Rock Initiative asks a rhetorical question that rings true. “With the severity of the problems in the world and the ever-growing demand to face and resolve these issues, is it a waste of time to be focusing on symbolic elements such as state beverages, state flags, state mottos, or even state rocks? Absolutely not.” No matter how symbolic, actions like these are a reflection of community and a celebration of Virginia’s rich heritage. We here at Gayle Harvey Real Estate have to agree.


The solar panel industry has yet to find a strong home in central Virginia, despite Charlottesville’s reputation as a forward-thinking, cautiously modernizing mid-size town. It’s estimated that around half a million homes are solar powered (probably with a higher concentration in west coast cities). The fact is that any avenue which diminishes a reliance on fossil fuels is an avenue worth exploring, especially in light (that pun was very much intended) of ever-changing weather patterns. Springs and summers are the best seasons for stockpiling photovoltaic energy, simply because the sun is out more. claims that a combination of PV cells and energy efficient appliances can cut your home energy costs by more than 66%! By the way, check that site out for handy applications like their Solar Calculator or Solar Power Cost.

A brief discussion on how it works. Photovoltaic cells are comprised of silicon and other semiconductor materials. Together with other elements, they stimulate the movement of electrons. There are a few different options for harnessing this energy. The prevailing image of PV technology is probably the flat solar panels, typically seen on the roofs of green buildings. In the past, the construction and design of these panels was seen as aesthetically unappealing. PV engineers and providers have started to make the panels more muted colors like black, which blend well with the look of modern roofs. There are still building permits for which you’ll have to apply, and you should definitely check with your resident Homeowner’s Association before getting started.

One of the most enduring narratives about solar energy (and solar panels in particular) is that it’s no good for property values. While it might be easy to believe that the huge, rectangular structures which dominate the roofs of solar-powered houses would repel potential buyers, this has been proven false. An interdisciplinary team comprised of universities, appraisers, and scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Sandia National Labs has discerned that there is an average premium of $15,000 for homes with a photovoltaic system. They looked at the sales of 22,000 homes (4,000 of which were solar-powered), in eight different states between the years of 1999 and 2013. The data says that homes with photovoltaic systems sell at a rate 20% faster than homes without. The homes also fetch an average price 17% higher than their coal-powered counterparts. Depending on where you live, there may also be government rebates and incentives for installing/maintaining a photovoltaic system in your home. Wouldn’t it be pretty nice to get a full or partial property tax exemption for converting sunlight into energy?

At this point you may be thinking about solar power for your Charlottesville home. There are several factors to consider, and the majority of people who decide to invest in photovoltaic technology consult some sort of outside party, known as solar installers. A little research online will bring up a list of solar energy providers and installers in your area. Here at home in Charlottesville, SolarizeCville and Dasolar appear to be prominent names, but there are likely several others, especially with major cities like Washington, D.C. and Richmond nearby. These installers will evaluate your home, needs (are you retrofitting a pre-existing house or building one from scratch?) and budget. The more research you do, the better. Think and ask your installer questions regarding the quality of the input components used by the recommended solar companies. Have a look at the claims rates; they shed much light on the experiences of other customers and are indicative of how well the hardware holds up over time.

Find out the efficiency percentage…all solar panels should have one readily available. This percentage is simply the ratio of “raw” sunlight hitting the roof to converted energy. The higher efficiency, the less surface area required to power a home. You definitely want at least 10% efficiency…aim for the 15-20% range if it’s within your means. Look up reviews from panel owners who live in climates and situations that are similar to your own. Read assessments from unbiased third-party organizations. If you’re considering a specific company, ask the manufacturers for test results from different climates, environments, and installation circumstances. Most people agree that a photovoltaic array lasts an average of 25 years, and most warranties reflect this. Read the terms of the warranty carefully and make sure you’re covered every step of the way. For example, you’re going to want efficiency minimums that reflect wear, tear, and years. Good luck on your quest…to greener pastures and lower electricity costs!  If you are looking for a green home in Charlottesville, check out our website

Guide to Starting a Farm Brewery, Winery, or Distillery

zxltgiathCwWK0bEdJFhtdrB3551G78MrROB1GIK8iwYou might as well refer to the land outside Charlottesville as beer/wine country. The rolling hillsides of Albemarle County and beyond are incredibly well-suited to breweries and vineyards. The past few years especially have seen an explosion of craft breweries like Blue Mountain Brewery in Nelson County, the brand spankin’ new Pro Re Nata in Crozet, or the flagship Starr Hill which was founded in 1999, technically on Charlottesville land (though now in Crozet). Wine aficionados will appreciate knowing that central Virginia land has robust, exquisite terroir…many compare the farms and pastures of the Piedmont region to southern Italy for this reason. Barboursville Vineyards in particular has become a formidable winery whose influence is not relegated to just Virginia…they move 35,000 cases of wine a year, and Queen Elizabeth II herself has sampled their fares.

If you own land in Albemarle County, a brewery or distillery would be an excellent use of your property. Charlottesville’s farm-to-table aesthetic reaches out to many places in central Virginia, bringing farmers, restaurateurs, and local breweries/vineyards together for a culinary culture that is inclusive and community-based. Brewing beer lends itself especially to retired life…there’s lots of cleaning, record-keeping, maintenance, and beverage-tasting. Wineries are kind of the same deal. As a pet project, it’s the kind of endeavor that requires time and a meticulous attention to detail. But as a landowner, it’s an investment in space, resources, and possibly potential. It’s not hard to find passionate young amateur brewers, or even seasoned vets who know the ropes. The old joke is that brewing is 90% cleaning and 10% paperwork. If you’re looking into this process and you just so happen to live in Albemarle County, we’ve got that last 10% covered for you here.

First off, we advise you to meet with a staff member from the Albemarle County Zoning board. It’s not necessary, but is a helpful first step. You’ll also have to get a Virginia farm winery, limited brewery or limited distillery license from the ABC and be up-to-date on all zoning regulations. In certain cases you’ll also need to acquire a special permit. You don’t need a permit to grow or harvest any of the barley or grapes necessary for production; you don’t even need one to sell or store your finished product. However you’ll need a special use permit for events with over 200 attendees at a time. For multiple events, attendance is cumulative; so if you have two events with over 100 attendees each, you’ll need to have acquired a special use permit.

Getting a special use permit requires a legislative review process wherein the Board of Supervisors considers the impacts on adjacent properties and the effects of multiple uses on the community. It costs $2,500 and takes a minimum of six months to process. To be safe and ready, contact the Community Development Department (CDD) a few months in advance. The special use permit application should include information about the proposed uses/events, and the frequency/duration of these events. You’ll also need a sketch plan: a schematic, to-scale drawing of the site. There are minimum setbacks (a setback is the distance of a building from the road, a river, a flood plain, etc.) The front of any building must be 75 feet from public roads and 25 feet from internal public or private roads. The side setback is 25 feet and the rear setback is 35 feet, although you can appeal these minimums to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.

You’ll need zoning clearance if you’re planning on having outdoor amplified music, or any gatherings that will generate over 50 vehicle trips a day or take place on sites under 21 acres. Zoning clearance costs $54 and usually has a 2-3 week processing period. Most events are subject to the 50 vehicle trip/21 acres rules, but just for good measure, we’ll list some common events to which these rules apply:

  • Wine/brewery/distillery festivals, showcases etc.
  • Club meetings
  • Tasting seminars and luncheons
  • Business meetings
  • Gatherings intended to promote sales
  • Hosting guest winemakers, brewers, and distillers
  • Hayrides
  • Exhibits, historical functions related to beer, wine, liquor
  • Kitchen and catering activities related to wine, beer, and distilleries
  • Agritourism
  • Weddings/wedding receptions
  • Tours

You also need to allot one 9’ x 18’ parking space for every 2.5 customers and one parking space per employee at these special events. Contact the Land Use permitting office at VDOT for info regarding access points and entrances.

As far as food is concerned, you can’t operate a restaurant at your Albemarle farm winery, brewery, or distillery, but you’re permitted to prepare and sell finger foods and appetizers. You can also offer prepared/pre-packaged foods. Check out this Winery Food Service Form or this Food Service Fact Sheet for information on providing your own food. You’ll need a food service permit from the Virginia Department of Health. Food trucks are allowed and should have their own Mobile Food Vendor Zoning Clearance. Caterers are also permitted, but must have their own food service permits.

You can have amplified outdoor music, so long as it stays within 60 decibels by day and 55 by night. You need a zoning clearance for outdoor amplified music, which may necessitate examination of the equipment to be used and/or access to a calibrated sound level meter.

Signs are permitted if you follow the guidelines described in the table below:

Type of sign

# permitted

Max area





40 sq ft

20 ft


Free standing


24 sq ft total, for all the signs

12 ft

5 ft

Agricultural product


32 sq ft total, for all the signs

12 ft

5 ft


1/street frontage

24 sq ft.

10 ft

5 ft

So there you have it, a comprehensive look at all the zoning regulations that go into owning and operating an Albemarle County farm brewery, farm winery, or farm distillery. Whether you have a singular passion for delicious beverages or you plan to enlist the services of a veteran brewmaster or sommelier, this guide contains much of the information you need with regards to building clearance, food regulations, music regulations, and advertising, but definitely check with the county authorities early on to see how their regulations impact your goals. Good luck in your ventures! Call Gayle Harvey Real Estate for any questions about land in Charlottesville or farms in Albemarle County or the Greater Charlottesville area.