Get to Know Scottsville, Virginia

Located just 19 miles south of Charlottesville, the town of Scottsville lies between both Albemarle and Fluvanna counties and is home to around 600 people. Once a large port on the James River, Scottsville has a growing downtown, family-friendly parks, plenty of history and small-town charm.

What’s In A Name?

Scottsville was originally named Scott’s Landing after a prominent family that lived in the area. In 1744, Albemarle County needed a site for its new courthouse. Scott’s Landing was originally built around Dr. John Scott’s 15 acres near the James River. Edward Scott’s house was used as a courthouse until one was built. The town of Scottsville was incorporated in 1818.

History of Scottsville

In the mid-1700s. Scottsville became the “western-most center of commerce and government” since rivers were the primary means of travel. In fact, Albemarle County was founded in Scott’s Landing. During that time, Thomas Jefferson’s father, Peter, traveled to Scottsville – then Scott’s Landing – to serve as justice for the newly formed county. Later, Thomas Jefferson practiced law in the Scottsville courthouse.

Initially, Scottsville was a river town used as a tobacco inspection station with a ferry. The town grew rapidly once the Kanawha Canal was completed in 1840. The canal ran parallel with the James River from Richmond and Scottsville became the largest port on this route. The canal was meant to reach all the way to the Ohio River, but the outbreak of the Civil War stopped construction and railroads became the main source of travel. 

Scottsville Virginia Canal Memorial
Scottsville Virginia Canal Memorial

During the Civil War, General Custer and General Phil Sheridan marched through Scottsville on their way to Appomattox. The town also gained a stop on the C&O Railroad that helped to supplement the travel over the James River. 

Since the incorporation of Scottsville, there has been over 20 floods in the region. In the 1980s, a levee was built to protect the area from future flooding. 

Scottsville VA Flood levels
Scottsville VA Flood levels

Nearby Attractions

Scottsville’s Historic District includes over 150 buildings in the region including commercial, religious, residential and factories. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

The Scottsville Museum has exhibits that tell the story of Scottsville history and the important role the town played along the James River. The museum is inside the former Disciples of Christ Church which was built in the mid-1800s. 

Scottsville’s Confederate War Memorial Monument and Cemetery honor the soldiers who died during the Civil War who came from the Scottsville area. The obelisk monument was dedicated in 2002 and is a Civil War Trails site.

The James River provides plenty of fun for residents and tourists alike. Horseshoe Flats campground boasts tent and RV sites, and is the perfect place to canoe, swim, tube, fish and picnic. 

James River near Scottsville VA
James River near Scottsville VA

Just five minutes outside of Scottsville, Hatton Ferry still runs throughout the year. Hatton Ferry is the only poled ferry still operating in the United States. People can ride the ferry across the James just like settlers did more than 100 years ago.

Present Day Scottsville

Today, Scottsville is a growing community that has continued to hold onto the smalltown charm. The historic downtown is home to many businesses including the James River Brewery, The Tavern on the James restaurant, a yoga studio, plenty of small eateries and more. There is a Food Lion store so residents can do their grocery shopping close to home. There are soccer fields and playground at Dorrier Park. Scottsville also has a branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library system.

Scottsville is the only incorporated town in Albemarle County. It has its own Town Council and Police Department. 

Get to Know Gordonsville, Virginia

Located 19 miles northeast of Charlottesville, the town of Gordonsville celebrated its bicentennial in 2013. The town is located in Orange County and has a rich history because of its proximity to the Virginia Central Railroad and several presidential landmarks nearby. Today, Gordonsville is a small residential town with a population around 1,500 people. 

What’s In A Name?

Gordonsville was named for Nathaniel Gordon who purchased 1,350 acres of land in the area in the 1780s. He opened a tavern in the area which became known as a place to eat, lodge and discuss local matters. Prominent guests like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and James Monroe stopped by “Gordon’s Tavern” on their way south to Charlottesville. 

In 1813, Gordon became the postmaster of the area and the area became known as Gordonsville. The land was willed to Gordon’s son, John, at the time of Nathaniel’s death in 1820. By then the area had been built into a small town with a post office, general store, blacksmith shop and more.

History of Gordonsville

Gordonsville’s location between Potomac and Charlottesville played an integral role in the growth of the area. The Louisa Railroad was extended through Gordonsville in 1839 and in 1854 the Orange & Alexandria Railroad completed its line which connected the area to Northern Virginia.

Gordonsville VA Exchange Hotel
Gordonsville Exchange Hotel

By mid-century, Nathaniel Gordon’s original tavern had burned down and was rebuilt as a luxury hotel for train passengers. When the Civil War broke out, the hotel was used as a hospital for over 70,000 patients. Gordonsville was repeatedly threatened during the war, but remained standing. 

In 1870, the town was incorporated by the Virginia General Assembly. Around the same time, Gordonsville was known for the food options in the area. By the end of the century, the area was known as “The Fried Chicken Capital of the World” because of the entrepreneurial efforts of African-American women who fed southern fare to train passengers. 

Over the next one hundred years, the cultural culinary scene has continued to flourish. Gordonsville is known for award-winning BBQ, French and German restaurants, and fried chicken continues to bring tourists to the area.

Nearby Attractions

Nathaniel Gordon’s original tavern that was rebuilt as a hotel and served as a hospital during the Civil War stands today as The Exchange Hotel Civil War Medical Museum. The beautiful Georgian architecture still stands as it did during the war and has exhibits that tell the story of the town of Gordonsville. Some say that the Museum is a prime place for paranormal activity and hosts ScareFest each Halloween.

Black Meadow, or Wolftrap Farm, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places because it was owned by James and Dolley Madison. The farmhouse and plantation surrounding it now serves as a wedding venue.

The Gordonsville Historic District is located in downtown Gordonsville and is comprised of over 80 structures including churches, commercial buildings and the Exchange Hotel.

The greater Gordonsville area is known for outdoor activities, wineries and cideries, and great cuisine. Be sure to stop in at BBQ Exchange, an award-winning BBQ Restaurant!

Present Day Gordonsville

Today, US Route 15 and US Route 33 connects Standardsville and Louisa, and passes right through Gordonsville. The area boasts lots of history, modern-day amenities, and convenience to Charlottesville, Richmond and DC.

Get to Know Zion Crossroads

Just outside Albemarle County where Route US 15 meets Route US 250 is the unincorporated community of Zion Crossroads. Known by many as an exit off of Interstate 64, Zion Crossroads has seen tremendous growth in the past two decades. Once a sleepy little place with a single grocery store and gas station, Zion Crossroads now boasts large retail stores and plenty of restaurants. And in 2014 a diverging diamond interchange helped to improve traffic flow from the increase of residents and visitors.

Zion Crossroads spreads across Fluvanna and Louisa Counties. It is just a twenty minute drive from downtown Charlottesville, fifty minutes to Richmond, and 2.5 hours to Washington DC.Zion Crossroads

History of Zion Crossroads

In 1928, the Federal Government began work on the US Highway system. Initially, US Route 250 was built through West Virginia and into Ohio. In 1934, the highway was built through to Richmond, Virginia. In the area of modern day Zion Crossroads, the new highway crossed over the existing Route US 15 and became a stop along the way from east to west.

Initially, Zion Crossroads consisted of little more than a grocery store, a restaurant, a gas station and a motel. In the 1970s, Virginia began work on Interstate 64, which added to the thru traffic in the area. 

After I64 was built, the area of Zion Crossroads began to boom. Convenient stores, gas stations and restaurants popped up all around.

In the early 2000s, the area began to grow even more. A Lowe’s home improvement store was built, followed by a Wal-Mart Super Center. More restaurants and hotels were added, and eventually the Spring Creek Golf Community Development, a 950 plus acre gated community consisting of walking trails, business park, golf course and other amenities.

Nearby Attractions

The area around modern-day Zion Crossroads has a rich history. Just two miles north, you can find Green Springs National Historic Landmark District, a 14,000 National Park that is home to dozens of buildings, many of which pre-date the Revolutionary War. 

A quick 11 mile trip north will land you in Gordonsville, home of the award-winning BBQ Exchange

Spring Creek is home to plenty of shopping and dining and is home to their gorgeous golf course.

The area is home to dozens of picturesque wineries and cideries including Cunningham Creek, Keswick Vineyards and Castle Hill Cidery.

Present Day Zion Crossroads

Today, Zion Crossroads is still booming. In the recent years, UVA Health System and Sentara Hospital have added practices in the area to serve the growing population. The convenience of shopping and restaurants has helped the area grow as well. Residents in nearby Lake Monticello and Villages of Nahoor have all benefited from the area’s commercial growth.

In the spring of 2019, construction began on the project of bringing public water and sewage to the area. This, many people believe, will help the area develop even further. The project is scheduled to be finished in the fall of 2020.

Zion Crossroads truly lives by its name – a crossroads of modern day convenience with historic roots. The area continues to grow and remains committed to its rural charm.

Charlottesville Area Real Estate Taxes

The Charlottesville area is very fortunate to have reasonable real estate taxes, as compared to other areas in the country.  Below is a list of the 2018 local real estate tax rates.  All of the counties except for Buckingham County offer reduced rates for various types of agriculture and forest uses.  A property has to qualify for land use and applications must be made and renewed periodically.


ALBEMARLE .839/cents per $100
CITY OF CHARLOTTESVILLE .95/cents per $100
AMHERST .61/cents per $100
AUGUSTA .63/cents per $100
BUCKINGHAM .55/cents per $100
FLUVANNA .939/cents per $100
GREENE .775/cents per $100
LOUISA .72/cents per $100
MADISON .68/cents per $100
NELSON .72/cents per $100
ORANGE .804/cents per $100
CULPEPER .67/cents per $100
ROCKINGHAM .74/cents per $100


2018 Spring Happenings in Central Virginia

After a fickle, false start to spring, it appears the season might be here to stay. That means lots of outdoor activities in central Virginia for the enjoyment of all. From shopping for local foods and wares to spinning on a carnival ride, from relaxing on the grass while listening to live music downtown to hiking up a steep incline to get a breathtaking mountain view—the central Virginia area offers plenty of festive activities to celebrate the arrival of spring and the end of a long winter.

Dogwood Festival: March 24-May 5, 2018


This annual festival that honors both the official state tree and flower encompasses many community activities that span from March to May. One of these is the Dogwood Carnival (April 5-22) that takes place in McIntire Park. There are rides, games, and all the greasy food you can stomach. There is also the Dogwood Parade (April 21), in which participants will march along the pedestrian mall and loop down High Street. This year’s theme is “Candy Land” so bring your sweet tooth!

Fridays After Five: April 13-September 14, 2018

Unwind on a sunny afternoon with free live music at the Sprint Pavilion. Spread a blanket on the grass and enjoy a beer and other concessions offerings, the proceeds of which go to support local nonprofits. The music ranges from pop, hip-hop, rock, reggae, bluegrass, and folk, all played by talented local and regional musicians.

Sprint Pavilion






Charlottesville City Market: April 7-December, 2018

You know spring is here when the city market returns to the lot between South and Water streets! Be on the lookout for fresh produce, homemade cheese, butter, and baked goods, handcrafted jewelry, woodwork, and ceramics, and delectable breakfast & lunch items so you can nosh while you shop – including fresh tacos, dumplings, bagels, and breakfast sandwiches hot off the griddle.

Historic Garden Week: April 21-28, 2018Cville Flowers

This special tour highlighting beautifully designed gardens spans the entire state of Virginia, giving the public access to historic estates and homes. This year’s Historic Garden Week in the Charlottesville-Albemarle Area will provide tours of Morven Estate (land once purchased by Thomas Jefferson as a gift for Col. William Short), Castle Hill (a Georgian home originally constructed in 1764), Grace Episcopal Church, Chopping Bottom Farm (a Keswick estate with contemporary style), East Belmont (an early 19th-century home with formal garden), Ben-Coolyn (a 145-acre estate on land originally part of the Meriwether Land Grant of 1730), and the University of Virginia (specifically the Pavilion and Serpentine Gardens).

National Park Week: April 21-29, 2018

National Park Week means there will be lots of things happening at nearby Shenandoah National Park to celebrate this natural resource. Entrance fees will be waived at all national parks on April 21. And on Earth Day, April 22, SNP will offer a ranger-led hike on the Appalachian Trail.

Charlottesville Ranked among 30 Best Small Cities & Named “Most Literate”

sidewalk-cafe-53318_1280Earlier this month (January 2018), National Geographic Traveler ranked Charlottesville among the top 30 Best Small Cities in the U.S., as well as giving it the distinction of “Most Literate” among its peer cities. To determine the rankings, National Geographic teamed up with Resonance Consultancy, a branding consulting firm that has created an algorithm for ranking cities and is behind the World’s Best Cities program.

For the Best Small Cities rankings, the collaborative team analyzed social media references to cities in the U.S. and then organized them according to population size. Certain themes arose around certain cities, such as the number of coffee shops or art galleries, or—in the case of Charlottesville—the number of bookstores and college degrees. From those larger themes the team created superlatives to describe each city, rightly naming Charlottesville “Most Literate.” To learn more about our literary city, read our blog post on local bookstores. And, for all those eager readers out there, be sure to mark the dates of the upcoming Virginia Festival of the Book: March 21-25, 2018.

To read the complete list of Best Small Cities in the U.S., visit National Geographic here.

Holiday Happenings

December 8-10, 2017

Are you looking for holiday activities that celebrate the season? Do you need ideas for where to find unique gifts? Here are some fun things to do this weekend that involve both!

On Friday night after work, you can catch—for one night only—the 11th annual Let There Be Light art installation at PVCC. This tradition brings together local and regional artists to celebrate the proximity of the winter solstice—the longest night of the year—with art that plays with light. (Attendees are encouraged to bring a flashlight.) Alternatively, you can stop by The Garage downtown—the single car garage across from Emancipation Park on 1st Street—and join in their Carol Sing.

Saturday morning, rise bright and early to enjoy the Holiday Market, set up in the parking lot of the seasonal City Market between Water and South Streets. There you will find holiday wreathes, garlands, ornaments, and plenty of gift ideas, such as jewelry, clothing, and handcrafted goods.

Next, be sure not to miss the McGuffey Art Center’s Winter Celebration. This festive event features jugglers, live music, donuts, open art studios with hands-on art projects, and a holiday gift shop with original, local art for sale.

If you’d like to continue your holiday shopping, head over to C’ville Craftacular at the Carver Recreation Center in the beautiful, historic Jefferson School. A tradition for 12 years running, Craftacular’s holiday show highlights the best its participating vendors have to offer in handmade wares.

On Sunday, take a break from the hustle and bustle by enjoying a screening of Elf at the Paramount. Santa himself and Buddy the Elf plan to make an appearance at 2:00 p.m.

Whatever festivities you choose, we hope you have a lovely weekend in Charlottesville! Details of suggested events follow below.


Art Installation: Let There Be Light

Friday, December 8, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

V. Earl Dickinson Building, PVCC | 501 College Drive


The Garage Carol Sing

Friday, December 8, 7:00 p.m.

1st Street, between Market and Jefferson Streets


Holiday Market

Saturday, December 9, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

100 Water Street


Winter Celebration

Saturday, December 9, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

McGuffey Art Center | 201 2nd Street NW


C’ville Craftacular Holiday Market

Saturday, December 9, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Carver Recreation Center | 233 4th Street NW


Elf the movie

Sunday, December 10

11:30 a.m. sensory friendly | 2:00 p.m. standard + visit from Santa & Buddy | 7:00 p.m. standard

The Paramount | 215 East Main Street

2017 Guide to Local Tree Farms

In central Virginia, the time-honored tradition of selecting and cutting down your own Christmas tree is alive and well. Imagine walking among rows of conifers grown for this purpose, taking in their distinct scent that defines the season. You reach out to touch the green needles to test their spring and strength, their ability to carry the weight of memories in the form of treasured ornaments. Not only does selecting and cutting down your own tree give you a memorable experience, it ensures the freshness of your tree, too, as many pre-cut trees may have been cut weeks before being sold. And in the verdant countryside surrounding Charlottesville, there are plenty of Christmas tree farms from which to choose.

Greene Meadows Christmas Tree Farm

487 Crow Mountain Road, Stanardsville, VA | 434-990-1999

Open November 24-December 23 | Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Run by the Ensor family, this farm has over 7 acres of planted Christmas trees to choose from. The five species of evergreens they offer are White Pine, Scotch Pine, White Spruce, Canaan Fir, and Leyland Cypress, each priced according to species, rather than by size. At the Christmas Shop you will be welcomed with complimentary hot chocolate or cider and a candy cane while you peruse gift items, ornaments, wreaths, and the farm’s homemade preserves, jellies, and relishes. On the weekends, local youth organizations such as the Boy Scouts will be nearby selling hot dogs, hamburgers, sodas, and baked goods to benefit their operations. And there is also a miniature petting zoo of sheep and lambs eagerly awaiting their human visitors.

Stonehearth Christmas Tree Farm

367 Kirtley Road, Leon, VA | 540-547-2576

Open November 24-December 23

Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. | Monday-Friday, 1-5 p.m.

Just off 29 North in Madison County, Stonehearth Christmas Tree Farm sells White Pines, Scotch Pines, Red Pines, Virginia Pines, and Canaan Firs, all priced at $35 each. Their wreaths are made from White and Scotch Pine in varying sizes. Each visitor to the farm will receive a complimentary hot chocolate, hot apple cider, or coffee, and each child will receive a free candy cane and coloring book. The farm will be open on the weekends, and during the week purchases may be made at the gray house.

Miller Farms Market

12101 Orange Plank Road, Locust Grove, VA | 540-850-5009

Open November- December 23

Monday–Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

In Orange County, Miller Farms Market is an operational farm that offers a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program 33 weeks out of the year, hosts pick-your-own events during berry season, and sells many local and regional products in their Marketplace year-round. During the holiday season, they add evergreens to their list of homegrown goods for sale. You can choose from White Pine, Canaan Fir, Douglas Fir, Norway Spruce, and Colorado Blue Spruce. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop, too!

Claybrooke Farm

912 Elk Creek Road, Mineral, VA 23117 | 540-872-3817

Open November 24-25, December 2 & 9, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

This family farm has been planting Christmas trees since 1984 and has expanded in acreage and offering, while remaining environmentally sustainable. Available species now include Canaan Fir, Nordman Fir, Concolor Fir, and White Pine. Upon arrival, you can view samples of each kind to get a better sense of what you might like. Their gift shop, the Gathering Barn, is stocked with Virginia products, ornaments, and accessories. In good weather you can enjoy a wagon ride on the farm. Please see above for open hours.

Foxfire Christmas Tree Farm

451 Foxfire Road, Scottsville, VA | 434-286-3445

Open November 19- December 22

Thursday-Monday, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Owned and operated by the Samuels family since 1968, this family farm sells fresh Douglas Fir, Norway Spruce, and White Pine trees as well as handmade wreaths and garlands. They encourage families to make a day of it and bring a picnic if the weather is nice. You can even bring your dog, so long as s/he is leashed. Please note, on weekdays there is limited assistance with baling and loading so you may be required to do that labor yourself.

Saunders Brothers Farm Market

2717 Tye Brook Highway, Piney River, VA 22964 | 434-277-5455 x 37

Open November 24- December 16

Saturdays only, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

This family-run farm has operated as an apple orchard since 1915! Throughout the year, Saunders Brothers grows fruits and vegetables, and every year following Thanksgiving they open their tree farm to the public. Conifer selections include Canaan Fir, Norway Spruce, Blue Spruce, White Pine, and Scotch Pine. Their Farm Market—across the road from the tree farm—offers wreaths and garlands, as well as a place to warm your hands by the fire.

Boys Home Christmas Tree Farm

1118 Bear Wallow Flat, West Augusta, VA | 540-939-4106

Open November 24-December 23

Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m-4 p.m.

An hour from Charlottesville, in the Allegheny Highlands, Boys Home offers a residential educational and care facility for boys aged 6-18. For over 20 years, part of their program of instilling responsibility and discipline has included teaching their students tree farming, from planting seedlings to shearing, harvesting, and assisting customers with their tree selections. Among the conifer varieties they offer are White Pine and Norway Spruce. And the money from sales goes right back into supporting Boys Home.

Long Meadow Tree Farm

296 Miller Road, Waynesboro, VA | 540-649-4307

Open November-December

Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

This family farm has been in operation since 1981. Their planted conifers include White Pine, Scotch Pine, Douglas Fir, Concolor Fir, Norway Spruce, and Blue Spruce. They also sell handmade wreaths and table arrangements (made from fresh cut greenery and one or two candles), along with winter squashes, honey, homemade apple butter, and farm fresh eggs.

Caring for your_jpg

2017 Central Virginia Real Estate Tax Rates

Curious about the cost of real estate taxes in Central Virginia? We’ve made it easy for you by compiling the 2017 tax rates for Charlottesville and its surrounding counties and municipalities into one table. The real estate tax rate is measured as “cents per 100 dollars,” as represented by the decimals in the second column. Tax rates are updated every 1-6 years when the county supervisors or commissioners take a vote. The list below is current as of November 2017. Please contact each county/municipality directly for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

November 2017















0.67 = COUNTY plus 0.10=IF TOWN





















Charlottesville Ranks 3rd Happiest U.S. City

This month, Charlottesville ranked # 3 in happiest cities in the United States in an article published by! The rankings were the result of a study conducted from 2014-2015 in 190 U.S. metropolitan areas. Author Dan Buettner (The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons from the World’s Happiest People) and social scientist Dan Witters of Gallup joined forces to create an index that measures features of happiness. Witters established 15 metrics, which included financial security, healthy diet, vacation time, intellectual growth, civic engagement, and—of all things—dental checkups. Meanwhile, Buettner observed that happiness often manifests as “pleasure, pride, and purpose,” which contribute to a robust sense of wellness.

But another key factor, as George Stone of National Geographic reports, is place. He writes, “In happier places, according to Buettner, locals smile and laugh more often, socialize several hours a day, have access to green spaces, and feel that they are making purposeful progress toward achieving life goals.”

While the article doesn’t reveal what all 15 metrics were, or go into detail about to what degree they aligned with the ranked cities, it’s not hard to imagine what metrics contribute to the happiness of Charlottesville residents.


In 2016, HealthLine ranked Charlottesville one of the top 10 Healthiest Small Towns in the U.S. Our small city has several gyms, a plethora of yoga studios, as well as other boutique fitness studios, and a thriving farm-to-table movement. In addition, we have two excellent hospitals: the University of Virginia Hospital and Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital.

Green Environment

Buettner says, “There’s a high correlation between bikeability and happiness in a city.” Charlottesville has recently established new bike lanes that help accommodate our two-wheeled citizens. There is also a reliable transit system affectionately known as the CAT (Charlottesville Area Transit) and a free trolley that runs a loop from downtown to the university, which help cut down on traffic. The City maintains lots of green space as well in the form of numerous public parks and walking trails. And certain regulations protect our beautiful skyline from being obscured by billboards.


As Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia approaches its bicentennial (2019), it continues to rank well in the U.S. News & World Report, recently snagging # 3 for Top Public Schools. Likewise, Albemarle County ranks # 3 and Charlottesville City # 6 in Best School Districts in Virginia, according to

Civic Engagement

Charlottesville provides ample opportunity to volunteer for a cause you believe in and help your neighbors. Whether your passion is education, housing, the arts, domestic violence prevention, or advocacy and social justice, Charlottesville has numerous organizations in need of volunteers who want to make a difference in their community.

Pleasure, Pride, & Purpose

Our modest metropolis has a reputation for being fertile ground for cultivating the arts.  Theaters, galleries, art studios, dance studios, and a writing center can all be found here. And while some may wonder what the point of art is, many would argue that envisioning and completing a painting or play or choreographed dance and sharing it with the community can fill one with a sense of pleasure, pride, and purpose. For others, it may be viewing a sculpture, film, or musical set that inspires these responses. Either way, the opportunity to experience this kind of happiness abounds in our artistic city.