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Charlottesville, VA

Steeped in history and set at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville is home to the University of Virginia, and neighbor to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. It's a small but cosmopolitan town with about 46,000 residents in 2007.

NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia, or UVA, is the largest employer in the region. Other major employers include Martha Jefferson Hospital; SNL Financial; PRA International, which provides clinical research services for pharmaceutical companies; legal database research service Lexus-Nexus; Lockheed Martin; and GE Fanuc.

FOR VISITORS

At one time, Charlottesville was home to three of the first five presidents of the United States: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. Jefferson's legacy is best displayed in the University of Virginia. The university's famous Rotunda draws thousands of visitors annually. UVA also maintains the Bayly Art Museum, which hosts a range of exhibitions and events. Jefferson's historic estate, Monticello, is also a popular local attraction. Next door to Monticello visitors will find Ash Lawn-Highland, the former plantation of James Monroe.

In spite of its small size, Charlottesville is renowned for its cosmopolitan flair. More than two dozen family-owned vineyards, many of which offer tours and tastings, are scattered throughout the surrounding countryside. The John Paul Jones Arena, which serves the UVA basketball teams, and Scott Stadium, home of UVA football, also serve as venues for international entertainment acts.

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

The Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum on the eastern end of the city features rotating exhibitions and community educational programs. The Virginia Discovery Museum on the Downtown Mall offers exhibits for children.

Theatre fans head downtown to Live Arts and the Play On! Theatre. The university's Heritage Repertory Theatre offers a blend of new and classic plays.

UVA is also host to the annual Virginia Film Festival, typically held during the last weekend in October. The four-day event features film screenings, lectures, and panel discussions.

FAMILY FUN

Hunting, fishing, and hiking are all popular recreational pastimes in Charlottesville and the surrounding area. City residents frequently trek to nearby Shenandoah National Park to get outdoors. Other popular natural attractions include the Blue Ridge Parkway. Both feature stunning mountain vistas, and are popular destinations during the fall foliage season.

Horse enthusiasts can watch the FoxfieldRaces in April and October of each year.

A Naturalization Ceremony is held annually at Monticello on the 4th of July, and the city has sponsored a First Night celebration on the Downtown Mall since 1982.

The local sports scene is dominated by UVA men's football and basketball. UVA is also noted for a strong women's basketball team, and nationally-recognized soccer, baseball and lacrosse programs.

In addition to its trio of founding fathers, Charlottesville has been the proud of to a number of other preeminent residents. Edgar Allen Poe briefly attended UVA, and William Faulkner was the university's writer-in-residence in 1957. More recently, movie stars Sissy Spacek, Sam Shepherd and Jessica Lange, novelist John Grisham, and musician Dave Matthews have called Charlottesville home. Indeed, Matthews began his career as a bartender at Miller's, a downtown restaurant and jazz club, before forming his eponymous band.

LOCAL MEDIA

Charlottesville AM radio stations:

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