Susan and I just returned from a 4-night trip to Charlottesville, Virginia (VA) - we've visited the area a half dozen times over the decades but has been 4-5 years since our last trip - I mainly wanted to return to see the progress on several historic houses of a number of the early Presidents of the United States. So, I'll start by describing our short journey there w/ a day to day account of our activities; then subsequent posts will describe some of our previous trips - as usual, I'll use some of my photos and borrow many images from the web. Charlottesville is surrounded by mountains and is near the Shenandoah Valley - map below shows our route from Winston-Salem; we went via HW 29 through Lynchburg (to see one of Thomas Jefferson's homes - will be part of the next post) - there are a number of driving options including I-77 to I-81 which runs through the beautiful valley w/ a number of historic towns to visit. Charlottesville is the home of the University of Virginia, one of the best schools in the Southeast part of the USA - check the link, if interested; Thomas Jefferson (author of the Declaration of Independence & the third United States President) designed the Rotunda and adjacent wings (a couple of pics below after the map). There are plenty of motels, hotels, and other housing option, but we have usually stayed @ the Boar's Head Inn, which is the official 'inn' of the University w/ an outstanding fitness center and restaurant; however, this time we splurged a little (kind of a second 45th anniversary celebration for us) and stayed at Keswick Hall, a historic property converted into a 48-room hotel w/ several restaurants, spa, and a gorgeous golf course designed by Pete Dye - below are my pics of the hotel from the front & back w/ some panoramic views - the grounds are landscaped beautifully - we really enjoyed our stay there. Upcoming posts will describe our daily activities which varied from mountain scenery, visiting President's houses in the area, and also finding a number of the excellent wineries. Dave .