July has rolled in just as you would expect: hot, steamy, and with a burst of pyrotechnic color! Graham and I went to a concert a few nights ago that ended with a spectacular fireworks show and it reminded me why I love this time of year. Though July seems to be the month of never-ending beach trips, there are still many events for those enjoying a staycation right here in Charlottesville. Hope you enjoy 10 Things to Do this month!
1. Independence Day is tomorrow, and after witnessing an inspiring event last year, my family will now forever be going to Monticello to watch the annual naturalization ceremony. The morning’s events kick off with more than 50 people from around the globe taking their oath of citizenship right on Mr. Jefferson’s front lawn, followed by free house tours, lawn games, and complimentary drinks and ice cream for visitors. We can’t wait to go back!
2. There are so many locations around Charlottesville to watch fireworks on the 4th of July. We weigh our options by considering how long it will take us to leave the parking lot after the show! Check out CBS 19’s Patriotism in the Park (McIntire Park), Happy Birthday America! (Carter Mountain Orchard), or watch the Tom Sox play the All-American game of baseball—a free event—followed by a super view of the city’s fireworks!
3. Escape the extreme July temps and bring the kids to one of many Jefferson-Madison Regional Library locations. Among other programs the library is hosting this month are Dreamtime: Tales from Down Under puppet show (7/12), Juggling with Jason LeBlanc (7/13), Moana Movie Matinee (7/14), LEGO Block Party (7/16), and Reptiles Alive nature show (7/26). Information and registration for select events can be found here.
4. Another indoor activity being hosted in July by Violet Crown Cinema is the Free Family Film Series. Bring the older kids each Wednesday at 10:30 for showings of The Goonies (7/11), Muppet Movie (7/18), and ET (7/25).
5. The Front Porch is hosting its 4th Annual Tuesday Tunes—a free concert series—this summer in partnership with James Monroe’s Highland. Hailing from Denver, CO, George Guthrie’s Meadow Mountain Band will jam on July 10 from 6-9 pm playing the guitar, mandolin, violin, viola, bass, and banjo. The concert series is family friendly but also makes a great date night!
6. Choose a day this month where the temps are below 90 (good luck!) and hike over to Carter Mountain Orchard or Chiles Orchard for peach pickin’! My family picks a peck of peaches every single July, then goes home to make all manner of peach crumble, pie, and ice cream. This year, I may even treat myself to a peach bellini for my efforts at the orchard.
7. Last month, I introduced some of you to Crabtree Falls as a fantastic hiking option in central Virginia. This month, my family will be revisiting Blue Hole, our favorite summer spot. Drive out to Sugar Hollow Reservoir, then follow the path to Snake Hole (the name fits—yikes!) and on to Blue Hole, one of the deepest swimming holes in the area. The mountain water is cool and the hike is gorgeous. We stop a lot, so it takes us about 1.5 hours to make it to the top. Faster families could likely shave off 30 minutes.
8. Is there anything more relaxing than a day spent under the veranda at Pippin Hill? The property is open Tuesday – Sunday 11 – 5, but on July 18, Chef Ian Rynecki will host Cooking School: Sauces 101 at 6 pm. Learn how to create savory sauces for your salads and pastas with cooking demonstrations and hands-on learning. There’s sure to be wine pairings to go along with the delicious food you’ll be making!
9. Five local businesses will come together this July 22 to host Picnic on the Patio at Spring Creek Golf Club. Proceeds from the benefit will go to the Louisa County Animal Shelter. The summer series boasts food, fun, and games for the whole family, even a slip-n-slide for the kids! Patio seating will be available, but lawn chairs and picnic blankets are also encouraged. Picnic on the Patio is from 12 – 4 pm.
10. Summertime means county fairs, and central Virginia certainly has its fair share. The Albemarle County Fair will be held July 26 – 28 at James Monroe’s Highland featuring farm animals, craft exhibits, children’s rides and contests, and folks won’t want to miss the Madison County Fair (July 18-21), or the Louisa County Agricultural Fair (July 27-28). Bring the whole family for some old-fashioned fun!