Hill City Bride | Virginia Wedding Blog » wedding, DIY and travel blog for brides

Our Weekend in Charlottesville, VA {featuring Graduate}

My husband and I recently celebrated our 23rd anniversary (so crazy how much time flies!), so when we were invited to stay at Graduate Charlottesville in Virginia, we took the opportunity to incorporate the lovely hotel into our anniversary plans. We had a wonderful time exploring a town that is close to home while also enjoying Heirloom for both dinner and brunch during our stay at Graduate. I can’t wait to share more about our stay!

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

If you are planning a visit to Charlottesville, VA, I have a few favorite shops that are always on my must visit list while I am in town.

Charlottesville has many bookstores, and New Dominion Bookshop is in an area called the Downtown Mall. It’s a quaint shop that has a lovely selection. We were there during the holiday season, and if you look close in the right window you will see someone wrapping gifts – so fun!

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

My husband has grown to realize that a trip to Charlottesville always (always, always) includes a stop into Low. Filled to the brim with era specific vintage clothing, I can always find a little something to take home with me! They have a selection of antiques and are also located on a side street in the Downtown Mall area. I adore Low and have been shopping there for years!

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

Circa is close to downtown Charlottesville, and it’s filled with antiques and used furniture. If you are searching for the perfect piece, I am fairly certain they’ll have it! Circa contains rooms and rooms of fun with an eclectic vibe.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

Heartwood Books is also another favorite Charlottesville book store. It’s packed with books – new, used and local – and the shopkeeper is so helpful! Grab a drink around the corner at Grit Coffee after you pick up a favorite paperback.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

Now, I am a little partial to Charlottesville’s rock paper scissors. I’ve known the owners for several years, and these ladies have an impeccable eye for all things lovely when it comes to design and paper. It’s so easy to find a little something for yourself or as a gift in their bright and airy store. And – as you will notice – I have such a heart for local and shopping small.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel BlogOur Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel BlogOur Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel BlogOur Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

You can also find a musician or two in Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall area.

Although we were there in late November, we were there on a gorgeous, sunny day, which had the streets buzzing with activity. Also, if you look in the signs in the window, you will see the “C’ville” teal heart that the ladies at rock paper scissors designed to show unity and support throughout the community.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

Remember that I said it was a beautiful day? We actually ate outside. In late November! We stopped at Sal’s – the two of us just couldn’t resist grabbing an al fresco bite to eat.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

After exploring, we headed to Graduate Charlottesville for the night.

You may wonder why I started out with all of my haunts in the city. Partly, it was to showcase my favorites, but I also wanted to show you that I love all things vintage, local and eclectic. When I first saw the photos of Graduate Charlottesville, I knew that the unique vibe would totally translate for me.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

I adored the fact that they have bikes available for their guests to utilize. So much of Charlottesville is close by, and a bike is the perfect way to get around! Sidebar: it was quite an effort for my husband to snag this photo of me. Ha! We did have fun with the hotel staff while trying to get the perfect shot.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

A walk around Graduate Charlottesville showcases just how retro the vibe is.

Playing off of the school theme (the hotel is close to UVA and the lounge areas are available for student use – brilliant!), nods to collegiate life are peppered throughout. Books, fun patterns, vintage pictures and tennis racquets create comfortable, quiet spaces for studying or reading.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel BlogOur Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel BlogOur Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel BlogOur Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

Now, on to our room at Graduate Charlottesville!

I love it when a theme is carried through well, and Graduate does it with perfection! Even the hotel directory resembles a composition book, and of course, I made good use of my mini notebook and pencil. Adorable!

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

A cheeky nod is given to celebrity when you receive your room key. We received “ID cards” of Tina Fey and Jessica Lange circa their college days. I dare say that not many hotel guests return their room key cards.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

What a classy way to ask you to reuse your towels. And a credit towards the restaurants is well worth it (more on those later!).

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

Our room was comfortable and cozy. I adored the decor elements, which had the feel of being collected over time – all of which gave us the sense of a home away from home.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel BlogOur Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

We were also greeted with a yummy selection of treats with a local flair and all delicious. Feast! snacks and Route 11 chips made the cut. Yum! And, of course, champagne is a must for any celebration.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

Collegiate pennants alert staff to your needs, such as “studying” as a “do not disturb”. Also, many travelers will be delighted that yes, you can bring your pet to Graduate Charlottesville. The teepee TP cover also gave us a laugh!

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

We also had the pleasure of dining at Heirloom, which is their rooftop bar and restaurant. Delicious!

The atmosphere is posh, and the views are lovely at the restaurant! I first tested out the Heirloom Whiskey Sour, which was both beautiful and tasty. I also have to say that the hostess, servers and staff were so pleasant and accommodating to perfect our dining experience.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel BlogOur Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

Our palates were delighted with the culinary artistry of Heirloom’s Chef Frank Paris. We ordered the Charcuterie & Cheese Board and Steak & Potatoes. Chef Paris also surprised us with his delicious rendition of a sweet potato souffle. Check out their menu here. I would also highly suggest the Chocolate Ganache Tart. We almost didn’t order it because we were already somewhat full, but it was a decision we definitely didn’t regret!

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel BlogOur Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel BlogOur Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

After a restful night at Graduate Charlottesville, we “fueled up” with in room coffee and then headed back up to Heirloom for brunch.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

We were greeted with delicious, fresh orange juice when we arrived. What a wonderful start to our morning!

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

I’ve never had a salad for breakfast, so I couldn’t resist starting off with the Kale Salad, which was so creative! If you look at the menu below, you will see that all of the ingredients – kale, avocado, green grapes, green onion, pistachio, lime and EVOO – are all green. What a creative combination of flavors that work so well together! I actually crave it every once in a while. So, so good.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

I also ordered Eggs in Purgatory, and my husband ordered Steak & Eggs. Chef Paris curated the menu himself, and everything was cooked and seasoned to perfection.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

I enjoyed photographing the rooftop restaurant during the daytime, and the outdoor space overlooks the town. What a lovely combination of spaces.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

If you are looking for a bit of a quick breakfast on the go, then Sheepdog Cafe near the lobby may be your go-to in the morning. What a fun atmosphere!

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

Of course, I checked out the wedding offerings of Graduate Charlottesville!

With its close proximity to UVA and shopping and on-site restaurants, wedding attendees would enjoy the overall experience that Graduate Charlottesville offers. Heirloom would also serve as a fabulous rehearsal dinner location. The hotel has a bridal suite for the wedding party to utilize to get ready (including a pretty rooftop lounge area) along with a lovely ballroom as a reception space.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel BlogOur Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel BlogOur Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

Here are a few photos from a styled wedding at Graduate Charlottesville by photographer Adrienne Eichner, which show off some of the wedding spaces at Graduate.

Charlottesville Virginia Graduate Hotel Styled Shoot | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding BlogCharlottesville Virginia Graduate Hotel Styled Shoot | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding BlogCharlottesville Virginia Graduate Hotel Styled Shoot | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Blog

As far as the community of Charlottesville goes…

On a personal note, when I was out of state recently, I was asked about Charlottesville and how things were for the community. After our visit, I do have to say that things are thriving, and you can see – and feel – the sense of unity in the city. But more than that, I encourage you to go and experience Charlottesville for yourself – and make a weekend of it! You’ll be glad you did.

Our Anniversary Weekend in Charlottesville, VA featuring Graduate Charlottesville | Hill City Bride Virginia Wedding Travel Blog

Craving more travel inspiration? Check out some of our other posts here.

Again, a special thanks goes out to Graduate Charlottesville for inviting us to stay and experience both the hotel and restaurant. They truly made our 23rd anniversary a special one! For more information about Graduate Charlottesville, just head here

  • Adrienne Eichner - Thank you so much for featuring our photos! I want to thank all the collaborators from The Graduate Hotel Charlottesville wedding styled shoot: Sealed with a Kiss, Andrew Minton Jewelers, Foxtail Cottage, Moxie Hair and Body Lounge, Chandler’s Bakery, Etamib Couture by Gwendolyn Wilson, MS Events, styled by Kaitlyn Hoy of KEH Designs, and Rock Paper Scissors.

  • Jennifer - Yes! It is such a beautiful place, and thank you for mentioning the others involved. <3

  • Lyssie - Happy anniversary! Charlottesville looks so cute and quaint. I love the book shops!

  • Jennifer - Yes! They have a few more, too. It’s a book lovers haven! <3

  • Alice Ford - First of all I would like to say that your website is adorable. I love the look and feel of it. It sounds like your stay was so great. The food at Heirloom’s looks like it was delicious and my mouth is watering just looking a that chocolate ganache cake. I am glad to hear that Charlottesville also is doing so well.

  • Jennifer - Aw, yes! I really appreciate you reading all of it. Cville is doing great (we just went there for a bit last weekend!), and thank you on the site. It’s fun to do. Thank you for stopping in! 🙂

  • Annemarie - I am so sad I had to skip Charlottesville on my trip down the Eastcoast. That shop Low really does look cute! I totally understand why you would wanna visit.

  • Harmony, Momma To Go - This little town looks so charming. I have to put my obnxious NY’er hat on – had no idea Charlottesville was so hip and cool! We just drove from NY to Fl and passed by signs for Charlottesville on the way! Love that hotel with the graduate theme and rooftop bar – plus HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

  • jin - what a unique way to spend an anniversary! loving the quaint and throwback vibes that charlottesville offers!

  • Jennifer - Thank you! It’s a great place. <3

  • Jennifer - AW, thank you! And Charlottesville is cooler than the town I live in. Ha! But I don’t know what city is more fab than NYC! <3

  • Jennifer - Low is my FAVORITE by far. And yes, make a stop in next time! <3

  • Weekend Haven - This is my kind of place! Charlottesville looks charming. I love thrift shops and paper stores, and everything rustic and pretty and this is just the place to be.

  • Jennifer - Thank you! It’s such a fabulous city. <3

  • Shivani - Woahh 23 years of marriage, congratulations!! I had no idea Charlottesville is so beautiful!! And those book stores, woo my kind of place 😀 I would also like to ride those cute bikes, and yes get a picture too 😉

  • Jennifer - Thank you! And yes – I feel old. Ha! But growing a life together is fun. <3

  • Valerie Hansen - Looks like an amazing weekend, Congrats on your 23rd, almost 30 for me! I saw your bio and I am also a huge lover of cats and travel!

    Thanks for sharing your story, my 30th anniv is in June..

    Valerie

  • Jennifer - Aw! Kitties are the best. Ha! And almost 30? Congrats!! <3

  • Georgia - Congrats on 23 years of marriage- what a milestone! The hotel looked like a lovely place to stay and I just love their concept of the ID cards for the rooms, how creative!
    Thanks for sharing what looked like a great celebration.

  • Jen - You got so much done! Congrats on your anniversary.

  • Jennifer - Thank you! Yes, it was a great time. <3

  • Jennifer - Thank you so much! <3

  • megan beaver - How fun! I love the vintage retro feel of the hotel. It’s amazing.

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