Before releasing a beautiful rainbow trout into the Moorman’s River, Helen
smiles knowing the casting practice paid off.
The warm atmosphere of The Local is an inviting place to celebrate the
area’s abundant supply of agricultural products.
Loren Anne Barnett—
CBF’s Director of Creative
Services and Editor of Save
the Bay magazine—grew up
on Maryland’s Severn River.
level the mountaintop at this site. Over the
next forty years, Jefferson designed, built,
redesigned, and expanded the home and
cultivated many flower and vegetable gardens. He loved it here, asking, “dear
Monticello, where has nature spread so rich
a mantle under the eye?”
Monticello Mountain was a botanical laboratory for Thomas Jefferson. He was a revolutionary gardener, experimenting constantly and recording his trials, errors, and
successes like a scientist in his famous
Garden Book. The resulting gardens were a
source of food and a showcase of ornamental and useful plants from around the world.
Monticello’s eight-acre “fruitery,” as
Jefferson called it, included a 400-tree
orchard and two small vineyards. His two-acre vegetable garden, where he systematically eliminated inferior species, included
Italian broccoli, Mexican peppers, and
English peas. Referencing the diet these
gardens provided, Jefferson said, “I have
lived temperately, eating little animal food,
and that . . . as a condiment for the vegetables, which constitute my principal diet.”
Jefferson designed other areas of the mountain for show. The extensive flower gardens
were restored between 1939 and 1941 by
the Garden Club of Virginia using Jefferson’s
sketches. The 18-acre “grove” was maintained with lofty shade trees trimmed high
to create open ground. Jefferson enjoyed
touring visitors around Monticello
Mountain. And, the trees must have been a
favorite, having been referred to by a guest
as Jefferson’s “pets.”
Jefferson would be pleased to know that
450,000 guests tour Monticello every year.
Having enjoyed our time, we left the
grounds in a light drizzle for more
On our way across town, we made a quick
stop downtown for some peach cobbler at
Eppie’s, which was highly recommended by
a few locals. The rest of the locals must have
thought it was a good idea as well because
it was sold out when we arrived. Helen and
I, the cobbler’s virtues confirmed, vowed to
try again next time.
We had one more stop downtown: the
Freedom of Speech Wall in front of
Charlottesville’s City Hall. The monument
consists of a 54-foot-long slate wall, one segment inscribed with the text of the First
Amendment. The remaining square footage is
available for expression in chalk. We added a
quick “Save the Bay!” and snapped a photo.
From there, we drove to the northwest side
of town to meet our fly fishing guide,
Carson Oldham, at his store, the Albemarle
Angler. After being suited with waders and
boots, the three of us boarded Carson’s van
and headed a few miles into the countryside. In the valley of Sugar Hollow Farm,
we approached the store’s leased stretch of
Carrying our gear, we walked along a path
paralleling the river. Several cows meandered with us through acres of buttercups
shaded by widely space trees. Before reaching “the spot,” Carson schooled each of us
until we got the rhythm of casting. From
there we made a wide arc away from the
river, Carson now whispering so as not to
scare the stocked rainbow trout, which he
pointed out as we walked.
Taking turns, Helen and I each spent time
in the river aiming to land our flies in an
imaginary three-foot circle on the river’s
surface. Remembering all the steps remind-
ed me of trying to revise my golf swing after
Like golf, I found fly fishing addictive,
always wanting to get my fly right back in
the target. Success was sweet. We each
caught three of the most beautiful fish.
Carson credited our new skills and the continued rain. We learned how to handle the
trout with the utmost care, and all were
Hunger setting in, Helen and I headed back
into town for dinner at The Local. Owner
Adam Frazier and Chef Matthew Hart make
the most of the abundant agriculture in the
area, serving local meats, produce, cheeses,
wines, and beers. Their closest supplier, Ed
Hasley, grows vegetables across the back
alley in the high-yield urban garden behind
his house. Occasionally, Hart has knocked
on Hasley’s door during dinner service to
buy additional tomatoes straight off the vine.
We enjoyed our last hour in Charlottesville,
surrounded by The Local’s warm atmosphere of exposed brick and beams. We
sampled local cheeses and fresh bread.
Helen loved the organic burger and I was
delighted with my stuffed roasted local
acorn squash. It was the perfect end to our
time in Charlottesville.
As we recounted our visit, I imagined the
tomatoes in my dish growing out back in
the alley and felt a bit Jeffersonian.