Top 6 Places to Find a Unique Souvenir from Charlottesville, Virginia
When it’s time for check-outs and goodbyes at Foxfield Inn, we sometimes wonder how our guests will remember their time in Charlottesville, Virginia. Will they look at a photo of themselves taken with a mountainous backdrop and laugh over a shared joke? Maybe they will try to recreate a meal they enjoyed together or search for a bottle of that favorite new wine they tasted while visiting. Or maybe when they unpack their suitcases back at home they’ll unwrap a little souvenir, adding it to a collection of tokens from other travels on a favorite bookshelf or fireplace mantle.
Whether you’re looking for a special piece to add to your personal travel collection, a gift for a friend or neighbor, or want to get a jump on your holiday shopping, we’ve scoped out some of the best places to purchase unique pieces of art from local Charlottesville artists and artisans.
Located in the Barracks Road North Wing shops, this relatively new establishment offers a unique selection of pieces. From one-of-a-kind wood furniture and serveware to handcrafted soaps and candles to creative jewelry, greeting cards, and bags, the Artisans Market offers plenty to look at. They also feature a collection of leather goods and textiles from Morocco, as well as traditional Polish pottery. I just couldn’t leave without this divine-smelling goat’s milk soap and an adorable illustrated card–perfect for an upcoming wedding.
Just a short drive from the inn, The Barn Swallow is a lovely, well, barn, dated to the early 1800s that is just as beautiful to admire as the goods it houses inside. In a word: enchanting. Wandering through the gardens to the main entrance and through each of the three rooms will peak your curiosity amid displays of pottery, wood turning, linens, soaps, greeting cards, and more. The stars of the show are Janice Arone and Mary Ann Burk, the co-owners, whose pottery and ceramics are prominently displayed throughout the shop. The work of other local artists reflect a shared a love of nature. Oh, and keep an eye out for the friendly shop cat!
A mainstay of the Downtown Mall, and famous for its mosaic “sofa” outside the shop, C’ville Arts is a cooperative gallery featuring the work of dozens of Charlottesville artists. We are especially drawn to the brilliant photographs of Ben Greenberg and Jack Cacciatore, but also enjoy perusing the work of new artists as well. The displays rotate seasonally as the artists’ work changes, and often you’ll find that “the artist is in!” meaning you can meet one of the featured artists at the store. You’ll also find unique pottery, paintings and prints, jewelry, textiles, ornaments and bobbles, journals, and more.
A quick peek in the window at Vivian’s will have you itching to go inside. Dozens of handblown glass ornaments, vases, bowls, and figurines catch the light from the front windows, effortlessly capturing the imagination. Part of the Artisan Network Trail, Vivian’s features the work of over 30 local artists, plus another 100-some additional artists. Wander towards the back of the store for some truly interesting pieces for the home – lamps, wall hooks, and mirrors – and for you – scarves, shirts, belts, and jewelry. Before you leave, make sure to glance upwards – the dazzling mobiles hanging from the ceiling are truly remarkable.
Held each Saturday morning April through October (and with a holiday market beginning November 23 this year), the City Market is not just for farmers. Check out this post about unique things to find from the Market artisans to add to your collection. Handmade teas, ceramics, wood carvings, jewelry, blankets, and even dog treats await you.
Dying my own silk scarf at the Crozet Arts&Crafts Festival! (Photo credit: N.K., 2013, used with permission)
Okay, we have to expand our definition of “local” for this one. Twice a year, in nearby Claudius Crozet Park, dozens of juried artisans (both local, and from up and down the Eastern seaboard) gather to sell their wares. Potters, painters, and candlestick makers display their pieces alongside jewelry makers, woodworkers, and even silk scarf dyers. If you like variety and want to personally speak with the artist from whom you are purchasing, or just want to browse for inspiration, you won’t want to miss this festival, held this fall October 12-13.
If you’d like to be inspired watching these artists at work, be sure to mark your calendar for the 2013 Artisans Studio Tour on November 9-10 for a truly hands-on experience.
We can’t wait to hear about the unique treasures you find while shopping for the perfect memento of Charlottesville! Let us know how else we at Foxfield Inn can make your stay memorable. See you soon!
Your Innkeepers, Dan & Kathryn Bundy Foxfield Inn A Charlottesville, VA Bed Breakfast