Is there any place more fun than a really great garden center? Sunnyboy Gardens couldn't be more different from your average big-box retailer that happens to carry a few mums. Not only does Sunnyboy have one of the best selections of annual herbs I've ever seen, they also have lots of flowers - annual and perennial - and shrubs that simply aren't found in more mainstream sources. Add in a really cool little shop filled with all manner of finds (tomato-scented perfume!?) and you've got the makings for a really wonderful stop for any garden enthusiast.
There are few businesses as notorious in Charlottesville as Lethal Wrecker. Repeatedly reported for not relinquishing towed autos for the agreed upon fees (adding additional costs at arrival to the destination) and charging in excess of state-regulated fees, Lethal lately has been the target of investigations and lawsuits and recently agreed to refund some of its ill-gotten profits back to gauged clients.
At least until recently, Lethal was a AAA tower. If in need of towing, I recommend any AAA customer calling for assistance to specify that Lethal is NOT welcome. I recommend all motorists to "stear clear" whenever possible.
The King Family Winery's setting is truly astonishing - incredible views, a lovely polo field, attractive tasting room (offering cold bottles and picnic fixings) and a beautiful arbored patio that's perfect for a snack or full meal - matched to your newly purchased wine, of course!
The wines themselves are much better than average for Virginia wines and there is a welcome minimal emphasis on ancillary gift shop offerings. And while there is little within the small tasting room to amuse the under-age, a generously sized lawn leading out to the barn adjacent to the patio gives little ones plenty of safe space to run and play while the adults have a drink at one of the picnic tables.
The stables are occasionally open for walk through, with horses either in residence or out in the fields. During the late spring and throughout the summer, polo matches are played on Sundays - a very interesting and unusual diversion. Definitely worth a visit!
Village Playhouse is a nice place to take a young toddler on a rainy day (kids older than, say, two-and-a-half might find not enough to stay engaged). With tyke-sized wooden playgear and plenty of space to play and a comfy seating area for snuggling, nursing, reading or snacking, it's a little like being at home but with a jungle gym inside!
Coffee, tea and light snacks are available for purchase and the playing fees are minimal - certainly less than many family amusement centers (which aren't necessarily geared toward small children anyway). Well worth a look.
Kids Kaboodle is one of the few (if not the only) childrens' clothing consignment ships in Charlottesville. As a result, perhaps, there is little incentive for the owners/management to produce the kind of fun shopping experience it might in the presence of competition.
The store is crammed full, with difficult-to-navigate racks in very close quarters. Ironically, it is nearly impossible to shop Kids Kabdoole with children in tow - although how many parents get a lot of solo shopping time? And, since there are no returns, shopping without the kids to reference for sizing could produce minimal success. And there's little among the staff that indicates a particular interest in or warmth towards children - an odd thing given the nature of the store.
For consigners, the policies aren't terribly different from Kids Kaboodle's peers in other towns. Fees, consignment length and other rules are fairly standard.
Overall, Kids Kaboodle is worth a stop. Even for the hassles, shopping there is one way to amass a lovely wardrobe one's children for minimal expense.
Kathryn Cook's entire practice and office are set up to make dental health accessible and non-scary for little ones. The dental chairs are pint-sized so as to not overwhelm, personnel are clothes in brightly colored and cheery scrubs, and small televisions show the most popular kid movies to distract from the discomforts of the probing and prodding. And it goes without saying that polish comes in lots of yummy flavors!
Parents are allowed to sit nearby and hold Junior's hand while the cleaning progresses in a common room with a handful of chairs. More involved procedures take place in private rooms. Everyone is gentle, cheery and comforting and the whole experience is designed to keep everyone calm and (reasonably happy), from the toys in the waiting room to the murals lining the walls to the goodie bags full of stickers and other surprises at the conclusion of the visit.
Definitely a recommended provider for kids - who may never love going to the "tooth doctor" but at least may be spared the fear with which many grow up.
Barboursville is a must-stop on any area wine tour. The setting is absolutely stunning, and perfect for picnic, between the winery building itself and the easy access to the Barboursville ruins (the grounds of which may be walked).
The tasting building is quite impressive, and consists of two main areas - the tasting room and the ever-present winery shop. The shop's wares aren't all that interesting, but the historical photos and documents lining the walls make it worthwhile to take a look around.
Families with small children will be pleased to find a table set with coloring supplies to amuse the little ones while parents taste.
Burnley Vineyards is well worth a stop on any "wine trail" outing or trips up to other sights in and around Barboursville. The tasting room is generously sized and as many as 20 wines seem to be available for tasting on any given day. Apple cider is offered to the under-aged, in a nice gesture to alleviate impatience among those not trying the offerings.
As in many other wineries around, the tasting room doubles as a gift shop, with many wine-related lifestyle items on offer. There's nothing particularly new or unique, but it's fun to look all the same.
I've never seen so many fabulous wools and flosses as in The Needle Lady! The store is a wonderland of fiber fun! There are also very interesting canvasses and patterns and an ethusiast could spend hours pouring over the options for the next project.
Lessons in various needlework and knitting technique are periodically offered and highly recommended. The staff can sometimes be a little prickly with beginners, but only because their passion is so strong. The Needle Lady is a must-stop for all fiber artists - you won't regret it!
We met Dr. Ogan just after the birth of our daughter in 2004. He was the call pediatrician in the hospital and performed her first exam. After speaking with him, we were so impressed with him that we immediately switched pediatricians to his practice. We've never looked back.
Dr. Ogan makes housecalls for sick kids, and babies' first visits are also conducted at home. He gives vaccinations himself, not hiding behind staff for such important work. Well visits are not rushed, with plenty of time for talk of milestones and questions. Dr. Ogan is also supportive of many approaches to parenting and is able to offer information and advice that addresses a range of beliefs and convictions.
All pediatricians should be as warm, welcoming and supportive of both children and parents. If there were ten stars, I'd gladly award them to Dr. Ogan.