If you’re looking for a wedding venue with distinctive character, a historic building or estate can be just the right touch. Your guests will imagine the love stories of a bygone era as you surround yourself with the romance of the past. Of course, it’s important to choose a well-maintained venue that includes a few modern comforts. Below are some of the best historic venues within a short drive of Charlottesville, vetted by our experienced team of wedding planners.
The Lafayette Inn & Restaurant
Established in 1840, this historic landmark once welcomed stage coach travelers en route between the central Piedmont and the Shenandoah Valley. The building served as a Civil War hospital and later became home to the first local telephone exchange and the local newspaper.
Colonnaded porches surround the red brick walls of the three-story Federalist structure. The rooms are filled with natural light, antique furnishings, and numerous fireplaces. It’s a boutique wedding venue ideal for intimate weddings or larger groups.
146 East Main Street, Stanardsville, VA www.thelafayette.com
America’s fifth president, James Monroe, lived at Highland with his family from 1799 to 1823. His daughter Eliza was married on the estate in 1808. Recent archeological work on the estate continues to uncover new details about the president’s life.
The extensive grounds feature a choice of locations for your ceremony and reception. Popular spots include the Hilltop Pavilion, surrounded by rolling hills and mountain views; the rustic Event Barn, with indoor seating for up to 150 guests; and John’s Garden, an elegant floral and herb garden adjacent to the historic Presidential Guest House.
2050 James Monroe Parkway, Charlottesville, VA highland.org
The “High Mountain” commands sweeping views in every direction, encompassing Monticello as well as the City of Charlottesville and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Thomas Jefferson acquired 483 acres on Montalto in 1777, during the same time period that he built Monticello.
Charlottesville’s most famous architect never built any structures on Montalto, but in 1908, the owners at that time built “Repose,” an 11,000-square-foot American Country house. The house was carefully restored by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in 2011 and now merges state-of-the-art technology with the warmth and elegance of the home’s original design elements.
1400 Mountain Top Farm, Charlottesville, VA www.monticello.org/site/visit/montalto-overlooking-monticello-home-robert-h-smith-center
The Tavern’s original proprietor, William Michie, signed the Albemarle Declaration of Independence in 1779. His upstairs Assembly Room served as a political and social gathering spot for the surrounding countryside. In 1927, the building was painstakingly moved 17 miles from its original location to the foot of Carter’s Mountain, where it became accessible to tourists visiting Monticello.
A taste of the 18th century awaits you, with servers in period attire ready to recreate the ambiance of a country inn. Guests may take a guided tour of the historic building before enjoying a Southern buffet in the candlelit dining rooms.
683 Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Charlottesville, VA www.michietavern.com