Progressive, charming, and set in a stunning expanse of the Blue Ridge Mountains just outside Shenandoah National Park, Charlottesville, Virginia is one of the prettiest places for a weekend getaway in the southern Mid-Atlantic region. It's famous as the home of the University of Virginia as well as the presidential homes (now museums) of Thomas Jefferson (Monticello) and James Monroe (Ash Lawn-Highland), with James Madison's Montpelier just a 40-minute drive away. This small city of about 44,000 is just an hour's drive from Virginia's capital city, Richmond, and a 2.5-hour drive from Washington, DC.
Charlottesville Shopping, Dining and Nightlife
Charlottesville has a handsome, tree-shaded pedestrian area known as the Downtown Mall, which abounds with great restaurants, cool cafes, lively nightspots, and interesting shops, and you'll find a number of other gay-friendly hangouts throughout the area.
Charlottesville's other gay hangout is a private club, Impulse (1417 N. Emmet St.), which although members-only does welcome nonmembers, but there are fees involved, and you must apply first online. The annual cost is $50, or $10 for a monthly membership. You can ask at the door or contact the club (email@example.com) for more details if you're just visiting briefly.