Have It Both Ways at The Clifton

April 24th, 2024

Center yourself in this Charlottesville getaway

The Clifton manor house with two dogs running in front

If your travel dreams include a relaxing stay at a quiet inn as well as a destination that offers plenty to do, those dreams can both come true at The Clifton in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The 20-room inn and restaurant seems to be a forested oasis in the middle of nowhere. Bright, white historic buildings are surrounded by tasteful landscaping, gardens, and pastoral views, a small lake, pools, and porches, with Monticello Mountain in the distance. But it’s an easy drive to outdoor recreation and cultural opportunities.

Kick back at The Clifton

The colonial-style manor house was built in 1799 for Thomas Jefferson’s daughter and her husband, Martha and Thomas Mann Randolph.

A couple roasting marshmallows at a fire pit in front of the Clifton manor houseBeginning in 2018, the estate was redesigned in chic contemporary style while retaining its historic style. Not only was the manor house designed with seven rooms to host overnight guests, it was also equipped with a full restaurant kitchen, a wine cellar, comfortable dining area, and cozy bar.

Other buildings were updated to offer other creative and comfy accommodations, too. The Collina Farmhouse has five bedrooms and private bathrooms, shared living room, dining room and porches, and a full kitchen for self-serve meals. The farmhouse can be booked for family group getaways.

Five additional rooms in the Garden cottages and three in the livery stable blend rustic bones like exposed ceiling beams with unique modern features and comfort.

The Clifton also offers select dog friendly rooms, so you don’t have to leave Fido at home.

Updated amenities on the grounds include an infinity pool and hot tub, and outdoor features include a private lake, walking trails, a croquet lawn and sprawling gardens that include a Chef’s garden for the restaurant.

food at 1799 restaurant at The Clifton, Charlottesville, VA

1799 Restaurant and Copper Bar serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner on site.

The Clifton’s culinary team is led by Michelin-starred executive chef Matthew Bousquet. Bousquet owned the acclaimed Mirepoix Restaurant in California. Here in Charlottesville, he incorporates classical French training with local Virginia products, including plenty from The Clifton property.

Dishes showing the cosmopolitan breadth of the menu include Virginia peanut mousse appetizer, pancetta wrapped trout, carrot and pea pappardelle, roasted chicken and panzanella, steak au poivre, red wine poached pears, and chocolate lava cake.

The Clifton, 1296 Clifton Inn Drive, Charlottesville

If you pull yourself away from The Clifton

Charlottesville is between Virginia’s Piedmont foothills and the Blue Ridge Mountains. As home to the University of Virginia, it also boasts a cultural opportunities as well as the shopping, food, and drink that are part of a vibrant city.

Outdoor recreation

The region offers both easy foot and bike paths and challenging rides and hikes. Highlights include:

  • Closest to The Clifton: The graveled Saunders-Monticello Trail stretches from Kemper Park to Monticello, through native hardwood forests, with unpaved spur trails, boardwalks, and a scenic overlook.
  • Rivanna Trail offers more than 20 miles of mostly flat mixed surface that circumvents the city.
  • The Crozet Connector Trail goes to Lickinghole Basin, a popular birding site, through forests and grasslands.


A couple drinking wine and looking out over the mountains at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, Virginia
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

The Monticello AVA (American Viticultural Area) won Wine Region of the Year in Wine Enthusiast’s 2023 Wine Star Awards, so you’re assured to find quality wines. Better yet, the wineries are surrounded by Blue Ridge beauty. You can choose from nearly 50 wineries in the region. Highlights include:

  • Closest to The Clifton: Jefferson Vineyards
  • Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
  • Gabriele Rausse Winery
  • Hazy Mountain Vineyards & Brewery
  • Veritas Vineyard & Winery
  • Barboursville Vineyards


Possibly the best-known Charlottesville resident is the fourth U.S. president, Thomas Jefferson, who also founded the University of Richmond. Historic site highlights include:

  • Closest to The Clifton: Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home and plantation, tells the story of the founding father, his scholarship and architecture, and his conflicted feelings on slavery. It also examines the stories of the enslaved people who lived and worked there, including the Hemings family.
  • Jefferson School African American Heritage Center showcases the powerful history of Blacks in and around Charlottesville.
  • Rotunda and Central Grounds of the University, where you can take in the architecture and history of the original “Academical Village” of the university.

Shopping and dining

For one-stop access to creative shops, eclectic dining, entertainment venues, and art galleries. creative shops, eclectic dining, entertainment venues, and art galleries, go to Charlottesville’s pedestrian-friendly Downtown Mall.

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