To schedule a free walking tour led by an informed guide or to coordinate a group tour, contact Councilman Dan Gritsko by email or at 434-286-9286.
36 Hours in Scottsville
Fuel your day with a simple country breakfast at Lumpkin’s Restaurant, the unofficial town hall of Scottsville for decades. Virginia Lumpkin moved to Scottsville at the age of 18 and today, at age 89, still regularly greets customers and buses tables in her family restaurant.
Then, head down to the Scottsville Museum to see the town’s history come alive. Watch a video uncovering why the signature “horseshoe bend” shape in the James River exists. See artifacts from the early native cultures that farmed the area before settlers built the town you see today. You’ll hear stories of the floods that threatened the town’s very existence for centuries.
Next, take a guided or self-guided tour of the Scottsville Historic District. Scottsville has developed a tour for most every interest and age: Civil War history, Architecture, Stories from the Floods and Fires, Ghosts and Mysteries, and the Westward Dream of the James River and Kanawha Canal. Trained interpreters can lead you on any of these tours, or you can go at your own pace with one of our printed guides.
When it comes time for lunch, there are a handful of locally owned restaurants from which to choose, all in historic downtown. From a casual pizza or burger to chef’s special entrees, select the establishment that fits your taste! Most restaurants serve wine and beer from our local producers, Thistle Gate Vineyards, Blenheim Vineyards and James River Brewery.
Walk up the street to learn how that local beer was made at James River Brewery, located in an old tobacco warehouse. Continue your exploration with a short drive to local wineries such as Trump Winery (yes, owned by THE Donald!), Dave Matthews’ Blenheim Vineyards or the brand new Thistle Gate Vineyard. There, you will taste award-winning wines, learn about the art of wine-making in Virginia and even perhaps meet the winemakers.
After a long day of exploring, come rest your feet and mind in the peaceful surroundings of one of our local inns or bed and breakfasts. Whether you’re looking for a view of the James, a French country retreat or historic charm, Scottsville’s innkeepers look forward to hosting you for the night!
Ask your innkeeper for dinner suggestions that match your palette – from farm-to-table to high French cuisine to local BBQ!
If you’re feeling social, head out to one of Scottsville’s music venues for local Bluegrass, Americana, Folk or Rock tunes. Area musicians play several times each week.
After breakfast with your local innkeeper, start your day on the right foot by exploring the Scottsville Community Farmers’ Market, which features local, fresh organic produce and handmade goods. You’ll find classic offerings and the unexpected, all produced on farms just a few miles away.
Then, head north to see a hidden gem of the area. Few people know that Teddy Roosevelt’s wife bought him a presidential retreat nearby, called Pine Knot. This small hunting cabin located between Scottsville and Charlottesville can be viewed by appointment. Learn about Roosevelt’s quieter personal moments here.
Then, for contrast, head on up to Monticello, the home of President Thomas Jefferson and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Although Jefferson is best remembered as the author of the Declaration of Independence, he was also scholar, writer, scientist, architect and most definitely, an epicurean – among others, he is credited with bringing the first wine in America, as well as macaroni and cheese!
After walking around the Monticello property, you will have worked up an appetite. There’s a small café at the new visitor’s center there to grab lite fare. If you’re hungrier and up for more history, though, stop in at Michie Tavern Ca. 1784 for a traditional 18th century lunch (including the best fried chicken in the area), catered by staff dressed in period costume.
After a busy morning, it sounds like a good time to relax! In the Spring, Summer and Fall, enjoy a canoe, kayak or tube float on the James River. Guided or self-guided tours are available, as are fishing trips and wildlife tours. If you’re a flatlander, enjoy hiking trails at Totier Creek Park or take a shorter stroll along the Downtown Levee Walk to people watch as you stretch your legs. For indoor activities, wander through several of our local antique dealers to bring a piece of history home.
As the day comes to an end, you can trade your cozy bed in for a night at one of our Scottsville-area campgrounds if you prefer the smell of campfire during the season. All year-round, Scottsville’s small town atmosphere means you can always ask a local for dinner or music suggestions.
Brief History of Scottsville, Virginia
In 1744, men gathered on Edward Scott’s farm on the banks of the James River to set up Central Virginia’s first court and jail. One of those men was the father of young Thomas Jefferson, Peter. Jefferson, Scott and their peers formed the first government of Albemarle County in what we now call Scottsville, Virginia. As the northernmost point on the James River, it was a promising location for travel and commerce. These men had no idea that one of the country’s most influential universities would be formed just a few miles north, that the flames of the Civil War would scorch the town or that thousands of people would find a retreat in the area for its beauty and culture.
Today, history and community still thrive in the tiny town of Scottsville, Virginia today, almost 270 years later. A small town of 550 residents, Scottsville boasts a role in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, as well as a wholly unique place in the history of river commerce of the Commonwealth. At a certain time, many of the goods traded in Virginia flowed through Scottsville on the Kanawha Canal. Well-preserved Greek Revival, Colonial and Craftsman stores, churches and homes earned the town a place on the National Register of Historic Places as the “Scottsville Historic District.”
The same stunning views, abundant organic farms, peaceful bed and breakfasts, day hikes and local wineries and breweries that draw visitors to Charlottesville and Albemarle County surround historic downtown Scottsville, as well. Located at the southern end of Albemarle County on the banks of the James River, Scottsville is only 20 minutes south of Charlottesville and is easily accessed from other major cities in the area. Visitors say they love the true change of pace of a weekend on the banks of the James.