Spring is here, and that means people are stepping out of their homes to enjoy the fresh air, outdoor social gatherings, and the inexplicable beauty that is Charlottesville in the springtime.
From gazing upon blooming cherry blossoms to attending lively local events, there is an abundance of activities for seniors in Charlottesville.
Try Programs at The Center
The Center at Belvedere supports healthy aging for seniors in Charlottesville through extensive programming and community events. Their vibrant activities calendar includes game nights, financial wellness talks, performing and fine arts classes, health and fitness classes, lifelong learning opportunities, support groups, and much more. Almost as exciting as their activities calendar is the Greenberry’s Coffee Co. located on the property!
Membership to The Center is open to anyone ages 50 and up. Prospective members are welcome to visit The Center by appointment to determine if a membership is right for them. In fact, it’s just a five-minute drive from Branchlands, making it an easy shuttle ride away!
Tour Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
When praising Charlottesville’s many attractions, it is impossible to forget Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Built in 1772, this historic landmark is a must-see destination for students and seniors alike. Regarding accessibility, the house’s volunteers do all they can to ensure that visitors of all ages have a pleasant experience.
Most of the house and grounds are wheelchair accessible, including the Smith Education Center and the David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center, where visitors can borrow wheelchairs on a first-come, first-served basis. With this accessibility, seniors of all fitness levels can tour the third president’s home and appreciate the property’s birds-eye view of the city.
Tour tickets are available for sale online. Due to the popularity of this venue, advance purchase is recommended.
Visit Jefferson-Madison Regional Library
Nothing beats the feeling of cracking open a good book! Jefferson-Madison Regional Library is an integral part of Charlottesville’s literary culture, serving a population of over 200,000 residents with eight physical locations and a Bookmobile. The library’s Northside location is just a five-minute drive from Branchlands!
Library users have access to combined holdings of 500,000 items, plus online databases, and downloadable books. With so many welcoming spots to read at Branchlands—plus our large collection of books shared amongst residents—it’s no surprise that the library is a popular outing for our community members.
The library offers a full calendar of programs that are accessible to seniors, including book clubs, chair yoga, and stitching classes. Programs offerings vary online and in-person. For more information about upcoming events, visit the library’s Adult Programs page.
Attend Tuesday Evening Concert Series
Fine music enthusiasts will love this weekly classical concert series. Hosted at the University of Virginia, Tuesday Evening Concert Series is one of the country’s finest presenting organizations. From classical music’s biggest names to rising stars in the field, the auditorium has a history of hosting talented performers, including pianist Natasha Paremski and the Arod Quartet.
Tuesday Evening Concert Series is held at 7:30 PM on select Tuesdays from October to April at Cabell Hall Auditorium. Tickets can be reserved on their website.
Learn from Scholars at the University of Virginia
For the academically inclined, one of the best parts of living in Charlottesville is the proximity to the University of Virginia (UVA). UVA is an intellectual hub for academics to share their outstanding breadth and depth of knowledge with the greater Charlottesville community. From season to season, there is always something new to learn at UVA.
The University’s virtual calendar is bustling with academic lectures, art exhibits, performances, movie screenings, and workshops. For more immersive, semester-long experiences, seniors can register for short courses, lectures, and events through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).
Taste the Fruits of Virginia Wine Country
Inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s vision of winemaking and grape harvesting, the Charlottesville area is home to dozens of award-winning wineries and vineyards. Virginia Wine Country is characterized by its rich history, jaw-dropping views of the lush Blue Ridge Mountains, and of course, the wine itself.
There are far too many vineyards to name, but to start with a few accessible vineyards, seniors are sure to love Jefferson Vineyards, Veritas Vineyard and Winery, and White Hall Vineyards.
The Monticello Wine Trail is a wonderful resource for those looking to explore the area’s fruitful wine scene. To ease your search for the perfect winery, the Monticello Wine Trail Passport gives detailed directions and specifications for each location.
Visit Exhibits at McGuffey Art Center
The McGuffey Art Center is one of Charlottesville’s many non-profit arts organizations. The difference between McGuffey and its counterparts, however, is its distinction as one of the country’s oldest artist-run co-operative art centers. Founded in 1975, the exhibit proudly boasts nearly 50 years of artistic service to the Charlottesville community.
McGuffey features forty studios, three galleries, and a gift shop. Upon arriving, visitors are charmed by the extensive collection of locally made art, as well as the unique opportunity to observe works in progress! The Center is handicap accessible and is open six days a week with no admission fee.
Shop the Historic Downtown Mall
Widely regarded as one of the nation’s most beautiful and successful pedestrian malls, Charlottesville’s Historic Downtown Mall is home to a wide selection of local restaurants, cafes, and stores to shop through. Restauranteurs will find food of all kinds, from Southern fare at The Whiskey Jar to diner food at The Nook and fine dining at C&O Restaurant.
This brick-paved area is handicap accessible and frequently visited by the Branchlands Concierge Shuttle. Residents walk the Downtown Mall as many as [number] times each month!
Explore the Paramount Theater
The Paramount Theater is a hallmark of Charlottesville. Built in 1931, visitors are left speechless by the venue’s Greek Revival-influenced façade, delicate detailing, and overall grandeur.
The versatile theater is home to art performances and community gatherings alike. Each month, its activities calendar boasts historical tours of the building, movies showings, live performances, and annual series like the Virginia Film Festival and the Virginia Festival of the Book.
Tickets for Paramount Theater’s upcoming events are available for sale online. While tours of the theater are free of charge, it is recommended that visitors reserve tickets in advance. Branchlands residents may even plan to tour the theater during one of our group outings at the Mall!
Admire Nature at Mint Springs
Located a mere 25 minutes away from Branchlands, Crozet’s Mint Springs Valley Park is a 520-acre plot of land with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A day trip to this peaceful park is a must-do for outdoor enthusiasts. The lakes are wheelchair accessible and stocked with trout for fishing from October to June, plus there are plenty of trails for hiking.
The park also has reservable picnic shelters for group outings. These shaded areas are wonderful spots to host a cookout during the warmer months. In fact, Branchlands residents visited Mint Springs in April of 2021 to admire the Blue Ridge’s natural beauty!
At Branchlands Senior Living Community, opportunities to explore the surrounding Charlottesville area are woven into daily life. Residents enjoy easy access to all that the city has to offer with our concierge shuttle service, as well as with frequent group outings.
For more information about how Branchlands residents live life to the fullest in beautiful Charlottesville, schedule a visit or take a virtual tour of our independent living and assisted living communities.