This weekend, I moved from my apartment of 3 years to the downtown area of Charlottesville. It's been pretty hectic but I'm starting to feel somewhat settled, and have spent a couple nights in my new abode. It's a one bedroom apartment, located a block off the Downtown Mall - a central pedestrian street lined with restaurants and stores.
Exploring the Downtown Mall the past few days has been a great adventure. It is SO convenient to my apartment - literally a two minute walk, with no climbing over railroad tracks necessary, a la my previous apartment! The mall can be described in numerous ways. At its best, the mall is compared to a European city, as all of the restaurants have areas with plenty of outdoor seating. It can also be described as a people-watcher's dream. Or a fast walker's nightmare (That's me, the girl from New York pushing people out of the way). There are all kinds of people that wander the mall - my favorites being the friday night high school scene and the preschool classes that you'll catch walking hand in hand in a long line. There are musicians (some good, some bad), fortune tellers, pashmina salespeople, and everything else you can imagine. It's quite eclectic. Odd, yet amusing.
The restaurants on the mall will really be a highlight of living down here. Already since moving on Friday I've been to Eppie's for lunch, Java Java for breakfast (and for their internet...haven't gotten that hooked up yet!), and Ten for dinner. All are just a minute's walk, and absolutely delicious. There's some stat about Charlottesville having the most restaurants per capita of any town in the US. It could be a rumor spread among first year students, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were true. There are a lot of restaurants, and a lot on the Mall. Good news is, many of them are actually good restaurants!
I've been living in Charlottesville for four years now, and it still boggles my mind. There are so many great things about this city, but so many really odd things. Like gourmet gas stations. Or the creepy, corrupt towing business. Or the unbelievably counterintuitive traffic patterns. But I love the fact that if you drive in any direction for more than 10 or 15 minutes, you can suddenly find cows. "Oh right, I live in Central Virginia," you remind yourself every time this happens. I feel like I've gotten to know the town pretty well at this point, but I'm really excited to see what its like as a non-Corner-dweller. As hard as it may be, I'm definitely ready to avoid the Virginian and attempt to live like a real Charlottesvillian. "Well," I can say, "I live downtown, right by the mall." Very hip. Or wannabe European.