$4 off Michie Tavern lunch for Virginia residents - link to coupon below!
Just down the road from Monticello, this historic tavern and attraction is a delight. A restored, 18th century tavern and inn offering unique tours, eclectic gifts and colonial-themed memorabilia, and authentic colonial fare served by costumed tavern “wenches.”
When you live in a tourist area and have relatives and friends come to visit, it’s sometimes a chore to have to visit the same sights over and over again.
|They even let you dress up in colonial garb!|
Not Michie Tavern. The tour is chock full of fascinating historical tidbits, each docent brings a slightly different perspective to the tour, and we always learn something new. So repeat visits would never be a chore for us, even if we had to pay admission (which we don’t, since we’re local residents…yep, local residents get the tour for free).
Michie Tavern was established in 1784 by William Michie, a Scotsman, and provided weary travelers with food, drink, and lodging. An excellent example of Colonial Revival architecture, the tavern was actually built 17 miles from its present location (but was moved in 1927).
You start the tour on the tavern porch with a refreshing cup of punch--made with strawberries, lemon, and mint—served by a costumed tavern “wench” (which was not a derogatory term, but just meant “waitress”). For the kids, they have a basket of colonial hats and costumes they can put on to get in the mood.
On to the tavern room, where the costumed guide (ours wore the full outfit, complete with mob cap, laced up bodice and wide skirt…and crocs!) regales you with fascinating facts. Guests bought everything a la carte: you paid for candles by the inch, rented a pipe or playing cards by the hour, and paid for an overnight stay based on the comfort level.
|Getting ready for our tour of Michie Tavern.|
Although they had two bedrooms, only the wealthy used them (and rarely alone). Most people just rented floor space…or for a bit more money, slept sitting up on ridiculously narrow benches. To make more room, they would take the chairs in the room and hang them on the chair rail—a rail on the wall about eye height with hooks.
I could keep going telling you more facts, but I don’t want to ruin your Michie Tavern tour. Let’s just say you’ll see a total of four rooms—the tavern, the main bedroom, the dancing hall upstairs (where the guide may teach you a colonial dance), and the serving room. (In the dancing hall, be sure to ask the guide to show you the baby bottle and explain why it was so deadly.)
|What's a toe-stir?|
Here’s just one thing you’ll see in the serving room: the “toe-stir.” They would put slices on bread in the slot, then push it near the fire using the handle. After a few minutes, they would turn the slot portion around with their toe so that the other side faced the fire to toast…hence, the “toe-stir.”
You’ll then end up in the tavern gift shop, where you can buy really unique items, include embossed tea blocks , decorative plates, knick knacks, postcards, and toys. When we visited with my friend Vicky, she enjoyed the colonial dancing so much she bought a CD of colonial music so she could host a colonial dancing party.
Note: due to the stairs, Michie Tavern tours are not wheelchair accessible
After your tour, there’s still more to see. You can eat at the tavern's dining room, called "The Ordinary" (see below) or walk around the other shops, including "The Clothier" which sells authentic looking period costumes, and the "General Store," a restored mill, which has two levels of one-of-a-kind gifts, as well as a small exhibit with a recording telling the history of the mill and its waterwheel.
Tours are offered continuously from 9:00 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. Interactive tours (like the ones we've been on) are offered April through October. Self guided tours are offered November through March.
Michie Tavern Tour admission: $8 per person. Tours are free for local residents.
|Taking the tour with our friend,
The biscuits are amazing...but then, so are the mashes potatoes. And did I mention the chicken? Sorry, getting carried away here...
The meal is $16.50 for adults, $10.95 ages 12-15, $6.75 ages 6-11, and free for children under 6.
From time to time (usually during the off-season) they offer a local resident discount to residents of Charlottesville and surrounding counties. It's good for $4 of 4-6 adult lunch buffets, Mon-Fri. To see their current coupons, click here and then click on "Coupons" at the bottom of the page.
The Ordinary is open seven days a week for midday fare from 11:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., April through October, and 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 pm, November through March. It is closed Christmas Day and New Years Day.
Other Michie Tavern hours:
General Store - 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Tavern Gift Shop - 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Clothier - 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (in season)
Location: 683 Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Charlottesville -(434) 977-1234
For our review of Monticello, click here.
To find out why we were pleasantly surprised by our tour of Ash Lawn-Highland, click here.
Combo Tickets for Local Attractions
If you're planning to see the other local attractions, it's a good deal to purchase the Presidents’ Pass (you'll save $5). This discount combination ticket to Monticello, the Michie Tavern tour, and Ash Lawn-Highland costs $29 for adults and $17.50 for children, and is sold at the three locations. The pass is good for one visit to each site and has no expiration date. Presidents’ Pass tickets can be purchased at any of these sites, or in advance at www.monticello.org.
Return from Michie Tavern to Charlottesville
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