Shea Gibbs



Photo: Kwikset

Be key free: Linking up locks means flexibility and convenience

Home locking technology hadn’t changed much for more than a century—until a few years ago. The advent of the smart home gave folks the ability to take their front door security, and locks in general, out of the dark ages. Keyless entry houses are still buttoned up with the standard pin tumblers invented in the […]

“The traditional recipes for a cocktail up to the late 1800s were all the same—bitters were a part of almost all cocktails,” says Kip McCharen, founder and owner of McCharen’s Bitters. “It’s a seasoning. It serves the same function as salt and pepper or lemon juice in a dish.” Photo by Matt Bonham

Local artisan launches bitters company out of necessity

Bitters are back, baby, and one local is looking to get in on the action. Wait, bitters? “The traditional recipes for a cocktail up to the late 1800s were all the same—bitters were a part of almost all cocktails,” says Kip McCharen, founder and owner of McCharen’s Bitters. “It’s a seasoning. It serves the same […]

This outdoor fireplace in the city was inspired by those the homeowner had seen at local restaurants like La Taza and Fry's Spring Station. Photo: Matthew Cox

Fire pits add style and comfort as temps ease lower

Average high temperatures in Charlottesville don’t dip below 50 until well into December. So what do you need to enjoy the outdoors right up to the holidays? Nothing more than a small, well-built fire pit. “It’ll certainly keep you warm, especially if you’re standing around it,” says Matthew Cox, owner of Crozet’s Appalachian Landscapes, which […]

Photo: Ryan Wheeler

Food at Scott Stadium ups its game with some national help

You’re at a tailgate party outside Scott Stadium taking down dogs and burgers two at a time. You’re thinking, “I don’t want to pay a bunch of money inside for food. I’ll fill up now.” This year, you might want to think again. According to Matt Smythe, director of operations for Aramark’s UVA dining program, […]

Give the heater a break—upgrade your insulation

Give the heater a break—upgrade your insulation

They say the human body loses most of its heat through the head. So when it’s cold out, you put a hat on. Before winter approaches (or even autumn!), invest in a hat for your house. According to Austin Craig, sales consultant for Davenport Insulation, attic insulation is critical to maintaining a constant temperature in […]

In an attempt to find C'ville's best taco, we put nine to the test. Photo: Tom McGovern

Dig in: Who’s got the best taco in town?

We can’t be the only ones who’ve noticed that Charlottesville’s cuisine scene is trending toward tacos. Even fine dining spot C&O offers a version on its late-night menu. But who would win in a blind battle? We put nine to the test, choosing only restaurants in the city and only those open for lunch, to […]

Rooftop solar panels are more affordable now than ever—and will pay for themselves in less than 10 years. File photo.

Sun salutation: Solar arrays are the hottest thing in energy savings

If you’ve ever been sitting in your yard and thought to yourself, “Boy, do I wish I had more shade,” take heart. You’re likely a great candidate for powering your home with solar energy. Rooftop solar panels are more affordable now than ever, and for homes with adequately slanted, shade-free, south-facing roofs, they’ll pay for […]

Photo: Tom McGovern

Reading the leaves: How Southern is sweet tea?

Like any good Southern recipe, the origins of sweet tea are about as clear as an oversteeped pitcher of Lipton. Southerners of all stripes clamor for their own little piece of the beverage’s lore. Central Virginia, it seems, doesn’t have much of a stake. Thomas Jefferson certainly loved his tea—his financial records show he purchased […]