When it comes to great family-friendly parks, Charlottesville has no shortage, and C-VILLE readers had a tough time choosing the best of the best, with Pen Park and Greenleaf Park separated by just a few votes. Ultimately, Pen Park’s extensive playground—with soft rubberized ground, ample green space to picnic or throw a frisbee, and adjacent trails for hiking (with or without a pooch)—helped it come out on top…but just barely. Located on Rose Hill Drive just a few blocks from Walker Upper Elementary School, Greenleaf is a big hit thanks to its spray park and playground with a steep, thrilling slide. The only trouble, said one Greenleaf lover, is that too many people have discovered the small park’s charms, and it can get crowded.
Yoga studio: Hot Yoga (formerly Bikram Yoga)
Honorable mention: Bend Yoga
To the uninitiated, spending 90 minutes exercising in a 105-degree studio might sound somewhat nausea-inducing, and in fact, the founder of Bikram Yoga has referred to these heated rooms as “The Torture Chamber.” That hasn’t stopped legions of local devotees who swear by the sweaty workouts as the best for body and soul. The Hot Yoga website is packed with testimonials from Charlottesvillians who describe experiencing life-altering results. “Nothing makes you feel better,” raved one C-VILLE voter. A wide array of yoga offerings from gentle Hatha to vigorous Vinyasa help keep runner-up ACAC’s members lean and limber.
Pilates studio: truPILATES
Honorable mention: Posture Studio
For nearly a decade, Robin Truxel and her team have been leading the way to strong, healthy bodies, and the studio on Second Street downtown takes the No. 1 spot for a second consecutive year. Readers praise the instructors for their top-notch training and sense of humor. Talk about core (strengthening) values! With lovely studios and highly trained instructors, ACAC scores high again for its pilates classes, which are included in the cost of membership.
Golf course: Old Trail Golf Course
Runner-up: Birdwood Golf Course
Honorable mention: Spring Creek Golf Club
Gorgeous mountain scenery and a friendly motto—”All Players Welcome”—have helped boost one of Charlottesville’s newer golf courses, Old Trail, to the top of the ranks, edging out last year’s winner Birdwood by just two votes. Plus, golf newbies can boost their skills through the Kandi Comer Golf Academy. The par-72 course at the Boar’s Head Inn is still a perennial favorite and a highly ranked course that draws visitors from near and far.
Kids’ fitness class: Bend Yoga
Runner-up: Charlottesville Parks & Recreation
Honorable mention: Kidz Club at ACAC
Yoga for grown-ups abounds around town, but at Bend’s studio on the Downtown Mall, babes as young as 6 weeks old (accompanied by a parent, of course) are introduced to the benefits of yoga in fun, age-appropriate classes that help set the stage for a lifetime of increased fitness, flexibility, and self-esteem. Charlottesville’s Parks & Recreation depart- ment packs a kid-class wallop with affordable offerings in a wide array of activities from gymnastics and dance to golf, basketball, and art.
Bike shop: Blue Ridge Cyclery
Runner-up: Bike Factory of Charlottesville
Honorable mention: Blue Wheel Bicycles
Whether you’re a hardcore mountain biker who plummets down slopes over rocks and roots, a competitive distance rider, or someone who prefers a leisurely pace on the flat, paved Greenbelt Trail, the folks at Blue Ridge Cyclery on Millmont Street can keep you rolling. Founded by former paramedic turned competitive rider Shawn Tevendale, the shop, once again at the top of C-VILLE readers’ lists, is an outlet for the high-end Cervélo bicycle brand. Looking to buy a new bike, maintain an old one, or even rent a bike for the day? The Bike Factory in the Seminole Square Shopping Center has ample selection and trained technicians to get you out and riding.
Biking trail: Walnut Creek Park
Runner-up: Riverview Park
Honorable mention: Preddy Creek Trail Park
Thirteen miles of trails traverse this nearly 500-acre park in southern Albemarle County, and during the summer, a hop in the 45-acre lake can cool hot bikers down in a jiffy. Flat and paved, the Greenbelt Trail at Riverview Park is an ideal spot for family rides as it meanders along the Rivanna River.
Big gym: ACAC
Runner-up: Carver Recreation Center
Honorable mention: Gold’s Gym
ACAC founder Phil Wendel (profiled on page 55) didn’t set out to create a fitness empire when he launched the first ACAC location in 1984, but that’s just what he’s done over the past 30 years. Between three locations—Albemarle Square, downtown, and Crozet —members can find just about any type of exercise their hearts could desire, from yoga and free weights to swimming, basketball, and squash. And then there’s the rooftop pool downtown and spa offerings to soothe tired muscles. Second place vote-getter is the still-new gym in the Jefferson School City Center. It offers convenience for parents thanks to city Parks & Rec classes for kids held in the same building, but the best thing of all may be the reasonable price for memberships.
Niche gym: MADabolic
Runner-up: CrossFit Charlottesville
Honorable mention: Smith Aquatic Fitness Center
You might have to be a little crazy to love working out ’til your muscles scream in the high-intensity interval training offered at this 1-year-old gym in the Ix building downtown, but MADabolic members have flipped out for the incredible results and camaraderie found through the group exercises. In 2009, CrossFit Charlottesville blasted onto the scene with something then-new in town: high-intensity workouts with a focus on functional movements. Five years later, the gym is going so strong it’s expanded into a space triple its original size off River Road near Free Bridge.
General practitioner: Annika Abrahamson
Runner-up: Greg Gelburd
Honorable mention: Bruce Campbell
In the 19th century, many of women’s health care issues were treated as mental maladies—hysteria, they called it. Just imagine how grateful our 19th century counterparts would have been to see Dr. Abrahamson—a female doctor who specializes in women’s health care—walk into the room with her modern treatments and warm bedside manner! C-VILLE readers are crazy about her, that’s for sure. Patients love Dr. Gelburd for his holistic approach to health care, and he showed his love for patients a few months back by going on a hunger strike to bring attention to the issue of Medicaid expansion in Virginia.
Dentist: David Dalley
Runner-up: David and Rebecca Swett
Honorable mention: Clarke & Farmer
Dr. Dalley has taken the crown more times in recent years than any other dentist, and the rest will have to brush their disappointment aside again. But they shouldn’t worry. Dalley will have to retire someday, and maybe then they, too, can get a plaque. Get it? Or maybe we should just say, “His gain is their floss?” The beloved husband-and-wife Swett dental team have topped the chart multiple times in recent years, and give their patients plenty of reasons to smile.
Dermatologist: Anna Magee
Runner-up: Bonnie Straka
Honorable mention: Amalie Derdeyn
Whether you’re seeking treatment for a serious skin condition or just hoping to roll back the clock a few years, Anna Magee of Charlottesville Dermatology is the go-to doc for C-VILLE readers suffering from pits and pimples, lumps and wrinkles. She also offers cosmetic injectables, cutting edge procedures including laser treatments, dermaplaning—a procedure in which the top layer of skin is removed by scalpel—and photorejuvenation. Bonnie Straka of Albemarle Dermatology Associates offers a slew of cosmetic procedures, and she and her colleagues at Signature Medical Spa can even help treat excessive sweating through a relatively new treatment called miraDry.
Pediatrician: Paige Perriello
Runner-up: Bruce Campbell
Honorable mention: Robert Trundle
From the day they’re born through teenagerdom, kids need a good pediatrician who builds a relationship with the whole family, making shots, throat cultures, and any other medical treatments less scary. Paige Perriello at Pediatric Associates is following in the footsteps of her late father, pediatrician Vito Perriello, by building a loyal following of young patients and their parents who are all better off thanks to her care. Free Union doc Bruce Campbell treats the whole family.
Chiropractor: Scott Wagner
Runner-up: Sam Spillman
Honorable mention: Cox Chiropractic Clinic
Maybe your mom spent years telling you to stand up straight, but you didn’t listen. Or maybe you’re an extreme athlete who pushed yourself a little too hard. Either way, it may be time for a chiropractic adjustment, and Scott Wagner—who specializes in sports medicine—is perfectly positioned to help keep you moving. Meanwhile, a back injury of his own introduced martial arts enthusiast Sam Spillman to chiropractic care, and now he’s one of Charlottesville’s top picks.
Optometrist: Primary Eyecare
Runner-up: Drs. Record & Record
Honorable mention: Crozet Eye Care
If the eyes are the window to the soul, then a good optometrist is rather like Windex to the soul, wouldn’t you say? Well, something like that. C-VILLE readers say Primary Eyecare is the best place to keep their vision crystal clear, and with two locations at Barracks Road and Hollymead Town Center, you won’t have to travel far. Husband and wife optometrists Carol and Stephen Record, in second place, operate their practice based on the Golden Rule, so you can be sure they’ll be gentle and thorough when checking your peepers.