Eric Wallace

Caption page 1: Waynesboro’s Autumn Olive Farms crossed two heritage breeds—Patterson Registered Berkshires and Ossabaw Island hogs—to create the signature AOF Berkabaw, a six-year project that the owners call “the perfect pig.” Photo: Zack Wajsgras

Hog wild: Local pig farmers let their stock roam free to feast on chestnuts, acorns, and hickory nuts, producing pork that butchers and chefs swear by

The rain lets up all at once and the sun burns through the clouds, turning the dreary October day startlingly warm and pleasant. Clay Trainum, 58, walks swiftly along a dirt farm road behind his Waynesboro home, cutting across a 14-acre field toward a row of about 10 wooden lean-tos. The triangular structures stand at […]

In about 10 years,Virginia Chestnurs 1,000 trees will be fully mature, and should each produce 50 to 100 pounds of nuts a year. Photo by Stephen Barling

Restoration effort: The rebirth of the American chestnut

Nestled in Nelson County’s Lovingston hill country lie the orchards of one of the East Coast’s newest nut-growing operations, Virginia Chestnuts. Spanning 45 acres, the farmstead rests at the end of an isolated stretch of unpaved backroads that culminate in a steeply winding mile-long gravel driveway. Overlooking a series of knolls carved into the mountainside […]

Third grade teacher Kimberly Schwartz leads students in a Spanish lesson as part of Cale Elementary’s dual immersion program. Photo: Eze Amos

Dose of the future: Cale Elementary’s dual language program leads students into the 21st century

Five years ago, Cale Elementary School principal Lisa Jones instituted a Foreign Language in the Elementary Schools program for her incoming class of kindergarteners and rising first- and second-graders. For three years, offerings featured typical FLES programming—that is, 120 minutes a week of instruction in Spanish. However, as Jones saw it, that wasn’t enough. “By […]

Photo: Courtesy Luray Caverns

Adventure underground: Winter is prime time for spelunking

As winter sets in caves offer surprisingly balmy family adventures. With temperatures hovering around 53 degrees, a subterranean visit provides hours of active outdoor fun sans the cold. From paved walking tours to rigorous guided explorations through wild caverns, the following resources will help you take advantage of the region’s many spelunking opportunities. Luray Caverns […]

Shenandoah National Park provides plenty of hiking, biking and even canoeing opportunities. Photo: Jack Looney

The great outdoors: Four fall family-friendly adventures in and around Charlottesville

As temperatures drop and water attractions become less appealing, don’t let that keep you from venturing outdoors. Whether it’s soaring through a Shenandoah Valley forest, soaking up Blue Ridge Mountain views or exploring area biking trails, these four family-friendly activities will get you and the fam out of the house and exploring. HIKE Shenandoah National […]

Poggio a Caiano, Italy, is a two-square-mile municipality in the
Italian province of Prato in the Tuscany region. The city has a population of about 10,000. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia user Massimilianogalardi.

Sister cities, brotherly love

Little more than 40 years ago, former Charlottesville mayor Nancy O’Brien received an unexpected letter. Sent from Poggio a Caiano, a tiny, two-square-mile municipality in the Italian province of Prato, the epistle recounted the tale of a very special—and very old—friendship. “We were preparing to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, and […]

The neighborhood tree house includes a ladder-like climbing wall and knotted ropes, plus a zig-zag walkway. Photo: Martyn Kyle

Summer VILLAGE: RiverBluff rallies around neighborhood tree house

After a decade spent living with a hand-me-down outdoor playhouse, Charlottesville’s RiverBluff community decided to do its children a favor and upgrade. “Originally, the community was designed with a small private playground in mind,” says RiverBluff resident Janet Evergreen, who helped spearhead the project. “So when we held our annual homeowners association potluck [in 2015], […]

Morel mushroom season is about a month long—from mid-April to mid-May.

From forage to feast, the morel of the story

For going on a week-and-a-half we’ve been waiting, watching the weather, hoping for the perfect combination of conditions that will spark an explosion of hidden life bursting from the forest floor. “Morel mushrooms are notoriously fickle,” explains 33-year-old Loren Mendosa, Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria chef-co-owner and local morel hunting guru. “They’re kind of like the baby […]

The majority of Faulkner’s lectures while a writer in residence were recorded and have now been digitally archived—more than 1,690 minutes. Courtesy Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library

Faulkner left his mark on UVA

Sixty years ago, on February 15, 1957, Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner arrived at the University of Virginia to assume his role as the first Balch Writer In Residence. Strolling through the Academical Village in his patent overcoat and collegiate tweed suit, the Mississippi gentleman smiled quietly at the throng of officials, cameramen and students, […]

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue perform on Thursday at the Jefferson. Publicity image.

Trombone Shorty kicks it into high gear

On December 29, New Orleans native Troy Andrews aka Trombone Shorty appears at the Jefferson Theater with his group Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Named  by OffBeat Magazine as the New Orleans musical icon for the millennial generation, Andrews’s groundbreaking fusion of jazz, funk, blues, rock and hip-hop has been compared with the innovations of other Big Easy greats […]