IX Art Park
Runner-up: Pen Park
Honorable mention: Greenleaf Park
It isn’t just that IX Art Park, that whimsical wonderland of weird and provocative work on Second Street, stretches the imagination —though it certainly does. But the folks at IX also stretch the bounds of what a park should be: a playground with climbables and swing sets? Or a place that puts learning and community at the forefront? IX opts for the latter, with benefits for migrant children and families, nature festivals and even a chance to build a Lego city with a master Lego builder, as per one summer 2018 event. Over at Pen Park, 250 acres gives kids the chance to run and play, with volleyball courts, a baseball field and an outdoor physical fitness course.
Triple C Camp
Runner-up: Camp Holiday Trails
Honorable mention: YMCA
The two words parents dread the most? “I’m bored.” In fact, that very phrase may be the reason summer camps were invented in the first place. Triple C solves the problem with horseback riding, swimming, a challenge course, woodworking, sculpture, soccer, archery, tennis and more—all toward the camper’s ability to explore and learn more about herself and others. Just outside of town at Camp Holiday Trails, campers with medical needs try their hand at everything from a climbing wall to a zipline.
MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL
Charlottesville Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Runner-up: Laughing Dragon Kung Fu
Honorable mention: 7 Tigers Taekwondo
Jiu-Jitsu, CBJJ owner Gordon Emery once told us, is like a real-life game of chess. It doesn’t involve punches or kicks, as some martial arts do, but rather joint locks, submission holds and chokes. The Brazilian version utilizes ground fighting, wherein someone smaller and weaker might be able to defeat a person who is bigger and stronger. In the end, it’s all about self-defense, and Emery teaches daily classes to students from 5 years old to folks in their 60s and beyond. At Laughing Dragon, you’ll get a taste of the practice of Chinese boxing.
Emma Rowe (Move Medical Massage & Sports Therapy)
Runner-up: Jennifer Daniel
Honorable mention: Jane Neldon (Commonwealth Massage Therapy)
Not all bodies are created equal —literally. Often, one side weighs more than the other which, in turn, is what can cause pain. Move Medical Massage owner (and athlete) Emma Rowe has spent nearly 20 years developing her own treatment technique, combining various methods—active release, deep tissue massage, assisted stretching, strain counterstrain and more —to combat clients’ acute and chronic discomfort, as well as equip the body for sports and exercise. In the runner-up spot, Jennifer Daniel works out all your kinks from her private practice on East Market Street.
Eliza Whiteman (FlyDog Yoga)
Runner-up: Liz Reynolds (Zen Bride Yoga)
Honorable mention: Vanessa Schnable (Purvelo)
A one-stop yoga shop. That was FlyDog co-owner Eliza Whiteman’s goal when she opened the doors in 2015. Readers say she did it: They visit the studio for power or heated vinyasa, yin yoga and even barre. The class sizes are intentionally kept small, so Whiteman is able to work individually with each student, providing pointers to improve his form. Freelance yoga instructor (and runner-up) Liz Reynolds applies her background in dance to her practice, paying special attention to physicality as well as mindfulness. Lately, she’s brought those sensibilities to Zen Bridge Yoga, her traveling yoga business that helps bridal parties unwind pre-wedding.
Ellie Tor (Tru Pilates)
Runner-up: Robin Truxel (Tru Pilates)
Honorable mention: Carla Shifflett (Posture Studio)
They’ve got a good thing going at Tru Pilates. Between Ellie Tor’s dance, TRX and Stretch Therapy background, and Robin Truxel’s emphasis on helping expectant mothers and those with complicated injuries exercise safely, there’s something for everyone—including those who’ve never tried Pilates at all—at the Warehouse District studio. The company’s group or individual sessions keep them aligned, readers say.
Kristin Watson (Purvelo)
Runner-up: Justin Goodman (Zoom Indoor Cycling)
Honorable mention: Kendall Speno (Zoom Indoor Cycling)
At Purvelo, owner Kristin Watson is committed to doing things a little differently. She keeps the lights low, forgoes walls of mirrors and, in every class, incorporates hand weights and choreography, so it isn’t totally about your legs. You can go at your own pace, of course, but as Watson says, the red knob (which controls your bike’s resistance) controls your destiny. At Zoom, co-owner Justin Goodman gets your heart racing and your legs Jell-O jiggly with fun themed rides and once-a-month date nights, where you and a guest get two-for-one pricing and complimentary drinks and light appetizers after class.
NICHE FITNESS STUDIO
Runner-up: Orangetheory Fitness
Honorable mention: Zoom Cycle
Among the 30 or so fitness studios in Charlottesville, readers say FlyDog truly stands out above the rest. In addition to traditional and heated vinyasa classes, as well as barre and cardio exercises, the Millmont Street studio offers aerial yoga, during which students are practicing their Downward Dogs and Sun Salutations in a hammock suspended from the ceiling. It quite literally turns your yoga practice on its head. Nearby Orangetheory’s heart-monitored training helps clients burn up to 1,000 calories per hour-long session.
Vanessa Schnable (Purvelo)
Runner-up: Justin Tooley (The Gym)
Honorable mention: Sabrina Feggans (Beyond Fitness with Sabrina)
Charlottesville native Vanessa Schnable has been part of the local fitness scene since 2012, when she started as a personal trainer at ACAC. Since then, she’s taught the benefits of exercise to clients through her work at Lululemon, FlyDog Yoga and Purvelo, where in 2016 the cycle studio launched Purfit with Vanessa, a one-on-one training program, led by Schnable, to enhance clients’ fitness experience. At The Gym, Justin Tooley lends a strongman’s touch to strength and conditioning training.
Runner-up: Bruce Campbell
Honorable mention: Alicia Dagli, Annika Abrahamson and Greg Gelburd (tie)
Virginia health care being what it is, summoning the gumption to go to the doctor can sometimes require Herculean effort. Then, once you get there, how to tell your provider what’s been ailing you? If you can do the first part—just get your foot in the door—readers say Katharine DeGeorge does the rest, asking the right questions to get you reasonable solutions. Over in Free Union, second place goes to Bruce Campbell, who specializes in family medicine at every step, starting with obstetrics and gynecology.
John Knight Jr. (Spring Creek Family Dentistry & Orthodontics)
Runner-up: Aaron Stump (Charlottesville Pediatric Dentistry)
Honorable mention: Jeffery Hodges (Albemarle Dental Associates)
“A pleasure.” That’s not exactly the phrase that comes to mind when describing a visit to the dentist’s office, but that’s the kind of review John Knight and his team at Spring Creek keep getting, whether for a simple cleaning or dental implants. In Charlottesville and Zion Crossroads, runner- up Aaron Stump and his team sets young patients off on the right foot (tooth?) with friendly service and fun lessons about dental hygiene, including avoiding sugar bugs so smiles stay nice and bright.
David Hamer (Hamer & Hamer Orthodontics)
Runner-up: Bart Weis (Charlottesville Orthodontics)
Honorable mention: Suzanne Dennis
Like any good renovation—even of your smile—it’s gonna cost you. But David Hamer, in addition to fun or helpful extras like theme weeks where staff members dress up, and a shuttle service to the Crozet office, offers complimentary consultations, payment plans and discounts for things like scheduling your appointments between 9am and 3pm. In other words, he really gives you something to smile about. Charlottesville Orthodontics’ Bart Weis has been aligning the pearly whites of kids, teens and adults in our area for more than 20 years, and takes the No. 2 prize this year.
Bridget Bryer (Family Dermatology of Albemarle)
Runner-up: Anna Magee (Charlottesville Dermatology)
Honorable mention: Bonnie Straka (Albemarle Dermatology Associates)
Fact: Your skin is home to more than 1,000 species of bacteria. It’s no wonder, then, that every once in a while it acts up—either by developing a weird, random freckle or by going dry in unexpected spots. Whatever the ailment, readers say Bridget Bryer is their go-to doc when it comes to putting their best face (or hair or nails or…) forward. Runner-up Anna Magee and her team take care to rejuvenate, correct and resurface your body’s largest organ.
Paige Perriello (Pediatric Associates)
Runner-up: Robert Michel (Piedmont Pediatrics)
Honorable mention: Heather Quillian (Northridge Pediatrics)
Hormones, homework, social media—it’s hard to be a kid. And it’s made even harder when you realize that after being a kid comes being an adult. Readers say they trust Paige Perriello to help their teens ease the transition. The Charlottesville native has been practicing at Pediatric Associates’ downtown office for a decade, treating children of all ages for everything from common colds to sports injuries. At Piedmont Pediatrics, Robert Michel monitors your child’s growth and development.
Scott Wagner (Scott Wagner Chiropractic & Sports Medicine)
Runner-up: Sam Spillman (Balanced Chiropractic & Physical Therapy)
Honorable mention: Michelle Heppner (Heppner Family Chiropractic & Wellness)
Certainly if you’re having major pains—no, we don’t mean your kids—it makes sense to see a chiropractor. But a little-known fact is that a chiro can also help with something as simple as a headache (according to the American Chiropractic Association, nine out of 10 people suffer from them). This year, readers agree that a visit to Scott Wagner—who also serves as UVA Athletics’ chiropractor—keeps them in check (and not just because he uses a cool anti-gravity treadmill in treatment). Off Preston Avenue, Sam Spillman applies the discipline learned through martial arts practice to repair what ails you.
Jaime Easton (Spring Creek Eye Care)
Runner-up: Stephen Record (Drs Record & Record Optometrists)
Honorable mention: Joe DiGirolamo (Primary Eyecare)
They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. They’re also a window into other health issues you might be experiencing, like diabetes, STIs or even cancer, which is why a regular checkup isn’t only good for getting a new kickin’ pair of frames, but also getting a look at threats to your wellbeing. When you look good, you feel good, and since opening in mid-2016, Jaime Easton and her team at Spring Creek have kept you looking the best you can. Off Hydraulic Road, Stephen Record has a keen eye for improving your vision.
Heather Walton (Move Better Physical Therapy)
Runner-up: Kim Starr (ACAC)
Honorable mention: Rodney Madagan (Move Better Physical Therapy)
It says it right there in the name: Move better. That’s the goal of each of the Hydraulic Road practice’s orthopedic specialists and, in particular, Heather Walton, who focuses on tension headaches, neck pain, fall prevention, spine rehab, post-surgical shoulder, hip and knee care, as well as TMJ dysfunction. In other words, she helps develop a plan to get you back in fighting shape. At ACAC, physical therapy executive director Kim Starr specializes in treating injured athletes.
MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL
Runner-up: William Fox and Chapin Faulconer (tie)
Honorable mention: Dan Elash
Using expressive arts therapies—think drama, dance, creative writing or sandplay—to enhance counseling and restore balance to one’s mental health, Katharine Knapp practices treating those with complex trauma. In second place, a tie between William Fox, who works with those experiencing anxiety and mood disorders and approaching difficult life transitions, and Chapin Faulconer, who provides therapy in the areas of anger management, grief and loss, addiction and recovery and more.
Spring Creek Golf Club
Runner-up: Birdwood Golf Course
Honorable mention: Farmington Country Club
Scuttlebutt around the green (and among internet threads on the topic) is that Spring Creek might not stay a public course for long, so it may behoove readers who voted it No. 1 again this year to head to the fairways while they still can. The bentgrass course consistently earns praise for its bunkers, conditioning and value. At Birdwood, the par-72 course is undergoing a change as well: In 2017, UVA announced plans to rebuild the site, which was constructed in 1984, and create a world-class facility for the public as well as boost recruitment for the college’s golf program.