On Facebook and Twitter, UVA alumni and friends answered these questions: "What was your favorite thing to do in Charlottesville during the summertime? How did you beat the heat at the beginning of the fall semester?"

Here’s what they said.


Mint Springs Courtesy of The Hook
Charlottesville and Albemarle Country have multiple lakes, including Mint Springs, Chris Greene Lake and Walnut Creek Park, open for public swimming, canoeing and fishing. Jump in to the cool water, rest in the sun on the lake’s beach, and wade in again!

Suggested by:
Janet Murray Smith (Col ’80) We rode bikes to Chris Greene Lake from the old dorms first year. Summer before fourth year, I had a convertible ’66 MGB. We’d pile in the best we could and head on up 29. Those were the days!

Jasmine Jelesoff Larimer A second for Chris Greene Lake! We loved it because it was the closest thing to the real beach we could get to. Lots of fond memories of baking in the sun (baby oil—before we knew better!) with sand in our toes.

Jim Mackay (Col ’83) Chris Greene was great, once we could have our cars … just had to remember to bring a book, so you could pretend you were studying.

Swimming Holes

Swimming at Blue Hole Courtesy of The Hook
Drive 25 miles to Sugar Hollow Reservoir and then hike to Blue Hole, one of the deepest swimming holes in the area. Sadly, the tree holding its legendary rope swing was felled last summer, but the water remains as cool and beautiful as ever. Other local swimming holes include Snake Hole, Paul’s Creek and Rip Rap Run.

Suggested by:
Ali Baba Going down to Blue Hole

Robert Patrick Paulson (Col ’89) A trip to Blue Hole often did the trick.

Tubing on the James River

Tubing on the James Beth Jones
The James River flows through the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Two different companies in Scottsville offer tubing daytrips through the countryside, with some light rapids for a little excitement.

Suggested by:
Joe Mercado (Col ’11) Tubing down the James

Bizzy Bracken (Col ’08) Tubing on the James!

Chris Wilson (Col ’89) Tubing on the James from Scottsville.

Joey McGinley (Col ’00) Heading over to the James River with some friends, some beverages and tube down the river for a few hours before heading home to rest, shower up and hit up the Biltmore for the evening. That was summertime fun at its finest.


The view from Old Rag Jim Duncan/RealCentralVa
In her book, Bossypants, Tina Fey (Col ’92) describes climbing Old Rag Mountain at night and what she thought might be a date. “The first leg of our journey was the walk from the parking lot to the beginning of the actual trail,” she writes. “By the time we got to the foot of the mountain, I was already nauseous from overexertion and trying to hide it.” Old Rag is just one of the many local hiking spots in Shenandoah National Park. Others include White Oak Canyon, Humpback Rock and Crabtree Falls.

Suggested by:
Jeb Byrne (Col ’14) Early morning hikes to Old Rag! So much cooler up there, and idyllic views.

Rob Buhrman (Engr ’94) Hike above the humidity at Humpback Rock.

Wine Tasting

Jefferson Vineyards Courtesy of Jefferson Vineyards
There are roughly two dozen wineries located around Charlottesville, making it a prime place to sample some of the region’s finest wines.

Suggested by:
Emilee Peters Wine tasting around Charlottesville!

Chiles Peach Orchard

Sweet treats at Chiles Peach Orchard Josh Gooden
Picking your own peaches in the shadow of the Shenandoah Mountains and ending the trip with some peach frozen yogurt keeps Cavs cool.

Suggested by:
Caro Lang (Engr ’11) Eating peach cider doughnuts and peach froyo at Chiles.

Ash Lawn Opera

Ash Lawn Opera's 2011 production of The King and I Janet Moore-Coll
High-quality opera for less than $20 makes Ash Lawn a student favorite. For more than 35 years, the Ash Lawn Opera Festival has staged opera and other musical performances. After many years at Ash Lawn-Highland, the festival moved to the Paramount Theater in downtown Charlottesville.

Suggested by:
Erin Conger McElwain (Col ’03) Ash Lawn Opera!

Ice Skating Rink

Ice skating at Main Street Arena Hawes Spencer/The Hook
It’s easy to keep cool during those first—and last—few weeks of classes at Main Street Arena, a rink whose presence on the Downtown Mall always surprises newcomers.

Suggested by:
Whit Roberts The Downtown Mall and its ice skating rink.

Fridays After 5

Fridays After 5 at the Charlottesville Pavilion Erin O'Hare
This free concert series on the Downtown Mall is a favorite family activity—a place for parents to unwind and children to boogie.

Suggested by:
Rafael Jordan Fridays after 5

Corner Restaurants

Elliewood Ave., home to many favorite Corner chow spots Erin O'Hare
From Bodo’s to the Biltmore, alumni have no shortage of favorite places to dine on the Corner.

Suggested by:
Jenny Hahn Mah (Col ’96) Loved gettin’ some Arch’s fro yo!! Peanut butter flavor with their gooey fudge brownie topping—such a treat!

Joey McGinley (Col ’00) Bodo’s for breakfast … then hitting up the Biltmore for the evening.

Sean Keene The Biltmore grill, when they had the awesome grillroom salads.

Kathleen Whitman Plucker (Col ’92) Loved reading the Sunday New York Times over brunch at the Biltmore.

Kenneth Peoples (Law ’78) Martha’s Kitchen!

Margaret Nyland (Col ’81) Martha’s on Elliewood

Marc Turner Michael’s Bistro balcony

Watering Holes

The Biltmore patio Courtesy of The Biltmore
Many alumni wrote in about “cooling off” at various Corner bars and coffee shops. Many of the bars mentioned have closed, but they are not forgotten. Poe’s, for example, is described in Coy Barefoot’s The Corner: A History of Student Life at the University of Virginia as one of the most “memorable nightspots in the history of the Corner.” With red velvet wallpaper, dim “Spanish dungeon lights” and a stuffed raven, Poe’s offered 35 imported beers and live music in the basement.

Suggested by:
Dora Rosapepe (Col ’79) TJ’s

Jenny Stowers Brock (Col ’79) TJ’s and Graduate happy hour

Rafael Jordan Bars on the Corner and downtown, Trax ... I LOVED C’ville in the summer. The population was seemingly only a fraction and it seemed like we had the place to ourselves.

George Crickenberger (Educ ’77, ’79) Actually spent a lot of time at Poe’s “cooling off.”

Greg Harris (Arch ’05) Let’s not forget sitting on the back deck at Coupe’s!

Eric Kelley (Col ’06) Yay! Para Coffee!


A bird's eye view of a Midsummers party Courtesy of Tumblr
Though the UVA mindset is “work hard/play hard,” that balance is lost during Midsummers. Charlottesville’s sleepy streets are suddenly filled with students on the July weekend that marks the midpoint of summer. Students return to town to see old friends and attend as many parties as possible.

Suggested by:
Elizabeth J. Green (Col ’81) Summer activity: Midsummers party.

Michelle Luby Mehfoud (Educ ’89) Midsummers! Parking Lot Party at the Preston Avenue Apartments with Ralph Sampson. Good times!

Working Out

Working out in Mem Gym, year unknown Courtesy of UVA Library
UVA gyms are air conditioned and, best of all, not nearly as crowded in the summertime.

Suggested by:
Joey McGinley (Col ’00) Bodo’s for breakfast, then hitting up Slaughter Rec for a workout.

Rafael Jordan Hoops at Slaughter.

Working in Air-Conditioned Labs

Working hard and staying cool in one of UVA's many air conditioned labs Courtesy of virginia.edu
What more rewarding way to beat the heat than to get ahead in coursework and perhaps make a discovery or two along the way?

Suggested by:
Keen Compher (Grad ’68) I worked in the air-conditioned biology research lab all summer, day and night, and eventually received my Ph.D. in biology from UVA Wahoo!

Darryl Schnellenberger (Engr ’98) Working in my nice, cool lab in Thornton Hall!

Box Fans/Searching for Air Conditioning

Before dorms had A/C, students propped box fans in their windows for a breeze Kenneth Lu
Most current alumni experienced first-year dorm life without air conditioning. The simplest way to beat the heat was to simply stand in front of a window box fan, or trek over to friends’ air-conditioned dwellings. All Alderman Road dorms now have air conditioning. Old dorms still do not, but the University is contracting with an engineering firm to conduct a feasibility study to upgrade these buildings.

Suggested by:
Lessie Oliver-Clark (Col ’81) My roommate and I had a box fan in our window because Dunnington didn’t have air conditioning.

Jim Mackay (Col ’83) Cooling off in Charlottesville during those last several days of August? Well, first year, in the un-air-conditioned old dorms (still that way, if you can believe that), you put your box fan in your window and walked around in your shorty shorts.

Mike Jones (Engr ’73, Darden ’78) Box fan in the window (third floor Metcalf), and visited friends in Alderman Road dorms.

Cool Clothing

Lounging in the Rotunda shade Dan Addison
Summer students like to keep their wardrobe simple and, usually, cool.

Suggested by:
Jessica Hatch (Col ’12) Funny story from first-year Convocation: I don’t know what possessed me, but I didn’t bring any sundresses with me on move-in day! After some pretty active ice breakers, I sweated through convocation in a black, wool, 3/4 sleeve dress. If I could do that, today’s Hoos can do anything!

Ali Sutherland (Col ’86) No makeup. Not a lot of jewelry. The bare minimum.

The Lawn

Orientation groups chat on the Lawn Cole Geddy
The sprawling shade of the Lawn trees never fails to cool students, even in the hottest weather.

Suggested by:
John McCarey (Col ’88) Languishing under a tree on the Lawn, eyes closed, to listen to the absence of the voices from the incoming fall students, panicking in a rush to get their books.

Kathleen Whitman Plucker (Col ’92) Picnicking on the Lawn with food from Take It Away.