Something I've noticed about our new city is that it's brimming with free fun.
Free fun! Fun for free!
At the end of August we met up with some friends at a vineyard at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was a beautiful summer day. We spread out blankets and opened up our picnic baskets and fanned ourselves with paper plates while we enjoyed a polo match. It was delightful and felt so fancy, and all we paid for was the wine.
I've lived in quite a variety of places and I don't take this for granted. If you're a New Yorker and you want to watch polo, be prepared to rent a Zipcar, drive out to the Hamptons, and spend a good chunk of change getting yourself into a swanky polo club for the afternoon. Live in Alabama and have a hankering for polo? You're fresh out of luck. But in Charlottesville all you have to do is pack a picnic and drive 20 minutes west on a Sunday afternoon and voilá--free fun!
This past Saturday I took one of my girlfriends to an afternoon performance at the Charlottesville Ballet. I had received two complimentary tickets through the Charlottesville Music Teacher's Association, and while I'm always happy to support the arts it's just silly to pass up comp tickets. The dancing was really beautiful and we rounded out the afternoon by sipping on (not complimentary) cappuccinos to warm our bellies. (Are you sensing a theme here regarding beverages?)
And then next weekend my husband and I are going to hear Kevin Spacey speak. This guy is my husband's favorite actor and he just happens to be coming to UVA. How wonderful is it that the university is opening up the event to the community at no charge? We're very excited about this one.
There are Friday afternoon concerts downtown featuring local bands in the summertime. There are art gallery crawls and food festivals and jazz pianists who play regularly at local restaurants. We live in a buzzing, cultured, artsy, foodie, a tad bit hipster-ish town, and there's so much to do. It can take a little effort to find out about free events (tips from friends, reading local magazines, etc.) but dare I say that's part of the enjoyment?
To polo, ballet, and Kevin Spacey! Charlottesville, I like you.