The Shenandoah Reports
The City of Charlottesville is nestled at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in western Central Virginia. Home to a population of over 40,000 residents with a metropolitan population over 200,000. The City has earned a reputation as being one of the most livable places in the country. In 2004 the City was given the distinction by Cities Ranked and Rated as the Best Place to Live in America, and Charlottesville has consistently been listed among Money and Fortune Magazines’ Best Places to Live and Best Places to Retire.
A city deep in historic value, the area has raised three Presidents and is the home of the University of Virginia founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1825. With a growing enrollment of nearly 20,000, the University is consistently listed as one of the top five public universities in the country. In 2007, the area’s emphasis on historic preservation alongside modern development has earned the recognition by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a Dozen Distinctive Destination.
The City has also earned a reputation as a writers’ and readers’
paradise, with more newspaper readers per capita than anywhere else in the nation. Every spring the City hosts an annual Virginia Festival of the Book that attracts thousands of avid readers from across the country. The city is also home to many prominent writers including John Grisham and Rita Mae Brown, and past acclaimed authors such as Edgar Alan Poe and William Faulkner. The citizens of our town value and support arts and entertainment and our area is affectionately referred to as the cultural and creative capital of Central Virginia. Downtown is home to two refurbished theaters, a community theater, an amphitheater bringing in quality national acts, and dozens of art galleries.
The City offers an impressive variety of cultural, social, and recreational opportunities. There are 26 neighborhood and jointly funded parks and an extensive series of walking trails that run through parkland, residential areas, and along the beautiful Rivanna River. For more information, please refer to the Parks and Recreation site.
There is also a thriving art, music and theater community that keeps the creative spirit alive in Charlottesville. A recently opened 4,000 seat Charlottesville Pavilion amphitheater draws big named acts into the downtown area and hosts a weekly Friday After Five concert in the spring through the fall, a local favorite to kick off the weekend. The downtown pedestrian mall is one of the most successful of its kind in the country and boasts over 150 shops and award-winning restaurants. A magnet for art, music, dining, shopping and entertainment, the mall is now home to a newly renovated Paramount Theater, one of few community-supported restorations of historic theaters in the country. The 1,200 seat theater has hosted nationally-known entertainers. The 16,000 seat John Paul Jones Arena (JPJ) opened in 2006 and has already hosted national caliber events such as The Dave Matthews Band, Rod Stewart, Billy Joel and Cirque du Soleil. JPJ was recently voted as the Best New Entertainment Venue in the Country.
Other popular activities in the area include world-class tennis, golf, hiking, ballooning, horseback riding and racing, tubing, fishing, biking, camping, and the occasional hunting for antiques. The area also boasts a thriving wine touring and tasting business. The nearly 30 local vineyards make up the state’s largest collection with several wineries winning national recognition.
The diverse population of Charlottesville and the surrounding area make for a ripe ground for supernatural activity, which was one of the reasons that Russell Bennett was assigned to the area. Of the capability to be on the Senior Council, Warden Bennett turned down the opportunity time and time again- partially because of his devotion to scholarship instead of politics, but mostly because of his dedication to the area. Once he returned to the area, he knew that he would live there until he died, for it broke his heart to see what had come of the area where he was born.
Now with the Warden out of the way, and the White Council stretched thin, this diverse community is rife with suspicion and ambition- two very volatile elements on tense with anticipation of the inevitable explosion.
The Balance of Power