In and around Hoo-ville: Sunset Series at Carter’s Mountain

Soaking up the end of summer

A warm breeze blew across the mountain top, as college students and families sat on picnic blankets, laughing in the sunset with wine glasses in hand. From this vantage point, you can see across all of Charlottesville, out to the University and neighborhoods and even into the Shenandoah Valley. As you sit on the slightly-sloping hill, live local music floats down from the porch above as you indulge in fresh cinnamon doughnuts, local Bold Rock hard cider — if you’re over 21 — and homemade peach and vanilla ice creams. Old couples, young couples with young children, dog owners and student groups alike trickle in and fill the hill by about 7 p.m. until the sun sets over the city you all share. Oh, and it’s free.

Cheesy enough for you? Welcome to Sunset Series — the pinnacle of good living in Charlottesville.

Every Thursday between mid-May and late September, a wide range of Charlottesville citizens collect on the top of Carter Mountain for drinks made from locally harvested ingredients and homemade desserts and to listen to music against the backdrop of the setting sun. It sounds like it was stolen straight from a corny teen novella, but nope, it happens 15 minutes from Grounds.

My group left around 5:30 p.m. to ensure a good parking spot and spacious area on the hill. The older kids got drinks while I munched on fresh and savory peach ice cream. I brought a Roots bowl for dinner, which somehow tastes even better in the open air, on a blanket, on a warm fall night. Trust me on this one. By 7 p.m., the place was packed with student groups, couples and families soaking up the last bit of summer.

We listened to Oh Wow, Boy!, a folksy trio who markets themselves as “retro Americana,” which made me feel like I had teleported back to the countryside in the 1940’s. Their cello, washboard and mandolin added so much to the ambiance. One of my friends brought her DSLR, so I’m speaking from experience when I say Charlottesville provides a beautiful backdrop for any and all of your Instagram needs. Finally, around 7 p.m., we witnessed a gorgeous, illuminating sunset that engulfed our entire town.

So you’re excited right? Making plans to take a trip up the mountain on Thursday? Well I hate to say that, unfortunately, Sunset Series is over for 2016. It’s a wonderful part of the C’Ville summer experience, and we’re just lucky that it leaks into our academic year. I’ll likely be there on opening day in May, so I’d love to see some fellow Hoos there with me!

A little soccer/ankle incident kept me off of the trails this week, but I’m coming for ‘em! Follow me next week as I explore the woods with a friend from the real live Outdoors Club. This should be a good one, folks.

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