out and about in charlottesville, virginia

Michie Tavern, Charlottesville, Virginia

Recently, when my parents were visiting from Hawai’i, we drove out to beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia.

Our main objective was lunch at Michie Tavern — an 18th century colonial rest stop serving Southern specialties based on historic recipes. I had been to Charlottesville several times before, thoroughly enjoying Monticello and the University of Virginia campus, but this was our first time at the Tavern. I thought it would be fun to dine near the homes of Jefferson, Monroe, and Madison. Very presidential!

Michie only does a buffet lunch; people wait in line and enter the restaurant at the right of the building. The two hour drive was definitely worth it — take a look at the Bill of Fare:

Colonial Fried Chicken
Hickory Smoked Pork Barbecue
Murphy’s Biscuits
Michie Tavern Corn Bread
Black-eyed Peas
Green Bean Salad
Southern Beets
Stewed Tomatoes
Cole Slaw
Potato Salad
Garden Vegetable Soup
Crispy Peach Cobbler

The fried chicken was so delicious, we all had seconds, but then we were too full to try the peach cobbler for dessert. No matter, I purchased a Michie Tavern Cookbook (cookbooks are my favorite souveniers), and made a batch the other day.

Though they call it a “cobbler,” I would call it a “crisp.” I always thought cobblers had a pie crust on top. Anyway, there’s a pancake-like batter that you pour into the bottom of the baking dish, then you layer the peaches over that, and finally sprinkle the topping over all. Absolutely heavenly!

especially for Sara Lewis Holmes, peach lover



1 T softened butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk


1/2 cup brown sugar
2 T melted butter
2 T sugar
2 T flour
1 cup oats

3 cups sliced peaches

To make batter, cream butter and sugar with mixer in small bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Set aside. To make topping, mix all ingredients except oats. Add those last and stir until mixed. Butter 2-quart casserole. Pour in batter. Spoon peaches gently on top but do not stir. Sprinkle topping over mixture evenly. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes until topping begins to brown and batter is set.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Note: If using fresh peaches, slice and simmer in saucepan over low heat until peaches are tender. You may add 1/4 cup sugar if peaches are not ripe.

~ from A Taste of the 18th Century by Paxson Collins MacDonald and Cynthia Marie Conte (Michie Tavern ca.1784, 2006).

*Freaky cool sidenote: While the cobbler was baking, I got the munchies, so I reached for my new favorite snack: Paul Newman’s Alphabet Cookies. My new game is that I grab a random handful from the bag to see what words I can spell, just in case the powers above are trying to send me any cryptic messages.

Guess what letters came out?

Acckkk! I scared myself!! I mean, what are the chances?

All in all, a lovely day.


23 thoughts on “out and about in charlottesville, virginia

  1. I’m going to come over right now and join you in a plate of cobbler, ‘kay?
    I love that you showed us your chicken dinner. I remember so many similar church suppers in the South. I’m wondering…Would you ever consider doing a series on Southern cooking? (One of the many things I find so interesting is the difference between Dixie and Yankee cornbread…)


  2. You drove half a mile from my house but you didn’t come see me!
    I was JUST thinking about Michie Tavern yesterday–my friend is taking me out for my birthday six weeks late and I was trying to think of somewhere I hadn’t been for a long time.


  3. You’d better hurry. Only a little cobbler left! Southern cooking does sound like a good monthly theme, doesn’t it? What I like most about doing these themes is how much I learn. I have a favorite cornbread recipe, but don’t know whether it would be considered Yankee or Southern!


  4. You mean you didn’t see me waving as we drove by?
    Birthday fried chicken sounds good to me. Charlottesville is such a fabulous place to live — you are SO lucky. We also drove up a steep mountain road to the apple picking orchard — Apple Valley (?), I think it was called. Enjoyed some nice cold cider. Yum!


  5. Hat tip to Breakfast Bear for the icon. 🙂
    Funny story: A few years back, I ate breakfast at Potter’s Kitchen, a country diner in rural Mississippi. I ordered scrambled eggs, and asked for dry toast (whole wheat, please) on the side. The aproned waitress tapped her order pad. “Honey, you’re in the South. Want a biscuit?” It wasn’t a question, so much as a statement of intent.


  6. What a fantastic-looking place! (Not to mention the food. :D) Also, it was lovely to see a photo of you. Thanks, as always, for sharing. My former HS German teacher lived briefly in Charlottesville; when I lived in DC, I drove down one autumn weekend to see her. Only got a quick glimpse of UVA, and not of Monticello at all, but it was still a really lovely place.


  7. It really is gorgeous this time of year. We had perfect weather that day, too. Jefferson, Monroe and Madison knew exactly what they were doing when they built homes there.


  8. I have this weird desire to write a poem or something with a quill (or maybe just dip it into the ink and draw with it). But…can you imagine a world without the magic of cut and paste?


Comments are closed.