When I was a kid, my sister and I loved dressing up in our sun bonnets and pretending to be Ingalls girls from the Little House on the Prairie. We collected wild grasses and other pretend “food,” as if we were squirrels hoarding nuts, storing them between the two trees that made up our imaginary cabin. So dressing up and pretending to be from a distant time is like a step back into my childhood. When our hosts at Visit Charlottesville suggested a stop at the Michie Tavern for our lunch in Charlottesville VA, I didn’t realize that we would be getting not just a colonial feast, but also a chance to experience history. There aren’t many restaurants near Monticello, so it was a perfect stop before our visit to Thomas Jefferson’s home later that day.

The Michie Tavern is an 18th century tavern, which was moved from a nearby Buck Mountain and recreated in its current location in 1928, becoming a Virginia Historic Landmark. Today, you can take a self-guided tour of the oldest section of the Michie Tavern. Before entering, visitors are invited to dress up in colonial garb to make the experience feel more authentic. They have all different sizes, including one that was perfect for my little Colonial girl.Michie Tavern review -- you can dress up as a Colonial child (or adult!)

Downstairs, you can try your hand at some 18th century tavern games, which may then look familiar when you visit Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. You can also check out the kitchen and the tavern room where travelers were fed.Michie tavern review -- best lunch in Charlottesville

If you head upstairs, you can see the bedrooms were lodgers stayed, or the main entertaining room. Since we were given a guided tour, we even had a chance to learn a bit of the Virginia Reel.

It was a fun experience and created an added appreciation of the colonial feast of which we partook for lunch. The Michie Tavern is only open for a mid-day meal, but with its all-you-can-eat buffet, it may be the only meal you need. In the summer, they are open from 11:15am-3:30pm, and from November-April 1, only from 11:30am – 3pm for lunch. However, you can tour the historic tavern or visit the shops from 9am-5pm. During the summer months, the Tavern also offers 18th century lawn games from 1-4pm, making it easy for families to spend the afternoon there.

Lunch in Charlottesville VA at the Michie Tavern

Lunch itself is based on 18th century recipes, including southern fried chicken, hickory-smoked pulled pork, and marinated baked chicken. Keeping up with modern times, the pulled pork and baked chicken are both gluten-free, and most items are peanut-free (always check with your server for the latest info though!) They also offer a full spread of side dishes, from my favorite, biscuits, to mashed potatoes and gravy, black-eyed peas, stewed tomatoes, green beans, cole slaw, beets, and cornbread.

Lunch at Michie Tavern

You will definitely NOT leave hungry, but try to save a little room for dessert. The homemade peach cobbler a la mode comes in a nice small serving that is easy to squeeze in, even after such a large meal, because it is so delicious.Peach cobbler at the Michie Tavern -- Michie Tavern review

In addition to the Tavern, there are other unique stores that are housed in historic buildings, making it fun to explore. We really enjoy the distinct craftsmanship of the Metal Smith Shop, with goods in pewter, silver, copper, brass and tin. We spent plenty of time exploring the games, both new and old, at the Game and Toy Shop, and cashed in our token for a free candy stick at the General Store. Kids can also participate in Mr. Michie’s Treasure Hunt, searching for items throughout the stores. If they complete the quiz, they will receive a bag of chocolate gold coins at the General Store or Tavern Gift Shop.

Metal shop Michie tavern -- shopping and restaurants near Monitcello

If you are looking for where to eat lunch in Charlottesville VA, especially if you are visiting Monticello or James Monroe’s Ash Lawn Highland, plan a stop at the Michie Tavern. Then, at the end of the day, head up to Carter Mountain Orchard for some cider, snacks and a spectacular sunset view.

If you are visiting Monticello and Ash Lawn Highland, take advantage of the Monticello Neighborhood Pass. The Monticello Neighborhood Pass is a discount combination adult ticket to tour Monticello, Ash Lawn-Highland, and the Michie Tavern.

The Michie Tavern is located at 683 Thomas Jefferson Parkway in Charlottesville, Virginia. The adult buffet is $17.95, youth 12-15 are $10.95 and children 6-11 are $6.95. One child under six eats free for each paying adult. The Vegetarian buffet is available for $10.95. Tours for lunch patrons are $3.00 for adults and $2.00 for youth 6-11. For those looking for a tour only, adults are $6.00 and children 6-11 are $2.00. AAA Discounts are available.

PIN THIS FOR LATER

Lunch in Charlottesville VA -- If you are looking for a restaurant near Monticello, check out the historic Michie Tavern for a mid-day colonial feast and tour of this historic landmark.

Note: Our lunch and tour were hosted by Visit Charlottesville and the Michie Tavern. All opinions are my own.