Charlottesville was name the #1 place to live in 2004 by Sperling’s Best Places, and continues to make all sort of top-lists. The home of Thomas Jefferson and Monticello, the University of Virginia, the home of James Monroe, the Dave Matthews Band, John Grisham, Sissy Spacek, Dwayne, ‘the Rock’ Johnson among others.
But if you’re new here, it’s easy to get your pronunciations and phrasing all mixed up. We do things a little different here, so let this guide help you ease into life in the Piedmont region!
RIO ROAD: This area and road is north of central Charlottesville and home to a lot of shopping for most of the area. The temptation is to say, “REE-OH,” like the Rio Grande River, but around here? We say, “RYE-oh.”
STAUNTON: Just west of the Piedmont in the Shenandoah Valley is this small town full of great homes and …most folks see Staunton and think STAWN-ton…but the correct pronunciation is, believe it or not, “STAN-ton”. Really.
SCHUYLER: This small area sits in between both Nelson and Albemarle counties, and is best known as the home of Early Hamner, the creator of The Waltons. Lots of folks pronounce it SHOO-LER, or SHY-LER, but the correct sound is “SKY-ler.”
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Home of what is often called, ‘the most beautiful campus in the U.S.,’ UVa is in Charlottesville, and one of the three things that Thomas Jefferson wanted to be remember for (and being the President was NOT one of them…). Using the phrase ‘on campus’ is what most folks say to refer to anything that happens, well, on campus. But around here, we say “on grounds.” No campus.
FABER: Going south in Albemarle County? You may come upon a small area down here that you’ll want to pronounce FAY-BURR. But really, it’s pronounced FAAH-BER.
HENRICO COUNTY: If you’re in central Virginia, you may head east toward Richmond for shopping, beach-going and the like…when you do, you’ll go through Henrico County. Folks often say HEN-REE-CO, but that’d be shouting that you’re not from around here…It’s actually HEN-RYE-Co.
MONTICELLO: Ah, Jefferson’s home in the rolling foothills of Charlottesville. Well, most people have assumptions about the how this sounds…but there are variations, too, for locals, depending on where you grew up! Some folks say, MONA-SELL-A, or MONT-I-SELL-OH, and while the temptation may be to correct? Resist. Those are correct, too, just the local versions.
ALBEMARLE: This is the central Virgina county that is famed for UVa, Monticello and rolling horse country…but the name confounds easily…it’s AL-BUH-MAR-UL.
Every place has it’s unique quirks..how things are done, who does them…and how things are pronounced. Central Virginia is no different. If you’re lucky enough to call this area home for awhile or a lifetime…you’re lucky!