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The most convenient chain hotels to Monticello, Ash Lawn-Highland, and Michie Tavern are the Holiday Inn Monticello (tel. 800/465-4329 or 434/977-5100), a full-service hotel with restaurant and bar, and a Sleep Inn & Suites (tel. 800/424-6423 or 434/244-9969). Both are on 5th Street Extended just north of I-64. The Hilton Garden Inn, on U.S. 250 north of I-64 (tel. 877/STAY-HGI [782-9444] or 434/979-4442), is a recent addition to Charlottesville's hotel inventory.

The traffic-signal encrusted commercial strip along U.S. 29 north of the U.S. 250 bypass (Charlottesville's major suburban growth area) is lined with an ever-expanding multitude of shopping centers, chain motels, and restaurants. Here you will find the Doubletree Hotel Charlottesville (tel. 800/494-7596 or 434/973-2121), the area's best-equipped suburban hotel, and a comfortable Courtyard by Marriott (tel. 800/321-2211 or 434/973-7100), which abuts the Fashion Square Mall. Others along U.S. 29 north include Comfort Inn (tel. 800/228-5150 or 434/293-6188), Econo Lodge North (tel. 800/553-2666 or 434/295-3185), Hampton Inn (tel. 800/426-7866 or 434/978-7888), Holiday Inn University Area (tel. 800/465-4329 or 434/293-9111), Fairfield Inn by Marriott (tel. 800/228-2800 or 434/964-9411), and Super 8 (tel. 800/800-8000 or 434/973-0888).

Avoiding the Crowds in Charlottesville -- The two visitor centers operated by the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau make same-day, discounted lodging reservations. It's a good way to save, provided you are willing to take the risk of not having a room reserved in advance. Do not try this during University of Virginia events such as football games, graduation, and parents' weekends, when the town is packed and all accommodations are packed. You may not want to be in Charlottesville then -- or make your reservations as far in advance as possible. You will also pay premium rates at these times. Check the schedules at www.virginia.edu.

Bed & Breakfast Accommodations

Guesthouses Reservation Service, Inc., P.O. Box 5737, Charlottesville, VA 22905 (tel. 434/979-7264; www.va-guesthouses.com), handles bed-and-breakfast accommodations in elegant homes and private cottages. The office is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm.

A block north of the Downtown Mall, the elegant 200 South Street Inn, 200 South St. (tel. 800/964-7008 or 434/979-0200; www.southstreetinn.com), occupies a stately 1856 house that has seen previous duty as private residence, girls finishing school, and brothel. More rooms are in an 1890-vintage house next door.

Hog Heaven -- Despite a name that conjures up images of barbecue in these parts, vegetarians and vegans will find their own hog heaven 23 miles south of Charlottesville at The White Pig Bed and Breakfast at Briar Creek Farm, 5120 Irish Rd., Schuyler, VA 22696 (tel. 434/831-1416; www.thewhitepig.com). Norman, the owners' pet white pig, will never be over the coals; breakfasts and Saturday dinners at this retreat are strictly vegan.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.