Directions to Regular CAS Meeting and Observing Locations
From the North (D.C. Area):
Take Highway 29 South towards Charlottesville. Continue past the Albemarle/Charlottesville Airport. UVa Sports Complex signs will guide you in the right direction. Pass the 250/29 Bypass, staying on 29 Business (also called Emmet Street). Turn right onto Ivy Road (250 Business). Turn left onto Alderman Road. Just before the football stadium, turn right (West) onto McCormick Road. At the first stop sign on McCormick Road, bear a little to the left to continue on McCormick Road. At the top of the hill there are large water storage tanks and a second stop sign. Turn right at this stop sign and continue up the hill to the observatory.
From All Other Directions:
Take Interstate 64 (East or West) towards Charlottesville. Take the Highway 29 exit to Charlottesville. You will be on the 250/29 Bypass. Get off at Fontaine Avenue (29 Business). Head north to the first traffic light. Turn left there onto Maury Avenue, which becomes Alderman Road at the 4-way stop. Continue past the stadium to the next traffic light, which is McCormick Road. Turn left (west) onto McCormick Road. At the first stop sign on McCormick Road, bear a little to the left to continue on McCormick Road. At the top of the hill there are large water storage tanks and a second stop sign. Turn right at this stop sign and continue up the hill to the observatory.
Ivy Creek Natural Area
Ivy Creek is on Earlysville Road just North of the Rio Rd/Hydraulic/Earlysville Road intersection and just South of the Reservoir. Ivy Creek Natural area closes at dusk. Occasionally, CAS conducts public astronomy talks and star parties at Ivy Creek Natural Area. See Events Calendar for scheduled events.
From the 29 North area, take Rio Road West toward Albemarle High School. Turn right onto Earlysville Road. Go about 1/2 to 1 mile. The entrance will be on the left (west) side of the road.
Route 29 South, just North of Nelson County. For scheduled events only.
From Charlottesville take 29 South. After you pass the interstate 64 overpass keep going for about 13-14 miles. When you see Rt. 633 you’re very close. When you see Rt. 805 (immediately after 633), take a left across the 29 median strip and turn into Fan Mountain Rd. You will cross railroad tracks — please use caution.
Fan Mountain Road is a narrow, winding gravel/dirt road. It is 3 miles to the top.
On Skyline Drive just North of Big Meadows.
Take 29 North to Route 33. Take a left (west) on Rt. 33. Take Rt. 33 to the top of the mountain. Turn right into the Shenandoah National Park entrance (there is a bridge you go under just prior to the entrance). Almost immediately you will see the toll gates which will hopefully say “pay when you leave” in the window. If you arrive before dark, you will have to pay an entrance fee.
Turn left (north) onto Skyline Drive, going towards Big Meadows. It is 15 miles (about 30 minutes) to Big Meadows. Upper Hawksbill Parking Area (not Hawksbill Gap) is at milepost 46.7, about 4.5 miles north of Big Meadows.
On Skyline Drive just South of Route 33.
Take 29 North to Rt. 33. Take a left (west) on Rt. 33. Take Rt. 33 to the top of the mountain. Turn right into the Shenandoah National Park entrance (there is a bridge you go under just prior to the entrance). Almost immediately you will see the toll gates which will hopefully say “pay when you leave” in the window. If you arrive before dark, you will have to pay an entrance fee.
Turn right (south) onto Skyline Drive. Go 4-5 miles, just past milepost 70, until you encounter the Eaton overlook on the right side of the road.
Spy Mountain Overlook
On the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mile Post 26 (26 miles South of Afton Mountain) is Spy Mountain Overlook. During the Spring this is one of the few locations to view Omega Centauri from in Central Virginia (But the weather and date needs to be just right to see this Southern Hemisphere object). There is ample parking and a elevated grassy area that prevents any headlights from the drive being much of a bother.
The Wood Ridge Farm Brewery
IMPORTANT: Please call Barry Wood before coming out.
The brewery is located at 165 Old Ridge Road, North of Lovingston. From Charlottesville, proceed South
on U.S. 29 for about 25 miles (from the intersection with I-64). After passing into Nelson County, you’ll
go over two more hills, then pass a Wayside on your left. You’ll be on a level section of highway, curving
gently to the left, with turnoffs to Rt. 6 on the right. Notice an Exxon station coming up on the right.
Take the last LEFT (across the median) before you get to the Exxon. There are pennants advertising
beer/brewery on the northbound side of Rt. 29, at the road where you turn left.
After about 1000 ft. travel on this small road you’ll come upon an EXTREMELY SHARP RIGHT TURN. After
you’ve rounded the bend, continue a similar distance and straight ahead you’ll see the gate to the
brewery property, with a sign above and across the driveway “WOODRIDGE FARM BREWERY.” The road
curves to the right at this point, but you will go straight ahead, onto the brewery property.
This year we are observing only to the East of the Brewery, towards (or sometimes even beyond) “field
B” on the map. Use of field A has been deprecated (and no longer shows on the detail map). If your
session is one for outreach coordinated with the brewery, we set up immediately to the East of the
brewery, in a line that is between the brewery and field B. Astronomers would set up about twenty to
thirty feet apart along that line. On the map, the letters in the word “OUTREACH” show approximate
positions of where individual astronomers would set up.
Ideally we would have eVscope and other electronic scope users set up closer, and those with larger,
purely visual scopes set up farther from the brewery. This way, as visitors first come out towards the
astronomers, they will first observe screen images that are easily seen with eyes that are not yet dark
adapted. Those visitors that have a continued and deeper interest can then proceed along the line,
going ever further into the darkness. As they do so, their eyes become dark adapted to better
appreciate the visual views in the telescopes further to the East.
If the session is not for outreach, or you are just coming out as an individual seeking dark skies, then you
can set up in “Observing field B” as shown on the map.
Directions: After climbing up the brewery driveway and some buildings on the left, turn left at the first
opportunity, which takes you around and past the last building on the left. You’ll be heading East,
towards and then past a wide field. Continue on this road towards the East, then as it bears right (to the
South), you will travel another 100ft. and be in the observing area B. When doing an outreach session,
from here turn back towards the brewery, driving onto the grass directly towards the brewery, and
when you park at your observing position, please face your car North. Near to the brewery, the
electronic scope operators should set up behind your car, so you can bee seen from the brewery. But if
you’re setting up further East, for dark sky visual observations, you might consider setting up to the East
side of your vehicle, as the taproom produces a fair bit of glare, and your vehicle might provide some
shade from that glare. However, then you are less visible to visitors that are heading down the line. It’s
up to you.
Note: If you see RV’s parked closer in to the Brewery, please keep quiet.