Remember the Crozet Shopping Center Murals?

Wouldn’t it be great to have more art in Crozet?

I commented the other day about the potential for a new mural in Crozet, and was reminded of the murals in the IGA/Great Valu/Crozet Market shopping center.

The day I noticed they were being painted over, I rode my bicycle through and took some pictures; they’re not great photos, and I’m hopeful that someone else took good pictures, but at least I got a couple to remember the art.

More public art makes for a happier place to live.

Related Instagram post and Facebook post.

Albemarle Board of Supervisors Meeting – 5-17-2023 –

Bicycles and train in Crozet

When I think about it, I dig into the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors’ agendas to see what Crozet-specific information is being discussed. Why? Because I live here, and, knowing this stuff helps me better represent clients buying or selling in and around Crozet.

Anything jump out at you in their agenda?

Here’s what I found

  • Looks like they are updating the Beaver Creek Dam Supplemental Watershed Plan Agreement
  • The VDOT/Albemarle County FY 24-29 Secondary Six-Year Plan Public Hearing looks interesting.
  • So does VDOT’s May report. Looks like the very-much-needed 240/250 Roundabout will be advertised for bids in Winter 2024.
    • I’d be curious to see what current traffic counts are.
      • During construction, VDOT proposes to close Route 680 to through traffic between Route 250 and Route 802 (Old Three Notched Road) with a posted detour. Traffic would be detoured via Route 240 to Route 802 for about two months.  
      • Approximately 7,000 vehicles use Route 240 near the intersection, according to 2017 data. The traffic count on Route 250 is about 10,000 vehicles and Route 680 carries about 580 vehicles per day.
    • “I-64 Exit 107 Park and Ride” to be advertised in 2024.
    • “Rte. 680 Browns Gap Turnpike Bridge Replacement over Lickinghole Creek” will be advertised in 2025.
  • Completed Studies
    • “250/1815 Old Trail – Pavement Markings – Crosswalk markings to be installed Spring 2023.”
    • “1815 Old Trail at Bishop Gate Ln. – Pavement Markings – Mid-block crosswalk and ADA ramps to be installed Summer 2023.”
  • Studies Under Review
    • “Route 240 at Music City Today and Starr Hill Brewery – Pedestrian Crossing – Field investigation complete; Plans have been finalized, estimated cost approximately $153k” – my comment: how in the world is this not a priority?

The Scouts and Crozet

Sugar Hollow

I was talking to a friend recently and while I’ve never been a Scout, I do carry a Swiss Army knife and a bandana at all times, I also recognize that community needs groups like the Scouts. In-person community, friends, skills all matter, and the more off-screen interaction we can foster and encourage, the better.

Learn more at, enter their zip code, and find the unit closest to them.

From Adam Sowers, Cubmaster, Pack 79:

Just to give you a little background on Scouting in the area, I am the Cubmaster for Pack 79 in Crozet. We are a full-family Cub Pack, meaning we have had girls and boys from age 5-11 in the pack ever since the BSA allowed girls into the program in 2017. We are a fairly large pack, with 64 currently on our roster after crossing over 14 scouts into troops last month. We meet monthly as a pack and the kids are further divided into dens by year in school. We go camping a few times per year and also have annual events like the Pinewood Derby and Blue and Gold banquet. We march in the Crozet Independence Day and Christmas parades, and perform community service throughout the area.

After Cub Scouts, those continuing on to Scouts BSA (what we used to call Boy Scouts) will find a troop to join. Troop 79 (boys age 11-17) is also active in Crozet with around 40 boys. Up until recently, Pack/Troop 79 were chartered with Crozet United Methodist Church. Because of the fallout from the recent bankruptcy/reorganization plan for national BSA, the UMC has decided to cease chartering units nationwide, although CUMC has graciously still allowed us to meet there. The Pack has also been meeting regularly at Crozet Park since the pandemic began. The park has been a great partner in giving us space to meet under the pavilions, where we were able to meet outside and practice social distancing at a time where anywhere inside wasn’t really an option.

There are a few other Scouting units in the area as well: Pack 114 meets at Ivy Elementary (former Meriwether Lewis) and Troop 114 at St. Paul’s Episcopal church in Ivy with over 50 active youth. We now have an all-girl BSA troop (3125) that was founded when girls from our pack crossed over from Cub Scouting into Scouts BSA. They have exploded in number from 4 to 16 (or maybe more– every meeting there seems to be a new face) in one year. They meet alongside Troop 114 in Ivy.

Youth aged 14-20 are able to join an older Scouting program called Venturing. Over the mountain in Waynesboro, a new Venturing Crew has formed and many of the older Scouts in Western Albemarle have joined the Crew. Venturing is less about advancement and more about high adventure and leadership.

As you can see, Scouting is very much alive and well in our area!

I am happy to explain more or answer any questions you may have. On a somewhat related note, I recently featured some of our camp staff from nearby Camp Shenandoah on our council podcast. I was captivated by the stories they had to tell, and the dedication they have to carrying the program forward for other youth to enjoy.

CCAC Meeting – 10 May 2023

Morning in Crozet

Last month’s CCAC meeting was interesting. I’m curious how many people will attend this week’s meeting.

Water is a big topic, and one that will become of greater interest in the coming years.


via email, from Joe Fore, CCAC Chair:

The Crozet Community Advisory Committee will meet next Wednesday, May 10, at 7 pm in the large meeting room at the Crozet Library. (If you can arrive a few minutes early to help set up the room, it will help ensure that we can start promptly at 7.) I’ve attached the agenda and the April meeting minutes. 

Our main agenda item will be an update from the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority about their Crozet-area projects. I’ve asked them to share their meeting materials ahead of time, but they’re not quite ready. I’ll circulate those when I get them.

We’ll have time for some committee business. We’ll debrief the Oak Bluff community meeting and talk, more generally, about our procedures for holding future community meetings. We’ll also have time to discuss our summer meeting schedule and potential topics for those meetings. We will also circle back to an idea we discussed several months ago: tracking previously discussed development projects. I’ve attached a PDF version of a document we can use to divvy up and track those projects.

Lastly, we’ll be electing officers for the upcoming year. We have three positions available: Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary. Please let me know before Wednesday’s meeting if you’d be interested in taking on any of those roles–or if you have any other items you’d like to add to the agenda.

Attachments below

In a near-first, we have a copy of the presentation *before* the meeting.

Spring 2023 Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival

Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival Tent - from 2019

Yes, it’s a press release, and yes, the Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival is one of the best things about Crozet.

Also yes, yes you should walk or ride to the Festival rather than driving. 🙂

CROZET, VA Over 130 Artists and Exhibitors are coming to Crozet Park for the 43rd Annual Crozet Spring Arts and Crafts Festival! Recognized as one of the region’s leading fine arts and craft shows, the Crozet Arts & Craft Festival will be held rain or shine on Mother’s Day Weekend, Saturday and Sunday May 13 & 14, from 10 am to 5:30 pm on Saturday and 10 am to 5:00 pm on Sunday. The event is family and pet-friendly.

Top artists from across the country vied to be a part of this bi-annual event. From a large pool of creative candidates, a panel of talented and professional artist jurors chose the best in each arts category. Many new artists will join the seasoned and returning favorites of the past. This year’s exhibitors will bring to Crozet an array of stunning jewelry, trendsetting apparel and leather, magnificent artwork, photography and exceptionally crafted glass, ceramics, sculpture, and more. Festival guests will find something for almost every taste and pocketbook, ranging from affordable gift giving to heirloom investments.

The festival’s fine arts and crafts will be complemented by a variety of local musicians playing throughout the weekend:

Saturday May 13
10a-11a Vicky Lee
11:30a-12:30p Gina Sobel
1p – 3p Tara Mills
3:30p-5:30p Wicked Olde

Sunday May 14
10a-11a BRIMS
11:30a-12:15p Skyline Country Cloggers
12:30p-2:30p Koda & Maria from Chamomile & Whiskey
3p-5p The Judy Chops

An appetizing selection of Food Trucks will be complemented by local beers and wines. Spring specials this May include wine tasting from noon-2p on both Saturday and Sunday with Knight’s Gambit, Hazy Mountain Vineyard, and Grace Estate Winery. Other attractions include live artisan demos, family photography mini-sessions, and a make-your-own bouquet station. The children’s area includes beloved musical guests Kim and Jimbo Cary, Bounce Play n Create, The Bluebird Bookstop, art activities, and more!

The Crozet Arts and Crafts Festival takes place at Crozet Park. Located just off the Route 64 bypass, take exit #107 west of Charlottesville. Crozet Park is a beautiful, community-owned non-profit park and the beneficiary of the Art Festival. The event is rain for shine and tickets can be purchased online or at the gate.Children 12 and under are free and parking is free. Tickets are available here.

Detailed event information is available here.

Volunteer opportunities are available here.

Thinking about Places and Spaces

Eastern Connector & Basketball hoops - April 2023

“At any moment, about one out of every two Americans is experiencing measurable levels of loneliness. This includes introverts and extroverts, rich and poor, and younger and older Americans. Sometimes loneliness is set off by the loss of a loved one or a job, a move to a new city, or health or financial difficulties — or a once-in-a-century pandemic.

When people are socially disconnected, their risk of anxiety and depression increases. So does their risk of heart disease (29 percent), dementia (50 percent), and stroke (32 percent). The increased risk of premature death associated with social disconnection is comparable to smoking daily — and may be even greater than the risk associated with obesity.

Loneliness and isolation hurt whole communities. Social disconnection is associated with reduced productivity in the workplace, worse performance in school, and diminished civic engagement. When we are less invested in one another, we are more susceptible to polarization and less able to pull together to face the challenges that we cannot solve alone — from climate change and gun violence to economic inequality and future pandemics.

NYTimes, 4/30/2023

Basketball Courts

At last month’s CCAC meeting the residents of Westlake voiced their opposition to the proposed Oak Bluff development. I have no doubt that eventually, houses will be approved and built there. And with any luck, I will represent people buying or selling in there.

But, I’ve not been able to stop thinking about one of the comments about space where they gather, have food trucks, and play basketball.

… asking where will be basketball courts.

A: We will have programmed area, but I don’t know.

“We don’t know.”

Places and spaces where people can congregate – to nurture and become a community – are critical.

We – builders, developers, local government, people – spend a lot of time considering what type of houses will be built (and often falling victim to inertia, and building what has sold, rather than what would sell), and not enough time designing for the community. Not just the Oak Bluff and/or Westlake, and/or Westhall, but for the Crozet community.

Look, we all knew, or should have known, that the Eastern Connector was going to go there.

I also know that I don’t own the land, so my opinion is just that.

One of the comments during the meeting was that Westlake was to have had a pool and programmable space; there is none there now, and the residents have claimed the only space available — unfortunately, it’s not theirs to claim permanently.

As a community member, I feel for our neighbors in those communities. As a Realtor, I know that houses are products – products that are made better and more marketable by proximity to stuff, whether that stuff be shops, restaurants, parks, trails, or gathering places.

Park Road in 2011
Park Road in 2011

Read more: Thinking about Places and Spaces

I wrote in 2018

Garages and Neighborhood Activation

Houses in neighborhoods without garages have more neighbors that know, and spend time with, each other.  it’s an interesting theory, and one on which I’d love to see some data. Lacking the data, I’ll share three nuggets.

  1. Years ago, I was waiting for clients on the front porch of a house on a cul-de-sac; each house had a garage. It was around 6 o’clock, as people were coming home from work. I watched as people drove home, opened the garage, pulled inside, closed the garage, and turned off outside lights. Awful.
  2. A client recently shared that another client had mentioned how she’d lived in different parts of the same neighborhood. Of the three parts, the part with the most active neighbors in which she had lived was the one with no garages. Like it or not, people were forced out of their houses, whether only from the car to the front door, or car to mailbox to front door … they were put in a position to interact and engage with their neighbors.
  3. And … countering the above hypothesis, I can point out numerous streets with garages that are littered with children and adults.

Crozet Trails Meeting – 27 April 2023

Bench by water on Crozet Trails

The Crozet Trails remain one of the absolute best things in and about Crozet. And the people who build, maintain, plan the trails are amazing, too!

From the Crozet Trails Crew email

What’s In This Email

Trails Crew Monthly Meeting April 27
Can You Mow This Summer?
Picture from Guided Trail Walk to Lickinghole Basin
WAHS students’ painting project at pedestrian tunnel
We Have Bartenders!

Monthly Meeting Thursday, April 27

I promised to let you know whether we would meet at the brewery or at Crozet Park. I’m throwing my trust behind the weather app that tells me Thursday’s rain will hold off until later that night, so we’ll meet at Pro Re Nata, 6135 Rockfish Gap Turnpike, Crozet, at 6:30. Come a little earlier if you want to order something to eat or drink while we meet.

We welcome anyone who is interested in getting involved, or just learning about, the work (and fun) of the Trails Crew! If you’re new to Crozet, and haven’t yet found the trails, here’s your chance to meet some great people. Our next meeting will be Thursday, April 27, 6:30-8:00 p.m. outdoorsat Pro Re Nata. I will do my best to find a table in easy view of the big parking lot, but if you are planning on coming and want my phone number in case you need to text, send an email to [email protected]

If you’re looking for an opportunity to get involved in Crozet, and want to do something that’s fun, rewarding, and sociable, our meeting is a great place.

We Need a Person to Mow Near the Basin
The part of the trail from Western Ridge out to Lickinghole Basin is not accessible to the county’s big mowers, so the Trails Crew is responsible. We need a volunteer to mow that section regularly this growing season (now to October). We have positioned a mower in the area, so you don’t have to move it to the trail. We will pay for fuel. Basically it takes about an hour once or twice a month, at your convenience. Can you mow this year?

If you’re willing, or want more information, send an email to [email protected].Guided Trail Walk to Lickinghole BasinA dozen of us took a nice long walk out to the basin last week. Yes, we saw the eagle!

Are you interested in another guided trail walk? Send your ideas about where you want to explore our greenway.

Several people standing on a trail looking off towards the left. Some have binoculars
WAHS Day of Service to Benefit the Crozet Connector Trail
Big THANKS! to the Western Albemarle students and their teachers who came out to paint the pedestrian tunnel on the Crozet Connector Trail on April 17. 

7 students and 2 teachers standing in front of the newly painted entrance to the pedestrian tunnel
Thank You For Filling Up the Bartending Schedule
You did it! We have a full schedule for serving wine and beer at the Arts Festival at Crozet Park on Mother’s Day weekend. Thank you all for showing Crozet what we’re good at. 
If the weather is good, we could probably use an extra pair of hands or two in the busy afternoons, so feel free to stop by and offer to help.
More About the Crozet Trails CrewMore about Crozet Trails, such as mapscurrent projects, and info about our annual 5K race, is available on our web site at CrozetTrailsCrew.orgAlso: Follow us on Facebook

Oak Bluff at the CCAC – April 2023

One of the best things about the CCAC holding meetings at the Crozet Library is the hard stoppage time. It’s one of the worst things also when we have meeting for a big proposed development. More people attended this CCAC meeting at the Library than I recall ever having attended.

Would be great if all of the people who attended the meeting, and who read this post, or live in Crozet, gave a few dollars to the Crozet Fireworks fund.

Read the Tweets here.

I’m sure the Crozet Gazette will have a story next month, but for now …

Watch the meeting.


Timeline for Oak Bluff

    • Community meeting: 12 April 2023
    • Staff Review Comments: Due to the Applicant April 24, 2023
    • Applicant can proceed to Planning Commission or request deferral to work on revisions
    • Planning Commission Public Hearing: To be scheduled
    • Board of Supervisors Public Hearing: To be scheduled

Everyone should watch Tim Tolson’s background and history of the Crozet Community Association; they have done remarkable work for our community

Continue reading “Oak Bluff at the CCAC – April 2023”

White Hall School Board Race – Joann McDermid

Birds, sunrise over mountains in Crozet

Hawes Spencer at the Daily Progress has a great story this morning about the newest School Board Candidate, Joann McDermid. Make sure to read the whole thing.

There’s a new Albemarle County School Board candidate pushing for academic achievement. Joann McDermid burst onto the scene Wednesday morning with complaints about student performance in her White Hall District.

“I feel a real sense of urgency about this situation,” she said to the crowd of eight gathered at her campaign launch on the steps of the Albemarle County Office Building. “The objective data underscores widespread problems.”

McDermid announced that she would convene a pair of casual community meetings over complimentary coffee next Wednesday. One is slated for 10 a.m. at Piedmont Store in White Hall, and the other is set for 1 p.m. at Grit Coffee on Old Trail Drive in Crozet.

See who’s donating what and to whom at VPAP. Keep in mind that there are two candidates for the at-large school board seat as well. Good story from the Crozet Gazette on candidate Meg Bryce.

Local elections matter more than ever.

Keeping White Hall Supervisor Donations Local

Beaver Creek Reservoir in the morning during crew practice

I’ll post any press release from any candidate for the White Hall Supervisors race.

One of the best tools available for getting insight into local races – School Board, Board of Supervisors, and more, is The Virginia Public Access Project.

Looking forward to the VPAP Campaign Finance update.*

An interesting press release from Brad Rykal, candidate for White Hall Board of Supervisors:

CROZET, VA — Brad Rykal, a Crozet resident and independent candidate for White Hall Supervisor, has declared he will not accept campaign donations from developers or other special interest groups.

“A lot of money came in from developers and special interest groups in the last election. Let’s face it, politicians who accept money from outside interests often end up doing their bidding rather than representing the people who elected them,” Rykal said. “I’m not going to be anyone’s pawn. I’m here to serve White Hall, not the highest bidder.”

Rykal believes that special interests have an outsized influence on local politics, often deploying lobbyists and other covert influence tactics to steer policies in their favor. “I encourage public-private partnerships in local government, but we need to be mindful of whose interests we’re serving,” he said.

To increase transparency in local government, Rykal is calling on all candidates for local office to refuse donations from special interest groups. “Let’s put the ‘public’ back in ‘public service’,” he quipped.

Rykal also hopes that by refusing to accept special interest money, he can help amplify the voices of White Hall residents. “We’ve all had enough of the same old song and dance,” he said. “Let’s turn up the volume on what really matters: good governance and putting people first.”

Since announcing his candidacy, Rykal has been connecting with White Hall residents and small business owners. He’s been on a “listening tour” to understand their needs and find ways to improve County services. The campaign is now organizing casual front yard gatherings for small groups of neighbors to informally meet and chat. If you’re interested in hosting a gathering for your community, contact the campaign through their website at or call 1-866-BRAD4WH. Let’s work together to build a better White Hall!

Many years ago, I was the Chair of the local Realtors’ Realtor Political Action Committee (RPAC). (I have long since stopped participating and donating to them).

I was young and naive, and I questioned why we were giving money to both sides of a race. The answer from an older, wisened person was simple, “If they do, we have to.”

I hate that part of politics, and it’s refreshing to see this attempt at transparency and forgoing of money in politics.

Did you know that in 2023 donors in Albemarle County have given nearly $4 million political candidates? And donors in Charlottesville have given nearly $500K? Always interesting.

Continue reading “Keeping White Hall Supervisor Donations Local”