Michie Tavern (pronounced "micky") was established in 1784 by William Michie, a Scottish immigrant, along the well-used stagecoach trail near Earlysville (close to what is now the city of Charlottesville, Virginia). The tavern served meals and rented sleeping space to travelers as well as providing a place for locals to gather to socialize, gossip, and hear the news.
Some years later, as stagecoach travel became less frequent, the tavern descended in importance. In 1927, the tavern was purchased and moved seventeen miles to its present location near Monticello, in order to preserve it. The buildings were carefully dismantled, their parts packed and moved to the new site, and then reassembled. It is now a Virginia Historic Landmark.
The tavern's rooms can be toured by visitors, led by costumed guides. The gentlemen's parlor, ladies' parlor, and upstairs assembly room (used as a sleeping room, ballroom, schoolroom, and for holding church services) are included in the tour. Visitors may have the opportunity to write their names using a quill pen, drink an 18th century punch, and dance the Virginia Reel while in the building. The tour continues with the outbuildings behind the tavern, including the privy, smokehouse, springhouse, well, and wine cellar which now houses the small Virginia Wine Museum.
Next door, in a converted slave house, lunch is served by costumed waiters in The Ordinary every day from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm. This southern-style buffet is based on 18th century recipes. For about USD 10.00, guests can sample Colonial Fried Chicken, Black-eyed Peas, Tavern Beets, Green Bean Salad, Coleslaw, Stewed Tomatoes, Potato Salad, Homemade Biscuits and Cornbread, and have Apple Cobbler for dessert. In the winter, additional foods that may be available include Hot Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, and Garden Vegetable Soup. Any time of year, the tavern serves hot or cold cider, several Virginia wines, and traditional lagers along with the meal.
Guided tours of Historic Michie Tavern are given between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm every day. The regular admission price is USD 8.001. Besides the Tavern itself and the Ordinary, there are three shops on the property: The General Store, the Tavern Gift Shop, and the Printer's Market. The place can be very crowded, especially on summer weekends, because its well-advertised buffet attracts many of the legions of hungry people who visit Monticello every day.2
1. The "Presidents' Pass" gives admission to Michie Tavern, Monticello, and Ash Lawn-Highland for USD 22.00, which is a small savings. The Pass can be purchased at the Visitor's Center just south of I-64 on Route 20. You will pass it on the way to Monticello. The Pass is valid for a year, so you don't have to visit the three attractions on the same day.
2. I last visited Michie Tavern on 29 September 2002. Prices and hours were accurate at that time. Information about Michie Tavern can also be found at the official website: http://www.michietavern.com