New Dominion Bookshop Rose Garden – Charlottesville, Virginia - Atlas Obscura

New Dominion Bookshop Rose Garden

Behind the oldest bookstore in Virginia lies a hidden slice of the English countryside. 


In the middle of Charlottesville’s Historic Downtown Mall, a hidden rose garden blooms every spring. Tended by the New Dominion Bookshop and a local pruner, it thrives as a natural haven beneath towering power lines and the 19th-century brick buildings of the pedestrian mall. 

New Dominion Bookshop was founded in 1924, making it the oldest bookshop in Virginia. It moved to its current location (a former shoe shop) in 1990. The owner at the time, Carol Troxell, planted the rose garden off of the 4th Street alleyway. Over the decades, it has grown into a fully mature rose garden that blossoms every May.   

Update as of March 2021: The garden is now protected by a fence but still visible. 

Update as of November 2021: There are security cameras and no trespassing signs in the garden. Please do not tresspass 

Know Before You Go

From the Bookshop, head northwest towards 4th Street. Turn left and walk until you hit the alleyway. Turn left into the alley, and the rose garden will appear shortly thereafter on your left. Please note that smoking and drinking are not allowed in the garden.

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