WHERE: Crozet, Va.

WHY: A mind-boggling car graveyard, central Virginia's congenial music scene and a taste of what some call the best pizza in Virginia -- or even the country.

HOW FAR: About 100 miles, or two hours, from Manassas.

Countless people (and guidebooks) have called Crozet Pizza "the best." So we decided to find out whether that was true, taking a pilgrimage to the tiny railroad town located 11 miles west of Charlottesville. It turns out the local pizza parlor is so popular that you need a reservation almost any hour of the day. In the 26-year-old, two-room joint, there's nothing but pizza on the chalkboard menu, and that's just fine with the folks who cram into the dozen or so tables to eat slices off paper plates. If you're lucky, you'll see red-bearded founder Bob Crum behind the counter spinning dough over his head. On a crisp, Italian bread crust, you can have fresh spinach, meatballs, roasted red peppers, pepperoni, snow peas or a dozen other toppings. And the taste? Let's just say there's a good reason so many people make the trip to Crozet. On your drive down, stop to explore Sonny's Auto Parts, an arbored automotive junkyard; while passing the hulk of a '54 Ford pickup, you can wax nostalgic about how they don't make 'em like they used to. Then stroll around the 100-year-old chestnut tree at the Willow Grove Inn. (If you visit in October, you can collect as many fallen chestnuts as you can carry.)

On the last leg of your trip, you'll discover central Virginia's booming music landscape. On any given day, you'll find people having an informal picking party at the Music Store in Ruckersville, singing, sharing songs and giving selection tips to visitors. And at the studios of WNRN-FM in Charlottesville, one of the few truly community radio stations around, you can peruse the music library and pick out something for the DJ to play (just call first to let 'em know you're stopping by).

Eric Brace