Wednesday, June 15, 2011


C at the fish pond in front of Monticello

We were able to visit Monticello, home to Thomas Jefferson, on the day we spent driving from SC to VA. We enjoyed getting to see the beautiful Virginia countryside. It was late afternoon, around 3pm when we arrived, but we were able to take a tour through the house and walk around the grounds before closing time (6pm). Sadly, we didn’t have enough time to peruse the Visitor’s Center but we will be planning to take the boys back when they are a bit older and can appreciate and understand the history of Jefferson.

The fish pond outside of the home was used to keep fish until they were ready to be served for dinner. Pretty much every detail was well thought out! Thomas Jefferson was very detail oriented and a logical thinker, and even had his own version of the Bible in which he clipped out parts that he did not agree with. Of course he is best known as his role for founding father and president, or as W knows him, the guy on the nickel.

It was interesting to learn how much the French culture made an impact on Jefferson’s life, including many things which he incorporated into Monticello such as built in bedsteads with closets/walls on the side of the bed to take advantage of the space in the room. He was a tall man and the bed was built just tall enough with a couple of inches to spare. They also have displays dedicated to the Lewis & Clark expedition which Thomas Jefferson sponsored. In the foyer there is an interesting mix of Native American relics and inspirational artwork. 

one of the many butterflies we saw

The grounds of the home include impressive gardens and a walking trail to the cemetery where Jefferson and his family are buried. It was a hot day but the shaded paths were a welcome place for a walk. There are foundations of slave cabins along the garden path, and I was glad that they included this important history in the tour and didn't gloss over it, despite Jefferson's many accomplishments he was a slaveholder his entire life not to mention his connection with the Hemings family.

W views the garden after cooling off in the sprinkler

Charlottesville, VA is a college town, home to the Jefferson-founded University of Virginia, and we drove by and saw his statue there on the way to the hotel. We took the boys swimming at the pool there and then had another early start the next morning to Pennsylvania Dutch Country, aka Lancaster County. More on that in the next post.


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