Saturday, October 1, 2011

Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's House, Charlottesville, VA

Friday, 9/30/11 - We arrive at our Coast to Coast park, Stoney Creek Campground in Greenville, VA a straight shot south on I-81 from Gettysburg. A very nice park overlooking a large, beautiful lake. About an hour after we arrived all the power in the park went off, yikes not a good sign. But it turned out great, Will went over to our next door neighbor, also Will and wife Becky and asked about the power. Pretty soon another neighbor called and said they were building a big fire and for all of us to come down....which we did. It's not raining here but it's cold and we relish the idea of sitting around a big fire tonight. It was great fun and they enjoyed having us there. They told us about lots of things to see in the area, more than we have time for but it was fun roasting marshmallows and visiting. Finally, the power came back on about 3 hours latter and we went home. A really late night for us. Oh and the power went down for about 65,000 other people. Most of the people here are members and spend their entire summer here in their trailers and boy do they have LOTS of stuff.

Saturday, 10/1/11 - Thomas Jefferson is Will's favorite guy after Ben Franklin so when he heard that Monticello was only an hour away that was our first place to go and see. However, we discovered they had a restaurant at the camp store and on the menu was biscuits and gravy so the first order of business for him today was to go and have some Southern biscuits and gravy while I took my walk. And he was down there at 8 am when they opened up! Unfortunately, they didn't get a good rating in his book, he says Denny's in Fresno is better....go figure.

After packing our lunch we were on our way to Charlottesville to see Monticello......girlfriend GPS had the address so we were on our way. We arrived at around 11:30 am and decided to wait on lunch after we looked around. We bought our tickets for the tour and our time was 12:40. Before taking the shuttle we watched a movie on T. Jefferson and Monticello and walked around the museum. They take you up the mountain in a shuttle bus to Monticello and you are free to roam around on the grounds but have to line up for your guided tour 5 minutes before.

Because this was Saturday there were lots of people there and our guide took us and our group in at exactly 12:40 pm. She was probably one of the best guides we have ever had and the tour includes the ground floor only of three floors. We entered into the main parlor which is decorated with lots of replica Indian artifacts that were sent to Jefferson by Lewis & Clark. We went into the tea room, dining room and Jefferson's chamber (bedroom), we saw a guest bedroom that was called the Madison room as Dolly & James Madison slept there so much. We also saw several other room and then they lead you out onto a beautiful L shaped terrace and the 35 minute tour of the house was over. The place is really amazing and Jefferson was a self taught architect and designed the house from books and observations of Ancient Rome. In 1768 he began leveling the mountaintop for his house, surrounded by 3,000 acres he owned and that began a 40 year period of design, construction and remodeling

We then toured by ourselves the underpart of the house that consisted of an ice house, a stable for the guest horses, their kitchen and several of the slaves quarters. They have lots of artifacts from digs at the site and they are under glass but available for viewing. We then got on a tour at 2 pm to hear about the slaves and their lives. Jefferson had over 200 hundred slaves and it really was an incredible story learning of them and their lives. It seems that Jefferson had several children with one of the black slaves, Sally Hemings during his first term as President and the brochure states that DNA testing have proved that to be true. Just a little drama up on the mountaintop. We then walked down to the cemetery where Jefferson and his family is buried and then walked through the extensive vegetable garden. All this is overlooking a beautiful valley of trees that are starting to turn into fall colors. As we were leaving the property in our car we saw a sign for apples/cider up the hill which appeared to be on the Monticello property and decided to take a look. You would have thought it was a rock concert. A steady stream of cars coming and going up this 1 mile hill road, when we got there, no lie, there must have been 500 people up there buying apples, picking apples, all kinds of baked apple goods, plus other food stands. We just couldn't believe it. We purchased 6 apples and got the heck out of there as we were dead tired anyway.

It was cold today, in the 50's but at least the rain held off until 7:30 tonight. We just can't escape the stupid rain. However, it was a fun day and we had a great time and have the heater going right now trying to stay warm. Much love to all our family and friends.

1 comment:

Bev said...

Finally - thought we had lost you two in a rain storm. Saw pictures from Yankee Stadium. wonderful. BE SAFE