2018 Vacation Day 9: Monticello

Despite calling for rain, the weather held out and it ended up being bright and sunny!

Since we'd done all of our driving the night before, we were able to make it into the first tour group.

Our guide took us through Jefferson's spacious home. We didn't see ever room, but we saw the main hall, the study, the diningroom, the "Madison" guest room, and Jefferson's bedroom.

There was a lot to see in each space and it gave a neat glimpse into the life of Jefferson and the lives of those who lived during that time period. Even the boys were interested and history isn't usually their favorite subject.

After the house tour, we were allowed to roam the grounds.

We started underground. First stop, the privy! In a time of outhouses, this probably seemed like a true luxury!

[caption id="attachment_4470" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Thomas Jefferson's butt probably sat here!![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4471" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Wine cellar. Jefferson had a deep appreciation for good food and good wine.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4467" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The kitchen. Look at all those copper pots![/caption]

Jefferson was a brilliant man who sought to improve and innovate whenever and wherever he could. There was an interesting meat spit and special mini-ovens/stoves that could each be operated independently depending on what was being cooked on each one.

[caption id="attachment_4462" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Ye olden race car.[/caption]

Jefferson was a "dandy" in his day. He liked to dress well and he enjoyed "fast cars." I imagine, compared to a large wagon, riding in this contraption felt like flying.

The grounds were oh so beautiful.

[caption id="attachment_4468" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Poppies[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4469" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Beautiful![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4464" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The abundant gardens.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4465" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Garden folly.[/caption]

The grounds were terraced in front. So the house sat on the highest point, the large gardens were on the next terrace down, and then the vineyard and orchard were down again.

After walking the gardens, we took a few shots of the house itself.

[caption id="attachment_4463" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The front[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4461" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The back[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4460" align="aligncenter" width="300"] In back, there's a laaaaarge rectangle of yard, hemmed in with a walking path and flowers, with large trees on the perimeter.[/caption]

After we'd seen everything up top, we made our way to the family cemetery.

[caption id="attachment_4466" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Jefferson's tomb, in the family graveyard.[/caption]

From here, it was a short walk back down the the visitor's center. The museum had all kinds of artifacts from Jefferson's life on Monticello. An entire exhibit was dedicated to the house itself, and the design and building of it.

The gift shop was huge and full of all kinds of neat goodies. Along with my usual pin and ornament, I also purchased some red bean seeds that were taken from actual Monticello plants that had been on the grounds since Jefferson's time. Interestingly enough, they were originally given to him by a friend from Missouri!

We ate an overrated lunch at the nearby Michie Tavern.

[caption id="attachment_4472" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The old mill at Michie Tavern[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4473" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Tim's new hat.[/caption]

The story goes that an enterprising widow built the tavern for all of those who would be visiting nearby Monticello. There were several outbuildings (now gift shops) and a mill onsite.

It was early still so we searched for things to see on our way to the next destination. Ben found this neat park with a covered bridge:

[caption id="attachment_4477" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Humpback Bridge[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4479" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Bridge graffiti[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4480" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Luke[/caption]

I thought it would be cute to get a picture of Luke on this random "L" only to discover that it was an intentional L. When you stand back, you can see it spells "love."

All of the materials used are from the original build site. Pretty ingenious!

Some falls and an overlook were nearby so we stopped in there, too.

[caption id="attachment_4476" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Spring Falls overlook[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4474" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Spring Falls[/caption]

Our hotel for the night was pretty unremarkable and the area didn't have a lot to offer so we walked to the nearby Walmart and bought food for dinner there.

Monticello was beautiful and was truly worth seeing. I'm so grateful the weather held out and it wasn't crowded.

Thomas Jefferson wasn't a perfect man, but he was certainly intelligent and innovative, and had an obvious love of learning which is inspirational.20


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