Monday, August 17, 2009
Monticello, in a word; BEAUTIFUL! A house 40 years in the making. Take a drive and see how fast houses go up these days, quite different indeed. Thomas Jefferson's house was continuous. He designed it, began building and constantly added to and made alterations; and thus it was 40 years in the making. You can tour the inside and the grounds surrounding the house. Various ticket prices are available based on whether you buy on line ahead of time, the day of, or purchase a combination ticket. March through October the visiting hours are Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm with reduced hours the other months. A statesmen, a farmer, a President, an inventor. Many of his inventions still exist in some form today. He loved books, visiting his library is a must. The most interesting thing to me were the separate book shelves. Each shelf was made independent of those it sat on or under. Because Thomas Jefferson traveled a great deal and always wanted to take books with him, each shelf was separate so it could be picked up and packed as a separate unit.
You'll see extensive and beautiful gardens throughout the property. Jefferson believed plants, be it The Grove, Orchard, Vineyards, vegetable or flower gardens were a botanical laboratory.
Visit Mulberry Row, now a long line of much needed shade trees; a beautiful lane as you learn about the slaves who lived and worked the land in the 1700 and 1800's. This small spot measures 20 1/2 feet by 12, is listed as stop #3. This is one of 5 cabins that stood on Mulberry Row, built with logs on a foundation of stone, with an earthen floor and chimney. These small quarters were inhabited by slaves.
Jefferson's Memorial is among many in this locked family burial ground. One can't get even a frontal view of the monument which marks the graves of Thomas Jefferson, his wife, his two daughters, and his son-in-law Governor Randolph. The monument we see is not the one designed by Jefferson himself; but one the US government placed here in 1883. Jefferson's school mate and friend Dabney Carr was the first burial in this graveyard. The two friends had a pack to be buried here under a large oak at the top of the hill.
A plague shows the graveyard layout, and lists who's buried where. This historic home is well worth the time to tour. It's beautiful, educational, and most enjoyable. Inside tours probably not well suited for little ones; but they can sure run and enjoy the outdoor areas. From this hill top you have panoramic views of Charlottesville, The University of Virginia, and the surrounding forests.
**hubby and I would like to return and spend more time here.
****Click here to read about The University of Virginia.
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