The fall weather cooperated for our day trip to see Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. Monticello was Thomas Jefferson’s home and includes magnificent grounds, gardens, vistas, plus a guided house tour. Jefferson’s grave is also on the property.
Tickets are required so get there early. At the visitor’s center there is a short film which will easily get everyone up to speed on the historical significance of Monticello and Thomas Jefferson.
Visitors are not allowed to take photos inside the house, but it is filled with unique items from private collectors of Jefferson’s items. He truely had an interest in everything including horticulture, science, weather, architecture, and books. His front hall clock was made in Philadelphia and measures time to the second as well as the days of the week. But wait, the clock’s weights required more room than the entry had available so holes had to be cut into the floor.
Tour Monticello and then head into Charlottesville for lunch
The dumb waiters, oil lamps, original doors and more will give you an inside look into his world. I found it amazing that he lived before the railroad age yet accomplished so much that we consider “modern”. Jefferson was highly influenced by the “Age of Enlightenment“.
Curiously, when Jefferson died virtually everything was sold including the house. We are fortunate that the buyers understood the historical significance of the home and maintained it for future generations to experience. The Monticello web site is excellent so you should check that out before hopping in the car.
Another good Day Trip
If you are planning a day trip like we did from Vienna, Virginia, plan to spend two hours driving there. Parking is easy. We were there until 1:00 and then headed into Charlottesville for lunch near the University of Virginia Grounds (campus). A walking tour around the Grounds and the Rotunda will tie the trip together since Jefferson considered the establishment of UVA to be more important than having served as President of the United States.
These are great day trips for people living here.
- ArtsBeat Blog: Smithsonian Plans Exhibition on Jefferson and Slavery (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)