Virginia 2013: Monticello

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Due to wedding planning, our vacation this year was pretty low key.  Josh and I both love history and that is basically what this vacation was about, learning American History.  And what a great week to do that, the week leading up to Memorial Day. 

Our first stop (history wise) was Thomas Jefferson's Monticello which is located in Charlottesville, VA.  Monticello was TJ's home until he died on July 4, 1826.  He was one of three founding fathers to die on July 4th, the others being John Adams (who died the exact same day), and James Monroe who died 5 years later.

Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed inside of the house but I will share some interesting facts as well as my pictures from outside and from the grounds.

The picture above is from the front of the house where we first walked in.  Before modern roads were built, it was rather difficult to get to Monticello.  People would have to actually circle the Mountain 3 times before arriving at the top.  It was too steep to go straight up, especially with a horse and carriage.

If you know anything about Thomas Jefferson, you know that he was pretty much interested in EVERYTHING, and I mean everything.  This house was built by Jefferson with his knowledge of architecture.  He began building at 26 and continued to expand Monticello throughout his life.   He lived at Monticello throughout his retirement years.

Jefferson had quite the collection of books.   A large sum were donated to the Government in what is now known as the Library of Congress but a good bit of books remained at Jefferson's home.  It was written that at one point the Library/Study was so filled with books from floor to ceiling that the only way to walk through the room was by a narrow passageway.

During our tour, we were guided through the first floor of the house.  The rooms visited include the Bedchamber, Dining Room, Cabinet, Library, Entrance Hall, Tea Room, Octagonal Rooms and Square Rooms.

Jefferson was a slave owner, as was typical of wealthy families at that time.   However, Jefferson did oppose slavery and was actively involved in legislation that he hoped would abolish slavery.   Jefferson pretty much predicted that if slavery were not abolished that states that had slavery and that states that didn't would not be able to live peacefully.  As we all know, that was definitely the case.

Above are photos from the Plantation including crops and the Path along Mulberry Row.  Mulberry Row featured a blacksmith shop, joinery, nailery, storehouse and textile factory (all of which are no longer there).  There were many different crops produced at Monticello including tobacco and wheat/grains.

Last, we visited TJ's grave site.  Jefferson, along with all of his family were buried on the property.  Jefferson had the following etched on his Tombstone:

Here Was Buried
Thomas Jefferson
Author of the Declaration of Independence
of the Statue of Virginia for Religious Freedom
And the Father of the University of Virginia.

I definitely enjoyed visiting Monticello.  I enjoyed learning about the President how his ideas shaped this country.  The grounds were beautiful and our guide was great.   She talked as if we were back in the late 1700's and the family was still living there.  I am sure I missed a lot of information but it is not hard to find on the internet if you are interested in learning more.

Also, one last interesting fact.  Monticello is the only Presidents Home which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

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