Destination 10: Monticello, Virginia


After Jamestown, we continued our historical retreat to Monticello, the house and land of Thomas Jefferson. I had absolutely no idea that it would be so beautiful. Apparently, Jefferson wrote that he'd rather be at his home in Monticello than dealing with political affairs and I can see why. The house, which sat upon tens of thousands of inherited land, is surrounded by lush trees and fresh flowers and vegetables. It is the kind of place that I imagine artists to escape to for inspiration, a peace of mind and a mental escape from the harsh realities of the world. It is the exact place I fantasize having as my retreat home, a place where I can escape to and write for hours and hours without the world's distractions around me.

Looking out at the green hillsides reminded me of the south of France. Everything was just so green. I couldn't believe it. When Dad said we were going to Monticello, I had no idea that we'd be entering a place like that.

When we got there, we took a guided tour through Jefferson's home, then a self-guided tour through his numerous gardens and the underground quarters for the slaves. It was so fascinating to imagine life back then: the hustle and bustle of slaves walking a quarter mile to prepare food for Jefferson and his guests, the fermentation of the beers and wines he had just below his house, the continuous growth of fresh fruit, vegetable and herbs used for was all just so magical.

[Thomas Jefferson's home]

[His herb and vegetable garden]

[That barrel is a trashcan and it stunk really bad]

The kids had a lot of fun too...Robert spent most of the time searching for the perfect slingshot on the ground while Mary imagined how life would be writing letters with a quill pen. Daniel is at the perfect age for this entire road trip--he soaks in everything like a sponge. Every piece of information he finds interesting and every landmark he's fascinated's a lot of fun.

[Dad and Mary looking at the grave site]

[Jefferson's tomb stone]

[Daniel and Mary looking as if they like each other...
a perfect--and candid!--Kodak moment.
I'd like to add that as soon as I took this, Daniel looked back and said,
"Oh great! Sissy just took a picture of me sitting next to you...ugh!"]

[Robert found the perfect sling shot!]

At the end of the day, we walked down the hill (as opposed to taking the shuttle), through the bustling trees, hitting the oh-so-refreshing breeze, and finally back into our trusty minivan. Driving away from Monticello was a slightly bittersweet for me--leaving such a beautiful place for a mediocre hotel room was not exactly my idea of fun--but I fell asleep before I could think more about it.

Before I knew it, it was already time to get back into the van for our next stop...

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