The only trip I took further south than Front Royal when I lived in Virginia was a trip to Spotsylvania battlefield with a friend one Saturday afternoon. Sadly, I missed out on a great opportunity to visit many historical sites dating from the earliest days of our country.
For a time before becoming president, Jefferson was an ambassador to France. While there, he was exposed to many of the architectural wonders that reside in Europe. Upon his return home, he gave his house on the “little mountain” a facelift, incorporating many Neo-Classical elements into the facade and interior.
As a man of the enlightenment, he brought back many treasures from abroad. From paintings, to books, to gadgets, he showcased those thinkers he admired and the products of their thought. He “borrowed” many ideas from the thinkers of his age (and before), but wasn’t much of an inventor himself, as many erroneously believe.
Unfortunately, we were unable to take photos on the home tour, but it simply gives you reason to explore his home yourself where you can see his polygraph machine which made copies of his letters that he wrote daily, the BRIGHT yellow paint he used to decorate his dining room, and the clock in his entry way which also told the day of the week (although Sunday was through the floor into the kitchen downstairs because he didn’t measure things out well beforehand). 🙂
He also had extensive gardens which they maintain well to this day. Rows of vegetables, varieties of trees, flowers in every shape and size. He would bring back plants from his travels to see if he could get them to grow here. (Some worked, some — not so much.)
I loved this handy little pond next to the kitchen where they kept fresh fish before it become dinner on the table. Handy in the days before refrigerators.
We also happened to be in Virginia at the perfect time to meet the 17-year cicadas. Noisy little buggers and none too small. (They were about 2 inches long!) The trees at Monticello were teeming with them.
We ended our stay with an ice cold ale from a recipe created by Jefferson himself.
Afterwards, we finished our drive to Fredericksburg where Daddy headed over to the bachelor party before the Saturday wedding while Mommy and Evey had a pizza party in the hotel room. 🙂