Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Ash Lawn-Highland- Home of James Monroe, Charlottesville, Virginia
The College of William and Mary owns the home now, and they open it for tours.
The actual home where Monroe lived is a pretty humble structure, for a President. More was built on to it later (in the photo, the white part of the structure was he, the yellow part was added on later).
We had a nice, short tour from one of the guides, and then we were allowed to explore the grounds on our own.
James Monroe's friend Thomas Jefferson lived close by at Monticello. Ash Lawn-Highland's closeness to Monticello is a bit of a blessing and a curse.
The home does benefit from the many visitors who visit the more popular Monticello, and also take the time to stop by and see James Monroe's former home. I would say that many visitors (like us) spend a couple of hours at the Monroe site, and then spend the rest of a day or weekend at the Jefferson home.
However, I could see many people coming to see both, but then deciding to dedicate all of their time to the more grand Monticello. In fact, one friend I have from the area suggested that we might want to devote all of our time in this area to Monticello only. Also, we kind of felt that one guide at Ash Lawn-Highland made a half hearted argument that Monroe and his home were just as significant as the Thomas Jefferson site. We admired her efforts, but the argument came across as almost apologetic.
There is a great opportunity here though to see two great President's homes in one visit. We noticed others from our tour at James Monroe's home later at Monticello.