Saturday, September 26, 2015
Thomas Jefferson's Monticello near Charlottesville, Virginia
A friend of mine who used to live in Charlottesville Virginia described Monticello as the "Disneyland of President's Homes." That sounds accurate to me. There is a lot to see and do here.
We arrived after our visit to James Monroe's home, and we ended up spending the rest of the day at Monticello. We could have spent more time here easily.
A $25 ticket actually covers a lot. There is much to do at the main visitor center area. You can see a film about Jefferson. There is a great café on site, where food is made utilizing vegetables grown at Monticello. AND there is a huge gift shop.
From this main visitor center, you can catch a bus for a short drive up hill to the actual home. A hiking path is also available for those people wanting to walk.
Your ticket does have a time on it. That is the time that you need to be at the home for your guided tour. As you get in line for your tour, you are politely briefed by the staff about the home. When we were there, a house tour went in every five minutes! We heard that about 400,000 visitors come by yearly!
The Jefferson designed home is amazing. Like at Ash Lawn-Highland, photos are not allowed inside, but they are fine just about everywhere else. I personally get excited when I see the libraries, books, furniture and other relics used by historic figures. The first room at Monticello had trophies from the Lewis and Clark Expedition!
After the house tour, you are free to explore the gardens and other buildings at Monticello. It is an amazing place. AND, you can take additional tours for free! There is one you can take on the gardens, and one on slavery at Monticello.
After the tour, you can take the bus back to the visitor center, or walk. On the way down, you can see the grave of Thomas Jefferson and his family members. He is buried on site at Monticello!
Before we left, we did drop some coin at the huge gift shop. Here, you could buy collectible coins, books, postcards and MANY other items. We HAD to buy some seeds that came from the gardens at Monticello!
The Thomas Jefferson site is dealing with the controversy relating to Jefferson's relationship with his slave, Sally Hemings. The relationship was acknowledged in the film shown at the visitor center. This is a fascinating part of Jefferson's life that is getting a LOT of deserved attention. As a side note, I did read on findagrave that Sally Hemings was buried at a site that is now a Hampton Inn parking lot.