Thursday, May 12, 2016


Virginia was the home to eight of our presidents. We were able to visit two of them in the same day since they are about 25 miles apart. (Warning: If we had taken in all of the tours, we couldn't have done both of them in the same day.) We have been to Monticello twice before and even though the Thomas Jefferson Foundation has made many changes and additions from since the last time we were there, we passed up some things to be able to eat lunch and then get to Montpelier. 

BTW: We ate lunch at Michie Tavern (pronounced Mickey) which is a short distance down the hill from Monticello. If you eat there you will enjoy a delicious southern meal for $$, and you won't go away hungry. There are a number of sites there to visit also. (We just didn't take the time.)

You are not allowed to take pictures inside either of the homes so I can only share my pictures from outside. I have provided links to both sites for you to learn more about the two homes and their famous residents.

You can read more about Jefferson's Monticello here and Madison's Montpelier here.

We had never been to Montpelier during our earlier visits to Monticello and found out why when we got there. It was not until the 1980s that Marion duPont Scott donated the house to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in her will. The restoration to 1820 was completed in 2008.

Warning: Follow the signs to Montpelier on Highway 20. It is right off the road about 4 miles south of Orange. Google Maps will take you on backroads to a cow pasture.

James Madison's MONTPELIER - Home of James and Dolley Madison

from the back 
their view from the front porch
what kid wouldn't like this tree?

Always a "softee" for pretty flowers....these in Anne duPont's Garden

Annie duPont Garden

Annie duPont Garden

Thomas Jefferson's MONTICELLO - Home of Thomas Jefferson

the actual back of the house but the popular view 
the north side view

The North Pavilion and Terrace was being refurbished (the floor boards are being replaced). This shows how Jefferson designed the walkway under the boards. The walkway has a slight slant and gutters run along the edge to catch the rain water as it drains through the boards.

You may take pictures in the cellar....which includes the storage cellar, the wine cellar, ware room, beer cellar, storage cellar, kitchen, and cook's room.

the cellar
the kitchen
part of the garden
Thomas Jefferson's grave
the lower part of the tombstone
Since we last visited, much has been and continues to be done to show the life of Jefferson's slaves.

this picture shows the foundation of one of the many other dwellings on the site
Hemmings Cabin
This was a sign outside this cabin...

We couldn't walk down to the new area representing the slave quarters except with a tour group and it was going to be a while before the first tour would start so I just took a picture of this sign talking about slave housing. (Can you tell that I love taking pictures of signs.)

Another new addition is the David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center. Besides the gift shop, Howard and Abby Milstein Theater, Monticello Plantation Model, and the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Gallery. One of the most valuable items on exhibit in the gallery was this Jean-Antoine Houdon bust of Jefferson from 1789.

a bust of Thomas Jefferson
Both of these homes are so impressive. The docents at both homes were thoroughly informed and very good at presenting the information to us on the tours. If you are ever in the areas of Charlottesville and Orange in Virginia, you must find time to visit both of these presidents' homes.

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