Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Tour of Monticello Part I

Grab a glass of iced tea, it's time for a story. One of my bucket list items was to visit Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, in Charlottesville, Virginia. When we knew we were going to be driving up to visit the Naval Academy, I added a side trip to Charlottesville for me and Mr. B. Three hours from Annapolis you will arrive in Charlottesville. Like most historical home tours, it is not just a matter of honey pull over the car and let's drop in on Monticello. You are directed to a general parking area then walk to the visitor's center to purchase timed tickets. You then wait to take the shuttle up to the house. You then wait till 5 minutes prior to the time on your ticket where you line up in groups of 25 to begin the tour.
This is the view once you unload from the shuttle. It was a soupy steamy June Virginia day. The haze hugged the mountain but you could get an appreciation for the amazing view of the landscape.
While waiting for your timed tour to begin, you are encouraged to tour the outside grounds of the home. We began by walking down the gravel path around the left side of the home to the vegetable garden where you walk up to this view.
Literally cut into the side of the mountain, the two-acre garden is a horticultural delight.24 growing beds were planted with 330 varieties of more than 70 species of vegetables during Jefferson's time.A six acre orchard lies below the garden.This garden pavilion is the centerpiece to the vegetable garden and used by Jefferson as a quiet place to read in the evening.Above is a long shot of the 1,000 foot long section known as Mulberry Row which surrounds the home. In 1796 there would have been 17 structures used for day to day operations of the plantation such as the smokehouse, blacksmith, carpenter's shop and slave quarters.

Beneath the main house there are work spaces and housing built into the hillside like a modern day walk out basement. Above is picture of the restored slave quarters.

The kitchen was separate from the main house and contained French cooper cookware.

I had to snap a picture of the blue and white dishes! The north wall of the Monticello kitchen, which was one of the finest equipped kitchens in Virgina.

This is a picture of the brick sidewalk around the home, notice the inlay of the bricks in a herringbone pattern.

It was very busy the day we visited, which was a Tuesday afternoon so it was difficult to get a good picture of the outside of the home, but I think this gives you an idea of the proportions.Finally it was time for our tour to begin and we were led up to the front of the home by our very friendly tour guide.I tried to take a lot of shots of the front of the home because we were told there would be no photography allowed once inside.

We enter the home in our little group of 25 but before we may enter we are advised by our guide that NO ONE is allowed to touch ANYTHING in the home. Okay I get that because it's historically important, but she means NOTHING including the door handles, door frames, don't lean on the wall, don't touch anything. This is an important part of the story, which I will leave you hanging about until next week, because in Part II one, okay several, of these rules are violated.

I'm joining parties at Always Nesting (maybe)

& A Southern Day Dreamer.


  1. Doesn't it just look spectacular there!

  2. How fabulous! I have always wanted to see this. It is an amazing structure and grounds laid out by an amazing individual. I am in awe of it. Thanks for sharing this!~

  3. I've always wanted to visit Monticello in person though I never have. You might be interested in seeing it as one of our 10 great historic homes. http://bit.ly/8Zwizg

  4. Gorgeous! Monticello is on my list of things to do. Thank you for the tour. I am looking forward to Part II! ~ Tracy