When we showed up a little before noon to buy tickets, we found that the next places for tours inside the house was almost 5 pm! So, we went up to the grounds, took a tour of the garden (no wait), and led ourselves through all the self guided areas of the house. We’ll do the house inside next time, although i think the grounds are really the most spectacular part.
As part of the development of the estate, Thomas Jefferson decided he needed more room for growing food for all the folks that lived and worked on-site. So, he developed a plot just below the house that is about 40′ x 1000′ long. Thats 40,000 square feet of veggies, herbs, and fruits. And that doesn’t include the orchards and vineyards that continue even further down below. ALTHOUGH. they did tell us that because water is scarce at Monticello, there is no evidence that they had irrigiation back in the day, so it likely didn’t look as green and lush as it does today.
Around the main lawn there were all sorts of fun and funky plants that TJ planted as experiments. Many of these seeds were obtained in seed swaps with other political leaders This one was like a painted poinsettia. According to the guide, if yu didn’t have this one in your Victorian garden, you might as well have not had a garden at all!
After the garden tour, we took some time to walk around and see all the service portions of the house which are rich with texture and history.
After our day at Monticello, it was time to head back to our little home away from home to cook dinner. I did some searching for cute places to stay around Charlottesville, but since there was a UVA game in town that weekend, a lot of things were booked. I stumbled upon these converted Caboose cabins at Heavenly Acres Campground, so we stayed here. They were cute, although we were kind of far away from most everything, so it wasn’t quite as convenient as I’d hoped.
Sunday afternoon was back to Norfolk. We tried to go to a waterfront wine festival, but showed up too late to get tickets, so we just wandered along the water instead.
It was a great early fall weekend. Beautiful weather and scenery, fall apples, good company. Anyone have any Virginia recommendations for my next trip?