Marvelous Monticello

Some of our favorite RV experiences came when we were in the midst of traveling to one location and discovered something else along the way. We never intended to go to these places. Indeed, we often didn’t even know they existed. Sometimes they come from a campground conversation:

  • “If you are headed to New Orleans, you really should stop and see Mr. Charlie on your way.” (followed by our question “Who is Mr. Charlie?”)
  • “Yes, we are going to Little Bighorn, too, but are you going to see the re-enactment? It only happens once a year.” (“What re-enactment?”)
  • “I agree there is not a lot to see in North Dakota, except for the Madora musical.” (“Never heard of it. What is it?)

Sometimes, they come from road signs or maps along the way:

  • “Did you realize the Erie Canal trail runs right next to our campsite? Let’s go find it.”
  • “Hey, they have a re-created old west town here. Let’s check it out.”
  • Or like just happened this week, “Did you realize we are driving right by Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson? Let’s stop.”

Thus it came to be that a visit to the beautifully preserved home of the author of the Declaration of Independence became the latest of our surprise travel treasures.

This is not a nationally run facility, but is maintained by a private foundation. Because of our last minute arrival, tours inside the house were already full, but we had a wonderful time touring the grounds of this enigmatic president, who wrote his own epitaph listing his three greatest achievements, of which being president is not one (author of the Declaration of Independence, author of Virginia’s declaration of religious liberty, and founder of the University of Virginia).

Here are some of the highlights of the house and grounds, which were all laid out by Jefferson. It is easy to see the artistic flair with which he designed and landscaped the house and grounds.