Monticello


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Published: March 12th 2007
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This morning, I was able to tour Monticello which was the home of Thomas Jefferson. Pronounced "mon tih chello," it means "little mountain" in Italian. It was built on the top of a hill on the rolling hills/small mountains of south central Virginia. Was a working 5,000 acre plantation in Jefferson's time and his place of retirement in 1809 which is also about the same time of completion of the home. He spent his retirement years working at the home and creating the University of Virginia. He lived at Monticello with his extended family in virtual peace from the rest of the world to study his plants, read his books and write letters. Apparently, he enjoyed escaping the politics of DC and liked nothing more than being at Monticello.

Jefferson designed the home and supervised contruction. He also re-built the house after his initial design. Overall, the final 3 story, 21 room house took some 40 years to complete. We had a wonderful tour guide. The tour consists of the main level of the home and takes about an hour or so. You are also able to tour the outside of the home on your own and some of the basement area. No pictures are allowed inside the main level of the home but there's a tour book available for $10 if interested. You can also walk down to the grave site of Jefferson as well as several of his family members. The area is still property of the Jefferson family and is still a family plot.

One amazing item is that there is no kitchen in the main house! The kitchen is actually located in the lower level some distance away from the dining room. This called for dishes to be brought underground through a tunnel and up the stairs when time for meals. Some of Jefferson's original books are there but many were bought by the foundation after his death to replenish his original collection. This was because many of his books were sold by him to the US government to create the Library of Congress (1815) while others were sold to pay off his massive debt at the time of his death. Many, many paintings inside the home as well. The tour guide told of frequent guests such as fellow Presidents and well known scientists. The home is open during all the seasons.

Is on the United Nation's List of World Heritage Sites. History at times is torn about Jefferson. Regardless, the man was an amazing architect as seen in the design of the home as well as the University of Virginia.


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