Monticello and more

Published: October 1st 2017
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Geo: 38.0321, -78.4775

We didn't sleep too late, but, by the time we reached the concierge lounge, almost no food was left. We did manage to get some yogurt, then went to a local coffee house for real coffee. On the road towards Charlottesville around 11am.

The road was not as pretty as I hoped -- very green, but virtually no picturesque farms or horse ranches, and the highway bypasses all the small towns. When we did see buildings, they were car dealerships, Home Depots, and small nurseries. The best thing we saw: at an Arby's, they had a moon bounce for the kids ... but the bounce was in the shape of a cow, lying on its back, dead -- the four supporting corners were its legs, the kids bounced inside its bloated belly. Very, very bizarre. We wondered how that passed all sorts of levels of approval: design, manufacturing, purchasing, displaying. Surely someone could have put the kibosh on that.

Had lunch, then arrived Monticello around 2pm. The earliest tours of the house were available at 3:50pm, which suited us just fine. The guy who sold us the tickets told us we were the second group from Lafayette, CA who had bought tickets from him that day. We can't go anywhere in the world where we don't run into people from Lafayette.

We saw the movie (well-done; not too sappy; confronted the issue of slavery fairly well), then toured the gallery. We particularly liked the animated Jefferson -- something out of Terry Gilliam, surely. Then walked up the path to the house, past Jefferson's grave and "Mulberry Row" -- the vegetable garden and level ground that used to support outbuildings. The most impressive aspect of walking up to the house is the realization of how much the top of the hill was leveled, to allow space for the house and grounds.

The tour was interesting -- just the ground floor, and they run it very efficiently, You're allowed to ask questions but sometimes only at certain spots, in order to make sure that the docents keep the group moving along. I liked the maps in the entry hall; also, Jefferson's gadgets. We debated whether he would like Twitter -- we all decided he would have -- he was a great correspondent, seemed interested in getting his ideas out, but would have been disgusted by the character limit.


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