Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 125 ~ Monticello


Monticello Gardens

Ice House - Ice was brought up from the river in the winter and kept here lasting until mid-summer.

Double click to read more about the "Dependencies" of the household...

Gregory, Thomas Jefferson and Gregory's two dollar bill with Jefferson's image...

Date: November 21, 2009

From: Charlottesville,Virginia

To: Charlottesville,Virginia


Miles Today: 0 miles

TOTAL MILES: 3,577 miles

Top Speed on this trip: 54.1 mph

Weather: Sunny and warm

License Plates Collected: 5 Montana, 8 Wyoming (2 motorcycle) and 1 Idaho (found in WY), 2 Colorado, 1 Kansas (Gifted from David of Baldwin City), 1 Missouri (To be sent to Grammy’s by our new buddy, Kansas City firefighter Shawn), 1 Illinois, 4 Kentucky (2 Gifted from Beth and Garry Feltus, one gifted from cousin John, one from Hwy. 127), 1 Virginia

Flats: 11

Broken Spokes: 3

Cracked Rim: 1

Jeff was off early to make an initial dump run for his construction business and later Mike and Gregory decided to help him with one more run before we headed out to tour Jefferson's home of Monticello. Joey offered to have us join her on the University of Virginia campus, for a talk by one of her friends, but we were feeling content to just rest and hang out before we went out sight seeing later on in the day.

Joey left me some homemade oatmeal (believe me this is a treat when you've been eating it out of a packet for 4 months) and Mike made a nice strong pot of coffee with fresh ground beans in their french press. It was nice to have a really good cup of coffee for a change. We are all getting tired of eating out and really appreciate when we get a home cooked meal.

Gregory came in the door from the dump run and said, "We're back and we're starving." Then he informed me, "I lifted a ton of concrete blocks." "You did?" I asked. "Uhhhh, Yah!" he assured me. He is pretty proud of the muscles he has acquired on this trip!

Monticello was amazing and did not disappoint. I was so thrilled we had an opportunity to visit the home of our 3rd president and the author of the Declaration of Independence. Our tour guide pointed out that Jefferson wanted to be remembered for three things. On his grave he wanted it to say Author of the American Declaration of Independence (to acknowledge other declarations), of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom and Father of the University of Virginia. Gregory found it interesting that Jefferson died 50 years to the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1826. Do you know what bill and what coin Jefferson's image is on?

We toured the house and found many features interesting including the built in alcoves for the beds including the 6 foot 3 inch space for Jefferson's bed (he was 6 feet 2 inches) that could be exited from one side of the bed to his study and the other side into his bedroom, the many octagons used in the construction including octagonal-shaped rooms, the dumb waiter used to bring wine and beer up from the cellar and a revolving door to deliver the food to the dining area and then provide privacy and to reduce gossip. Jefferson was very influenced by the five years he spent in France after his first wife died during childbirth and returned with many new ideas to incorporate at his estate. The artwork includes works of many important figures of the time including Benjamin Franklin and George Washington as well as family portraits.

Exploring the corridors below the main house where "the dependencies" were was more Gregory's speed. We saw the smokehouse, kitchen, beer and wine cellars, the privy and the ice house where ice from the river was brought in each winter and would last well into the summer. We also especially enjoyed Jefferson's enormous gardens. We smelled dill, sage, thyme, and rosemary and Gregory saw a few things he hasn't seen growing before including a cabbage, white eggplant and peanuts which he learned grow under the ground.

We visited Jefferson's grave site as we made our way down the path to the visitor's center and enjoyed a walk in the cool evening air. Gregory bought his collector pin (and a 4-color pen) at the store and then we had the pleasure of accompanying Jeff and Joey to an Open House for one of the homes Jeff recently completed. Visit his website at: if you'd like to read more about his designs. The home was warm and inviting with lots of young families bustling about. The owner was actually due with child #2 any minute! We couldn't believe they were hosting an open house! We felt honored to be part of such an intimate and special event.

Back at Jeff and Joey's home, and after a trip to the store, I whipped up some of my famous pesto pasta while Joey made a yummy salad and some garlic bread. We considered going out but I was happy to be able to cook and we had a relaxing evening.

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