Thursday, April 25, 2013

Charlottesville--day 2

(sorry this is taking me a while.  I've been covering for the music teacher at my kids' school--she has bronchitis and my head is full of their spring concert tunes.  Talk about a job NOT in my wheelhouse.  I cannot sing well.  But I can play a mean one-handed piano, so I wasn't useless in rehearsals...)

After a lazy Sunday breakfast at Jen's, we headed to Monticello, where Jen parked and we hiked up the mountain.

Like everyplace else in Charlottesville, the grounds were bursting with blooms.  Fun fact:  I plant tulip bulbs and they rebloom year after year.  In C-ville, people have to plant them annually.

Another buddy shot in front of graceful Monticello.

While the inside of this house was pretty impressive, I was more wowed by the grounds.  Dig this vegetable garden:

 And vineyard (near an orchard).
'Ol Thomas Jefferson was a real thinker.  This is a cistern fed by gutters from the house and portico.  Those windows below are for the 'necessary' rooms that Jefferson didn't want disrupting the gracious life in the house above--storage, kitchen, ice house, stables and so forth.

Can't marvel enough at those gardens.  Jen and I could ID most of the plants, but we had lots of questions and I imagine we'd have put Monticello's horticulturalist through their paces!

The remains of slave houses near the vegetable gardens.  This area will soon undergo restoration.

'Ol TJ's grave.

Jen and I had a fantastic lunch at the visitor's center.  All kinds of food for sale grown right on the grounds.  The gift shop was lovely, too, and I snagged my fridge magnet as a souvenir.

Back down the mountain on the lovely path.  We returned to Chez Jen on the Edge for a taste of Pete's amazing cooking and some down time vegging on her (very comfy) couch.

I've said it before:  the best kind of birthday gift is a plane ticket.  Thanks, Mr. D for letting me take this trip to visit a beautiful and historic place and meet up with some wonderful friends!


  1. I'd like to thank Mr. D too for the awesome gift to you that benefited so many other people. :-)

  2. Quite a packed weekend! And given this season, you really lucked out on the weather :-)

    I've visited Monticello once, and the gardens were also what impressed me --I saw full-grown artichokes! SO cool! I tried to grow them here, before I learned things like the length of growing seasons :-)

    Why are tulips annuals in that part of Virginia? Do the bulbs need chilling?

  3. Thomas Jefferson's life was certainly interesting and he seems like he was quite a multi-faceted man. Kind of a genius, but oh, so human. I'd love to visit there and find out more about him. You were lucky that you got to go there.

  4. We went through Monticello many years ago. I loved it. The house was fantastic. I don't remember the garden as much, probably since it was before we moved to the farm or ever thought of growing anything on my own.
    Plane tickets are a great gift. Glad you had so much fun.

  5. Here's the thing I just learned about tulips from the piece I just wrote about them (to be published soon!!) - most tulips, especially the showy ones, do need to be planted annually, because they aren't bred to be anything but annuals. If you have tulips come back year after year, that means they are happy. So it's not a Virginia thing, it's a tulip thing.

    That is a very good birthday gift!

  6. Sounds like a wonderful trip! It's amazing what a few days away can do for a person, too!

    Love the tulips!

  7. I haven't been there since high school. At some point I will take the boys.

  8. how fun! It looks like you had beautiful weather.
    LOVE the grounds-so jealous of that veggie garden!!

  9. Well, this helps. Just today we figured out that our trip East (again) this June, for a wedding, won't allow us to get to Monticello, a place I fondly remember visiting in my youth. We will, however, shoot for Mount Vernon, though.

    Thanks for taking me back!


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