Day 7: UVA & Monticello

Trip Start Aug 11, 2010
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Trip End Aug 20, 2010


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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Today was our last college tour day which is bittersweet given the learning and fun that we've had along the way.  Our morning began at the Hilton Garden Inn just off interstate I-64. We opted for the suite room and can't say that I regret the extra space, 1 and 1/2 baths, separate bedroom and walk-in shower and whirlpool tub.  The breakfast is made to order and although you do have to pay a small amount on top of your room, it seems worth it.  After nearly a week of "free" breakfasts, this was an improvement.

Info Session & Tour:  We attended the morning info session at the University of Virginia.  Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia in 1819. Jefferson considered the founding of the University to be one of his greatest achievements and if you visit Monticello you will see this is one of the three accomplishments he had written on his tombstone. The University opened for classes in 1825 with a faculty of eight and a student body numbering sixty-eight. I recommend getting to the parking garage early so that you can find your way to the information session location.  They are not held in the admissions office, so you need to pay close attention to the web site where they keep pretty accurate and up-to-date details about the locations and times.  We mostly toured the academic area of the college since freshman were moving back to the dorms.  The athletic facilities are also located in another part of campus.  We did go into a few buildings, but did not see as much as some other campuses we visited.  All in all, the campus is great, filled with a lot of history so definitely worthwhile to see. 

Travel Details to Next Stop We chose to stop at Monticello for the afternoon, which is well worth the time to do.  On the way there you can stop for lunch at Michie Tavern.  It's also a popular spot and they have a general store and a couple of other shops that you can visit.  Lunch is buffet style and traditional southern fare.  It is about $22 per person plus extra charges for drinks and dessert.  Monticello is also about $22 per person for the general tour.  This allows you to get a tour of Jefferson's house and join any garden or grounds tours offered that day.  You can also walk to the gravesite of Thomas Jefferson and his family and walk back to the visitor center--which is a short walk down a path through the woods.  It's a really beautiful spot and one not to be missed!  After the stop at Monticello, we took at drive over to James Monroe's house Ash Lawn-Highland which is now run by the College of William and Mary.  This is his house while he was president. Another beautiful spot.  On the way from Monticello to Ash Lawn-Highland you will notice the Jefferson Vineyards.  If we had more time, I would have stopped in for a tour and tasting, so this may be a visit to put on the list.  You can buy some of their wines at Monticello and the surrounding shops in the Charlottesville area.  On the way back to the hotel, we noticed a sign just after Michie Tavern for peaches at Carter Mountain Orchard.  We took a turn up the very long steep road and discovered a beautiful orchard where they have a full shop selling peaches, apples, jams, wines, ice cream, etc. You can pick your own or just buy what they sell.  They also have an adjoining building that's a winery, and bakery.  The back of each building had a very large deck with picnic tables and umbrellas overlooking the mountain down at Charlottesville and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.  It's a great spot for relaxing and taking a few pictures.
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