Jonseing for Jefferson

Trip Start Jul 29, 2010
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Trip End Aug 07, 2010


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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Friday, July 30, 2010

Waking up and getting a complimentary breakfast is always a plus in our book - which is exactly what we did. Afterward we got in the car and drove to the home of our fifth president James Monroe.  Monroe was not as rich as his predecessors, actually he died in poverty, mostly because he spent tons of money while on missions from the third and fourth presidents and never getting reimbursed from Congress - shame on us!

Monroe's home is called Ash Lawn- Highland, and while not as grand as Monticello or Mount Vernon is still very nice.  There is a nice garden, the interior is furnished with furniture which might have been in the house, furniture which historians know belonged to Monroe as well as several personal items (such as his shaving tray).  The tour is informative and takes place inside as well as outside and the surrounding area, the guides are informative and entertaining.

We kept Monticello to be our last historical visit in Virginia because we knew it would be the most grand and everything afterward might be a disappointment in comparison.  The parking lot was almost full at eleven O’clock in the morning. Our tour tickets are for 13:40, yet it’s easy to spend a whole day at Monticello.  We first started at the Monticello Classroom, which is actually sort of a discovery center, playing games with the kids and learning about the way life
was lived back when Jefferson was still alive.  This area also includes copies of Jefferson’s inventions such as the polygraph, a letter copying machine using two pens which. After an hour and a half or so (which included lunch in the cafe) we took the bus up the mountain and viewed Monticello in all its glory.

At home we got our daughter (5.5) a book called "Thomas Jefferson’s Feast", a Step Into Reading book (#4) in which every book talks about a trait the person had, this one talks about Jefferson’s love of food, his discovery of new foods in France and cultivating them in Monticello (all without mentioning slavery once).  In the book it mentioned his invention of a dumbwaiter and states that if you go to his house in Virginia, the dumbwaiter still works.

Our daughter was excited to see if the claim in the book is true…well, guess what, it is.  Only the dumbwaiter, hidden on the side of the fireplace in the dining room doesn’t bring up food but bottles of wine.  Nevertheless, she was excited and happy – what more, there is a dumbwaiter recreation below the house where the kids could actually use it and see how it works (pullies, weights, etc.).
Excellent!

After the tour we walked in the vegetable garden, the flower garden and were ready to go back to the hotel. We ate dinner in a Mexican place called Guadalajara, in which our daughter learned a
valuable lesson: when you want another beer you catch the eye of the server, raise your bottle and you get another.

Only that she missed that whole part about catching the eye of the server…and the part about her father saying “no” to another cup of soda (a treat in our house)…and the part about getting in trouble when half a second after her patriarch’s negative answer she turns behind her mother’s back and raises her cup…of course no one saw her.

Luckily her father has a sense of humor and couldn’t stop laughing.

Off to the hotel, the pool and an early night’s sleep.
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