Madison and Jefferson’s Homes, Virginia 3/5/2014

MARCH 5, 2014 (Wednesday)

 

Long day but lots of fun. 

Woke up to SUNSHINE. It’s so pretty with the snow and blue skies. We left around 11:00 AM to head to Montpelier, James Madison’s home. It was about an hour’s drive (approximately 50 miles). Our GPS took us through some lovely back roads. We were so glad the roads were dry. It was about 40 degrees outside.

Beautiful bright day.

Beautiful bright day.

Shenandoah National forest.

Shenandoah National Forest.

A really slow truck.

A really slow truck.

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The tickets to Montpelier were $18.00 each. Where you buy the tickets, they had a gift shop and lots and lots of information on James and Dolley Madison. Before you can go up to the actual tour of the home, they have you watch a short video. Our tour guide was Dr. Mike (an actual doctor). He was excellent. Best tour we’ve ever taken as far as interesting and informative. We met some really nice people on the tour – Jackie and Jim, and Hillarie. Had fun talking to them about RCI and timesharing. Would love to meet up with them somewhere down the road as they seemed like lots of fun and adventurous people.

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Entrance.

Entrance.

Montpelier.

Montpelier.

Visitors Center.

Visitor Center.

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Gift shop.

Gift shop.

Path up to the house.

From the path up to the house.

Walking to the house.

Walking to the house.

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Grumpy with the excellent guide framed in the door behind.

Grumpy with the excellent guide framed in the door behind.

Great guide, the doctor.

Great guide, Mike, the doctor.

James and Dolly.

James and Dolley.

 

Jackie and Jim.

Jackie and Jim.

 

Kitchen in the basement.

Kitchen in the basement.

Idiom of the day.

Idiom of the day.

Cooking hearth.

Cooking hearth.

Montpelier was built by Madison’s father. Madison’s mother lived to be 98 years old and lived in a part of the house until her death. James Madison married a widow named Dolley Payne Todd when he was 43.  James and Dolley never had any children.  After James Madison died, Dolley Madison signed over her power of attorney to her only child, a son. He was an alcoholic and gambler. Because of her son’s debts, Dolley Madison died broke, after having sold Montpelier. What was weird was one of their slaves, Paul Jennings, after being freed, ended up helping Dolley Madison with money and a place to stay in her old age.

Paul Jennings heard Madison's last words.  A neice asked, "Whats wrong uncle?"  Madison said, "Just a change of mind dear." and slumped over peacefully dead.

Paul Jennings heard Madison’s last words. A niece asked, “Whats wrong uncle?” Madison said, “Just a change of mind dear.” and then slumped over peacefully dead.

James Madison was the fourth President of the United States from 1809-1817. Before that he was the Secretary of State under President Jefferson, from 1801-1809. Because President Jefferson did not have a wife, Dolley Madison was considered the First Lady for all the official duties for 8 years and then was first lady another 8 years during her husband’s Presidency. She was even given a permanent seat in Congress. Very well loved and respected lady. 

After leaving Montpelier, we drove about thirty miles or so to Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. We were able to take the very last tour of the day so we didn’t get a whole lot of time to tour the grounds. Like Montpelier, the cost was $18.00 per person.

On the way.

On the way.

 

I liked this rock entry gate.

I liked this rock entry gate.

Interesting drive.

Interesting drive.

Great overpass just before Monticello.

Great overpass just before Monticello.

Going over the overpass.

Going over the overpass.

 

Visitor's Center.

Visitor’s Center.

Rush to catch shuttle to catch last tour of the day.

Rush to catch shuttle for the last tour of the day.

Thomas was 6'2".  Grumpy is shorter.

Thomas was 6’2″. Grumpy is shorter.

Grumpy and pretty woman in front of Monticello.

Grumpy and pretty woman in front of Monticello.

Stables, privy, servant quarters.

Stables, privy, servant quarters.

 

Side view.

Side view.

 

Front porch.  No pictures allowed inside.

Front porch. No pictures allowed inside.

 

One handed outside face of two faced 7 day clock.  Inside face has 3 hands.

One handed outside face of two faced 7 day clock. Inside face has 3 hands.

Our tour guide this time was John. Very nice young man who was very knowledgeable. We got a brief glimpse of what it would be like to live in the 1700 and 1800’s. We were told that the Madison’s would come to visit (about a day trip by horse) and stay for awhile. (Also, Jefferson would visit Montpelier.)  Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States (from 1801-1809). He retired to Monticello in 1809 and died there on July 4, 1826. He is buried on the property. He was married but his wife died giving birth to their 6th child and made him promise to never remarry.

Sun dial.

Sun dial.

Back of house, the view that appears on the nickle.

Back of house, the view that appears on the nickle.

Dome in center of house, skylights throughout, 22" wide stairs with 9" risers.

Dome in center of house, skylights throughout, 22″ wide stairs with 9″ risers.

 

Warmer but still cold.

Warmer but still cold.

 

Jefferson's burial site, still an active family graveyard, except for the Hemmings branch.

Jefferson’s burial site, still an active family graveyard, except for the Hemmings branch.

After leaving Monticello, the traffic was really bad so we stopped for dinner in Charlottesville at the Panera.

We were hungry, this is the only picture we got.  Edie remembered on the way out that we hadn't photographed our meal. Sorry.

We were hungry, this is the only picture we got. Edie remembered on the way out that we hadn’t photographed our meal. Sorry.

Really good. Michael got a turkey bean soup and a half a chicken sandwich. I got a half salad and half turkey with bacon. We also got a cookie each. When we left, we ordered a to go sandwich for Lexi (who opted to stay home today). 

That was our day. Hope yours was great!

 

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