Charlottesville, Virginia

After a beautiful drive through some of the greenest country I've ever seen, we arrive in Charlottesville,
Virginia, home of three former presidents: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. Although California
is known as the "golden state", it is really the "brown" state due to its semi-arid climate and the fact that it
seldom rains at all between June and October. We were lucky to have California weather on our trip east this year.

We begin our presidential tours by visiting the home of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence.

This one-room "house" was home for Thomas and Martha while Monticello was under construction.
We were not allowed inside but we were told the square building measures 18 by 18 feet.

The back side of Monticello today. This view makes for a better photo,
as the front of the house is a bit obscured by an overgrown tree.

The garden area of Monticello, where the slaves worked to provide
food for the Jefferson family and all other residents at Monticello.

There are acres of lawns at these presidential homes.
I wonder if they had lawn mowers in the 18th century.

Now we leave Thomas at rest and we move on to visit the home of James and Dolly Madison.

This is "Montpelier", home of the Madison family. Hmmm ... we don't have a name for our house.

Madison's lawn and horse riding/racing track in the distance.
Maybe they had goats to keep the grass trimmed.

The back yard at Montpelier ... no irrigation necessary. Looks like my back yard. Yeah.
Notice the tents set up on the right side of the picture - see pic below.

An archaeological dig of Dolly Madison's north kitchen is underway (July, 2009).
One wonders why it was lost in the first place - maybe she was a lousy cook.

Somebody really wants to find Dolly's kitchen. I'm more interested in their collection of lawn mowers.

James and Dolly were kind enough to pose with Snuffles, who is straining to view the kitchen dig.
It's time to drive over to James Monroe's house, a short drive from both Madison's and Jefferson's.

Monroe's house has the most arrogant sounding name, yet it's a fixer-upper compared to Montpelier and Monticello.

Monroe didn't seem to enjoy the financial success that his peers did, but he STILL had a lot of lawn to mow.

The University of Virginia, conceived and designed primarily by Thomas Jefferson,
was considered by Jefferson to be one of his life's biggest accomplishments.

The architecture at the U. of Virginia is definitely Jeffersonian in style,
reflecting his preference for Italian design and also his time spent in France.

One of the U. of Virginia's most prominent students, if only for one year, was Edgar
Allan Poe. His room on campus, #13, is preserved as a memorial to him. It is located
in a prestigious dormitory reserved for fourth-year students with the highest GPAs.

"The Raven", one of the world's best known poems, is Poe's most popular work. A statue of the
raven sits perched in Poe's preserved dorm room ... can you hear him? .... "Nevermore".

I'm sure most dorm rooms of today look much like Poe's sparsely furnished model ... don't they?

It's time to leave the Charlottesville area and head east for Williamsburg, VA.
Snuffles whispers goodbye to his old friend Tom Jefferson as we hit the road.

Click for Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown

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