The day was one of those rare ones this past March that was warm and pleasant for our day at Monticello, in Charlottesville, VA. We were on a retirement community trip - a "Mystery Trip that we'd signed on for not knowing where we would be going! Once we headed down Rt 15 south we were guessing either Fredericksburg or Monticello and once we passed Rt. 17 into Fredericksburg, we knew where we were headed although we did pass Montpelier (another very interesting day!).
While eating, the girls came by asking if we wanted more of anything. Our drinks were refilled and then dessert was offered but most of us had had our fill. The cost of the buffet was almost $18 each plus beverage. The venue was rustic and the service was on pewter-like metal to add an air of authenticity. Our group, without a reservation, was seated at a long table all together, but other diners were seated at smaller tables, and there was another room with groups. It was a pleasant meal finished with a trip to one of several gift shops available, the smaller one in the building, and another a short walk away. A toy shop was also an attraction.
The house tour, led by knowledgeable guides, toured a variety of rooms and pointed out many of Jefferson's inventions. He was a man of many talents and loved architecture and inventions to make life easier. Although his first library was donated to and began the Library of Congress, he learned he couldn't live without books and embarked on collecting another library, gathering 1600 volumes before his death, which added greatly to his debt. Survivors at that time by law had to pay off those debts and it took several generations to settle those of Jefferson, even after the sale of the house and property .
Tip #2: For those who want to make a weekend in that area, a stop at Orange, VA and a visit at Montpelier would provide activity for a second day. In Orange there is a Holiday Inn that is quite nice for those not interested in B&Bs (offered at Mitchie Tavern). Appomattox Courthouse is not too much further south. Driving along Rt 15 is quite pleasant and worthwhile and is listed as "a Journey Through Hallowed Ground Byway," (Civil War sites) from Frederick, MD, well into Virginia.
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