Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Virginia Trip

Our trip to Virginia was wonderful. The morning of our stay at Keswick Hall was a sunny, chilly one. We ordered room service. Is there no sweeter luxury? 

The sunrise was gorgeous. I couldn't help but sneak out on the balcony and shoot a few early morning photos.

The frost called us and we had a great walk on the grounds after breakfast.

Charlie's halo was showing.

These photos have not be manipulated at all. It was seriously JUST this pretty!

E. was so patient as I snapped photos all over God's great earth on our little walk!

No golfers on this morning but I can see how this could get a little precarious.

The fireplace was calling us back at the Inn. We snuggled up with tea and hot apple cider.

The living room was charming and cozy. I could have stayed there for hours playing Scrabble with E. But the day was calling us onward.

We loved our stay at Keswick Inn. The valet tucked us into our car with bottles of water and directions to Michie Tavern for lunch. 

He said that the fried chicken and peach cobbler were worth the trip. He was right. The chicken was the best I've had outside of my Momma's kitchen!

The Tavern staff dresses in period costume. It reminded me of something my step-dad would have loved. The lunch was ridiculously expensive and boasted of a bottomless buffet (gross). I don't care how much it costs. I'm not eating my weight in fried chicken just to get my "money's worth". But it was tasty and quick. This historic tavern was built in 1784 by Corporal Michie on Buck Mountain just below Thomas Jefferson's home.

We were on a mission to get to Monticello so didn't roam the grounds.

We drove up to the estate and I noticed this new bridge named after Mr. and Mrs. Tom Saunders III. 

Saunders Bridge, 2002 A.D.

E. and I stopped by Saunders Hall at the Darden Business School during our downtown visit in Charlottesville the day before. Jordan and Tom Saunders were clients during the 1995 event at UVA and again to open the new Darden Business School 15 years ago when I worked for WashingtonInc. It was too much fun seeing their name everywhere at Monticello. There is a new trail and boardwalk named in their honor as well.

We were at this historic home on a very quiet Monday and the grounds were empty. We took a tour of the home with just four other guests. It was delightful. I hadn't been there since my college tour in the late 80s. The visitor's center is amazing and has recently been finished. The house is exactly the same. I found it a bit sad that many parts of the house seemed...well, old and run down. I'm a bit spoiled with our visits to the Octagon House in Washington, DC. They renovated the main floor with dental tools at the Octagon to remove the years and layers of paint. Monticello needs some dental work too. The caked on paint was just sad.

It was a gorgeous day and we strolled the trails basically by ourselves.

UVA is visible from the home. Jefferson would have been able to watch them build it. One of my favorite facts about Thomas Jefferson was his love of farming. He was convinced our country would be made up of farmland, not industrial parks. He brought wine making to Virginia and there is a Jefferson Wine Trail that I'd definitely like to hike!

We stopped to speak with the archaeologists on site doing work on Mulberry Row.

This would have been a main street back when the property was a working plantation. There were small dwellings where people lived and worked. The archaeologists are looking at the dirt to see if they can gather any more details about what took place here. It is fascinating. My favorite detail of the tour was learning about the five slaves that were set free in Thomas Jefferson's will. A man asked why these five were set apart from the other 150 men and women that lived on the property. The docent told us it was because these five men had great skill in their trade and could survive in freedom. They would have been carpenters, stone masons and more who lived and worked on this street. You can't visit this home and not address the issue of slavery. Since my last visit the relationship Jefferson had with Sally Hemings has been brought much further to the surface and many books have been published. 

The gardens were dormant. You can see the bricks of a former home to the left on Mulberry Row.

It has been very warm this winter. There were daffodils blooming in February along the trails. We headed home from Monticello and truly enjoyed the down time for my birthday weekend. 

Thank you again Eric for this wonderful trip. I love exploring the world with you and learning about history. I'm so thankful to have a friend that enjoys this type of learning just as much as I do. You are my favorite.


Bethany said...

I LOVE seeing your trip report since I'm planning a similar visit for the end of March. You're getting VERY good with your camera.


Laura Casey Interiors said...

Wow the Keswick Inn looked stunning... Chilly though!

Ella said...

Oh, so many beautiful places! I understand why it was hard for you to not take photos of everything.