I can't say I've always wanted to visit Monticello. That would imply I've known about it since the time I was a coherent enough child to know that it existed. American nickels float through Canada, so I'm sure I'd seen it when I was a kid and had no idea how damn cool it was.
Throughout my education in Canada, I was forced to learn a ton of American History. Does forced sound harsh? It would probably sound better if I said 'coerced enlightenment'.
Although I rolled my eyes in school wondering why I'd ever need to know which President was which, or what the capital of Vermont was, now I'm very glad that I learned as much as I did from both school and Comedy Central.
In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that I would ever live here in the United States of America. I was a very happy Canadian, living in my happy (slightly frosty) Canadian world.
Then I met Chuckwagon. And suddenly, I had a use for all this American knowledge! I had someone to impress!
And impressed he was. I'm married to him now, aren't I? And knowing that there are nine Supreme Court Justices will come in handy on that pesky Citizenship test. Thank you Mr. Stewart!
Somewhere along the line I became fascinated with the American Revolution. I learned everything I could learn about the first four Presidents. I became particularly interested in John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Both as individuals, and in their long, rocky friendship.
As I said in my last post, Monticello is my Graceland. I think I was doing this exact dance while I was waiting on the steps for the tour to begin.
Our tour began at 2pm, but we arrived early to stroll the grounds and gardens. It was a beautiful day.
I LOVED the gardens. Obviously.
A view from above.
I somehow didn't picture any Yucca in the gardens, but here they were.
I loved all the tuteurs they had in the garden, to grow various types of bean.
Some Leek Porn for IG.
LOVED all the French Mallow. This shot is probably my favourite flower shot...with a little bee rolling around in the pollen :D
The scent from the drifts of lavender was AWESOME. Lavender makes my brain happy.
I think that Monticello was the butterflies' Graceland too.
This is Cleome (Spider Lily), is it not?
Chuck kept walking around sniffing the air like he smelled something weird. He walked up to it, rubbed the leaves and sniffed his fingers. His eyebrows flew up and said, 'I knew I smelled pot! Kyna! This smells just like marijuana!' And then he smelled his fingers some more.
All I could do was sigh and shake my head. Here I was in awe of everything, and he's amazed that he found a plant that smells like weed. And is shouting about it. I think I walked away and pretended I wasn't married to Cheech and Chong.
This was from Mulberry Row, the road leading from the house where all the slave dwellings were. This seems to be the only thing left from that time. Sad and interesting at the same time.
There were many cool trees on the property. The guide said that none of them were from TJ's time though. Chuck bought me a book from the gift shop for my birthday, about the gardens of Monticello. It said that when he died, many of the rare plants and trees he had up there were looted or cut down. I liked these trees:
We also got some nice shots that were closer to the house.
This one's probably my favourite.
The woman in blue seemed to REALLY want to be in all my pictures. (the other woman in blue)
Gardenias and Meyer lemon trees had some wonderful smelling blooms on this part of the deck...
View from the other side.
Chuck on the steps looking hot.
I'm sure this tree was from TJ's time.
It looks big with Chuck sitting on it, looks even bigger from up above with me sitting on it (like a doofus).
Saying goodbye to Monticello.
Stopped at the Jefferson cemetery on the walk back down to the visitor's center.
Almost impossible to get a shot of TJ's monument, there was crowd like you wouldn't believe.
Posing with TJ at the visitor's center. I was was proud of myself for not being too silly with it. I have a tendency to get silly with statues. Is that kind of creepy?
Some random fun things I learned on my summer vacation to Monticello:
~Thomas Jefferson played the violin. I didn't know that before, but I'm not surprised. That ended kind of early though, because he broke his wrist when he was in France, and it never healed properly. The story is that he broke it jumping over some hedges trying to impress a woman named Maria Cosway. Just like a man...
~TJ did not like to waste space when designing a building. That's the reason he didn't like stairways. There are only two in the house, and they're extremely skinny. I had this vision of myself trying to ascend, and getting wedged like Winnie The Pooh in Rabbit's hole.
Chuck completely missed this stairway because he was so focused on something else cool during the tour.After the house tour, we were resting on a bench near the back where the stairway was. Somehow this came up in a conversation with a tour guide that was waiting for another tour to pass so she could go in that door. She was AWESOME enough to take him back inside briefly to show him...being a guy that has a hand in building houses, Chuck was tickled :D.
Well, not literally. If she had tickled him, I would have punched her.
~ TJ loved making copies of everything.
He had an early sort of polygraph sitting on the desk in his study, two pens set up on one device in exactly the same position. He would write something out, and the other pen would mimic his penstrokes and thus a copy would be made.
People thought he was an inventor, but it was more appropriate to call him an 'improver'. The only thing he actually invented from scratch was a part for a plow. Everything else, he just made easier to use.
~ This next fact, I knew already. And I'm sure many others know it as well, but I think it's one of the greatest coincedences of all time.
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were fast friends when they were young, when the new government of the US was being formed. They had a falling out later on, because of political differences. They actually got really nasty with each other during their competetive presidential campaign, and didn't speak for years and years. When they were old, and retired from politics, they reconnected as friends and wrote some of the most interesting letters to each other.
They both died on July 4th, 1826. The 50th anniversary of Independence Day. When John Adams died, his last words were reported to be 'Thomas Jefferson survives.' He had no idea that Jefferson had already died a few hours earlier.
Neat stuff. Hope you enjoyed! Sad I couldn't get pics from inside the house, but that's not allowed. And like a good little Canadian, I follow the rules :)
My next post will be a much smaller interlude between President's houses. We took a trip down to Charlottesville's historic Downtown Mall to get some dinner and soak up the atmosphere of a college town.