Places to Go (Vacation) - James Madison's Montpelier (Orange, VA)


As part of our Orange, VA weekend getaway, we visited James Madison's impressive Montpelier estate. Unlike George Washington's Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, restoration of the Madison mansion began fairly recently. So the interior still has some empty rooms as the archaeologists try to figure out exactly how the house was furnished during its prime. Plus, Dolly Madison died bankrupt after selling off most of the family's possessions (poor Dolly), which complicates today's search to find the "original furnishings." The estate refers to these efforts as "the Presidential Detective Story" and it makes an interesting tale. We've visited a number of restored estates but until we visited Montpelier I had never really considered how much effort it takes to bring back the past.

In addition to the house, the grounds are beautiful - with tons of trails, gardens, amazing views of the Blue Ridge mountains, and places to explore. Speciality tours are offered throughout the day - we attended a really informative Slave Tour (the original slave cemetery is preserved). Plus, I enjoyed learning about Madison himself, quite a life.

We went without the kids but there are plenty of things for kids to do (minus the house tour, which would probably bore children under 10) - archaeological digs for children, a hands-on tent (with building techniques and crafts), an outdoor cooking tent, a Freedman's Farm with animals and a special Children's playroom on weekends. Plus plenty of room to run and run (which is usually what my kids want to do). Also, for lovers of horses, the thoroughbred retirement foundation is on site.

Montpelier is about 1.5 hours to 2 hours from DC, so you could visit as a day trip. But if you can swing it, I highly suggest an overnight in this lovely area of Virginia. Admission is $16 for adults and $8 for children 6-14 (children under 6 are free). The estate is open from 9 am to 5pm in the summer (9-4 pm in the winter).

doors and windows


*Thank you, Sweet Fine Day for this, so well stated - " . . . . . And this is why I choose to share (sharing is caring! bwahaha, sorry, couldn’t resist). It’s not because I think my life is better than yours (I assure you, it is probably not). It’s not because I want to be some kind of blog celebrity (that whole thing, you guys, is so weird and strange). It’s not because I have anything to teach anybody. What I do have, through age and experience for a lack of a better way to describe it, are stories and I genuinely believe that through sharing, we can help each other out. To tell each other that it’s ok to get angry, to be sad and frustrated, to be scared and lonely sometimes. That it’s ok to be all of these things even as mothers. Although I love my children dearly and I am proud of the little people that they are turning out to be, being a mother isn’t my greatest achievement in life. It may very well turn out to be in the end, but I don’t know this to be true yet because I haven’t finished living my life. Being a mother isn’t what defines me. It’s part of who I am, but it isn’t what defines me. I get to decide what does."

*A beautiful set of photos.

*I found this really inspirational (link via The Blue Hour)

*Shadow art with piles of trash - INCREDIBLE!!

*100 Things that Are Getting Better (YAY!!)

*A reality show about "real" food? This new show sounds amazing, "each episode will feature a different issue and the grassroots solutions that “food rebels”—Food Forward’s affectionate name for changemakers—are implementing, from sustainable farm fishing in Alaska to rooftop gardening in New York City to organic ranching in Wyoming."

*Tori Amos continues to amaze me. She even makes 80's pop music sound magical.


No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...