Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Perhaps the most famous house in America after the White House is Monticello, built by Thomas Jefferson. It is featured on one side of the nickel (5 cents) coin. Our friend Jean lives in nearby Charlottesville, VA.

The famous view of the house.

Two distinguished gentlemen (centre and right). The gentlemanly status of the one on the left is in doubt. Jefferson was 6'2" tall so I suspect the statue is not tall enough since I am 6'0".

The entrance for tourists and visitors. The dome is not visible from this side.

We had to wait for about an hour for our tour of the building to commence so we walked around the gardens.

The ice house.

This was known as the 'dependency' where much of the work was done by slaves.

Where the washing was done.

A few flowers were blooming but not many after the long cold winter. All the garden beds were covered by netting to keep the rabbits out.

It would not surprise me if Jefferson planted this tree.

The hoops held up the netting.

The grounds are very pleasant without being ostentatious.

Jefferson was very keen on gardening and growing crops. He created a 1000 foot long area for growing all sorts of crops.

The house sits on top of a hill but there is an even higher hill behind it.

No doubt it would be pleasant to walk under this trellis when it was covered in vines. After the long cold winter, there was no evidence of much growing at all.

Even the nursery was barren.

Jefferson was keen on wine and grew his own.

No doubt slaves built this wall.

Peach trees.

Eventually, it was time for our tour to start. Photography inside the house is not allowed.

Paint peeling on the front window sill. I hope our entrance fees ($25) help to get this repainted.

Above the entrance is a weather vane linked to this arrow showing what way the wind was blowing. 

Photography is not allowed in the house, so no photos.

The tour was worth doing, but I got the feeling that everything is timed so that they can push as many people through as possible. Some of the rooms are small so that restricts the size of every group. 

Side view of the house. It really is a fascinating design including octagonal rooms and interesting colours. I could live there.

After the tour, we walked down to Jefferson's grave.

Gate to the graveyard.

His gravestone. Several people are buried underneath as well as Jefferson. 

There are quite a few graves in addition to those in the immediate area of Jefferson's monument.

We took the shuttle bus back to the visitor's center to go though a small museum that showed replicas of items in the house. I happened to look closely at the map and noticed an error in this map. The town of Kemi should be on the western coast. It is in Finland, not Russia. Take note Thomas Kitchin. Perhaps he was one of those craftsman who always put in a mistake since only God makes no mistakes.

How does eagle eyed Ray know this? In less than a month, I will take a train from Kemi to Helsinki on my way to Singapore.

An update to this story. I was wrong in that there is a town called Kem where Kitchin said it should be. I owe that man an apology. OK, he added an 'i'.

View Larger Map

Floor plan of the house.

How the dome was constructed.

It never ceases to amaze me that two such great talents such as Jefferson and Ben Franklin were around at the same time. Add in George Washington and you really had some real talent forming the future of the development of the early USA.

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