Continuing with our Virginia tour, our second day was a road trip from our base at the Homewood Suites in Williamsburg. It took a couple of hours to drive to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and it sits like a crown jewel atop a mountain overlooking the scenic Charlottesville countryside. You park below the visitor’s center, purchase your ticket and then wait for a bus going up the hill for a ride. www.monticello.org/
The architecture in the house was amazing, and we loved the gardens that were carved into the south side of the hill. My favorite spot would have been in the little sunroom perched in the garden.
They have a wonderful gift shop, and we all found something to bring home, including heirloom seeds, books and some Virginia-made items. I have lots more pictures in the below photo gallery from around Monticello.
We drove down the hill to lunch at Michie Tavern, (pronounced “Mickey”) where travelers have been welcomed for over 200 years. They serve lunch buffet style and the food featured southern favorites. Be sure and walk around and look at the different parts of the tavern including the old log part.
They also have a several little log cabins, a tobacco barn and a mill that feature shops. I would recommend doing Monticello in the morning, then lunch and about an hour to browse the shops. www.michietavern.com/
We then headed northeast to see the Civil War battlefields of The Wilderness and Chancellorsville, where unimaginable horrors were occurring 150 years ago. It was a beautiful drive through horse country with immaculate farms lining the two-lane highway.
I would recommend you set aside a day to do this by itself so you can take your time but we were on a tight schedule and only had time for a quick drive-through of the battlefield areas. At one of the battlefield visitor’s centers we watched a movie about the battles and I highly recommend this so you understand the history of the battles. We didn’t have time to visit Fredericksburg as it was getting dark.
Here’s the NPS Chancellorsville website: http://www.nps.gov/frsp/chanville.htm
Here’s the website for all the Virginia Civil War sites…
I strongly encourage every family to visit historic sites and “re-live” our American history. Children need to learn how and why our great nation evolved, and these living history time capsules make the past come alive. Do your part in helping educate the next generations about what it cost for the people of the United States to earn their freedom.
“Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it,” George Santayana (1863-1952) from his book “Reason in Common Sense.”