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America’s Historic East – Enlightened Mansion

Monticello

Our day of Virginia discovery continued with a scenic drive up to Charlottesville of University of Virginia fame (and violent radical right rally infamy) for a visit to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate.

Garden view of the estate

This visit was another longtime wish-list item for me and it certainly did not disappoint. The views from the mountain top was amazing. Think of the logistics challenge of building such a place on a hilltop where everything has to be hauled up there and imagine that the owner wanted never seen before details like alcove beds, triple glass windows with openable sashes, etc. which explains the steep level of debt Jefferson found himself in.

Jefferson was a global statesman in his time, years spent in France as an ambassador where he furthered his understanding of the theories of the enlightenment which became the basis of Declaration of Independence for which Jefferson was the primary author.

Jefferson grave stone at Monticello

Our tour was absolutely amazing and the local docent did an excellent job highlighting the legacy of his presidency as well as the obvious inconsistency of the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence as it relates to Jefferson Estate’s 400+ slaves. The estate includes a well put together exhibit on this topic, including the “unheard voices project” collecting stories of the enslaved.

Our hotel in Staunton, VA

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