Monticello, the vast estate of Thomas Jefferson, tells the story of a great American, whose influence on democracy, freedom and government still rings true. Jefferson served as the third United States president and creator of the Declaration of Independence, as well as a great historian.
Visitors to his classic home and beautiful gardens in Charlottesville, will come away with a new understanding of the man who helped shape the United States.
This mountaintop masterpiece, which Jefferson designed and built, is about 120 miles from Washington, D.C.
The best place to start is at the visitor center for an introductory 15-minute film, shown three times per hour every day. The film, Thomas Jefferson’s World, showcases Jefferson’s ideas and his vision for America as well as profiles of those who worked the land.
Monticello offers several experiences, which can be combined. The day pass and House Tour includes a guided tour of the first floor, slave quarters and gardens (mid-March through October). The Behind-the-Scenes Tour takes visitors up to the second and third floors, including the Dome Room, that reveal the complexities of family life.
“This shows what it was really like to live here,” said Steve Light, manager of house tours. “When you climb the steep stairs, you enter into the family quarters. It’s not the ‘public’ Jefferson of the first floor. It’s the ‘Downton Abbey’ of 19th-century American life.”
The Hemings Family Tour depicts how an enslaved family lived on the grounds, while the Monticello Garden Tasting Tour features samplings of seasonal fruits and vegetables. The venue also holds special events like a Gingerbread Workshop, Holiday Open House and Owl Prowl.
Discounted tickets are available for groups of 25 or more. Box lunches can be ordered in advance through the Café.
Motorcoach parking is available.
For more information, call 434 984-9880 or visit monticello.org.
Article by Mira Temkin.