Friday, July 16, 2010


Larry and I went to James Madison's home, Montpelier. It is a work in progress and very interesting. They have been restoring it to what it was like in 1820's when James and Dolley Madison lived here, which meant removing the alterations made to it after his death when it was sold. In 1901 William and Annie duPont purchased it, expanded and restored the house. Every thing they removed or changed they kept and stored, so all the restoration now is being done with the original items. The house restoration is nearly finished, now they are trying to find the items that where in the house and sold. Most of the rooms were empty, but it still was a fascinating tour.
These are where the house slave quarters have been located. We wish we had more time to talk to them about their work.

This is the front of Montpelier. It went through three changes in James Madison's life. His parents built the first house. The door on the right was its door and the door in the middle were windows, there was no left side. After James was married and they moved in they built on the left side adding the middle door and left door. (they didn't take out the wall so you had to go out their door on the left and go to the door on the right to visit mom.). After he retired from office he built the wings on each the side of the house.
Here I am with Dolley and James. Dolley was known for being a great hostess. James was a very small man - 5'2 and only 100 lbs. He died at home at the age of 85, the last one to die who wrote the Constitution. (sort of reminds me of my dad, he was a small man and died at 85). He was in debt, so the house had to be sold and Dolley lived in poverty the rest of her life.
The reason we didn't have more time to spend exploring the grounds at Montpelier our group had a tour at Monticello at 2:00.( about 30 miles away) This is the new visitor center and we saw a movie on Jefferson and his life here before getting on a bus and going to his home. You can go here for free and not tour his home. Where at Montpelier you had to pay as you drove in ($16 a person) then you got to go to their new visitor center, see a movie and tour the grounds.

Our tour guide welcoming us to Jefferson's home Monticello. This home had also been sold to pay his debts, but nothing had been changed to it. It is the only private residency on the United Nation registry list, which means the nations have agreed not to bomb it. Our tour guide said it wasn't so much about who had lived here but for the architecture importance. It is fully furnished and another fascinating tour.

This is the view of the house that is on the back of a nickel.

Larry with Jefferson, a very tall man. Jefferson was friends with Madison, they must have looked like Mutt and Jeff.

Today,Friday July 16, I took off in the car and drove the Blue Ridge Parkway while Larry took the Interstates to the KOA at Natural Bridge our next stop. It was a beautiful drive, but I'm sure it wouldn't have been much fun for Larry driving the motor home. Also at the Visitor Centers and overlooks there isn't much room to park the RV.

This was my first stop of the day where I spent 2 and 1/2 hours. I toured the farm and all its little buildings and then I took a hike to the Rocks.

This was the first overlook after getting on the Parkway. I was afraid it may be too hazy to see anything today but the day was great.

Three talented woman painting at this overlook.

Never saw them till I climbed up the mountain.

Flowers and butterflies for my sister. Each flower had a butterfly on it.

The cabin with smoke coming out the chimney. There was a fire going and water boiling.

It was an interesting walk. It looked like a hard life to me.

I started up this trail at 9:30 to go to the Rocks. I took my camera, phone, water and some nuts. I had to stop about ten times. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. At least I didn't have a large backpack on my back like two of the girls I was following.

The path got a little steep and rocky. How much further? Would I make it to the top?

I made it! The sign must be wrong, but it did feel like 8 miles. I reached the top at 11:00. The sign before I left said 4.1 mile loop and to leave 3 to 4 hours for it. I left from the parking lot.
The view! There was a nice breeze blowing, so I took a little break. I ate a few nuts, drank some water (it was almost gone) and headed back down. I was on my way by 11:45. Downhill was much easier and faster.

The view just above the parking lot.

I pulled off at several of the overlooks and enjoyed the spectacular views.

I was at the campground by 1:30 and tonight we are going to see a light show at Natural Bridge.

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