Jefferson's Fascinating Home
A work in progress throughout his adult life, Monticello truly reflects Thomas Jefferson’s many passions: architecture, philosophy, science, music, literature, art, and food. Check out the excellent visitors' center first and take a shuttle to the mountaintop mansion with its expansive views. A guide takes you through the main-floor rooms, including Jefferson’s bedroom/study/library. Then explore the cellars, terrace walks, kitchen, thousand-foot vegetable garden, and Mulberry Row, where ongoing reconstruction illuminates the important roles slaves played at this complex and innovative plantation. Order timed tickets online for your desired date. Hours vary by season.
By Will Jackson, AFAR Local Expert
Jefferson's Inspiring Gardens of Montecello
During the summer when I was working on my Masters degree in Public Horticulture, I stayed at the University of Virginia, in housing that Thomas Jefferson had originally conceived for students in 1817. The campus is part and parcel of Jefferson’s historic Monticello estate, and the chance to live in such an iconic setting was awe-inspiring for me. Just outside my door was the serpentine wall that divided Jefferson’s many flower gardens, vegetable plots, and orchards. It was an honor to spend several months studying these plantings, as well as the nearby ruins of the Jefferson-designed Barboursville Mansion, and the landscape archaeology of Poplar Forest, Jefferson’s smaller plantation-house retreat. (image: lfm1863/Flickr)
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Hidden in the hills southeast of Charlottesville, Virginia, one can visit the home of the man who helped establish a new nation, agreed to a land purchase which nearly stretched from sea to shining sea, and founded a university which lives on to this day. Though street signs are well posted, arriving at Thomas Jefferson's estate can be tricky if you don't use GPS. Parking is free, but adult admission to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is now above $20. A shuttle transports visitors to the home, followed by a one-hour guided tour. Photographs inside the home are not permitted, but the guides make up for it with a pleasant tour. In addition to the main house are the gardens, exhibit rooms, gift shop, and the family cemetery where Jefferson is interred.
By Joshua Kozak
Like on the back side of a nickel
Thomas Jefferson's home at Monticello, Virginia.