Charlottesville, VA, October 4, 2012
10.04.2012 79 °F
The country roads here were beautiful today with many of the trees starting to change color. Our first road took us to the home of John-Boy Walton AKA Earl Hamner, Jr. In the tiny town of Schuyler, VA we found the Walton's Mountain Museum housed in the former Schuyler Elementary School. It's a wonderful tribute to the Walton's TV show with lots of memorabilia, multiple rooms made up just like the show and a terrific movie with interviews of the cast. After the museum we walked across the street to the house the Earl Hamner grew up in and the Country store. What a great find!
Lunch today was at the Michie (say Mickey) Tavern. This historic 18th century tavern served as the social center of the community. The midday meal is served in the Ordinary by servers dressed in period attire. It is hearty 18th century fare and delicious! Also on the property are a General Store, The Clothier, The Metal Smith and the Tavern-museum Shop. Another great find for today.
After our meal we headed about 1/4 mile down the road to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home. This is a fabulous plantation owned by the writer of our Declaration of Independence. The same person who believed that "all men are created equal" and have a right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" and owned over 600 slaves in his lifetime!! Upon his death he only freed 5 of them! Incredible! We had a great tour of the house that is filled with about 65% original artifacts. Then we also toured Mulberry Row, which was a 1,300 foot long section of the grounds that were originally planted with mulberry trees. This is where the Jefferson's vegetable garden was, along with slave houses, a nailery, joiner's shop and others. Jefferson inherited land from his father and, over the years, added to it until he had 5,000 acres. This land was not all the same plantation, he divided it up into farms and had Monticello, Poplar Ridge, Tufton, Lego and Shadwell. Originally he grew tobacco as a cash crop, but turned to wheat when grain prices rose. Even with all this land and crops, Thomas Jefferson was in serious financial trouble when he died and the house and furnishings had to be sold. There is a cemetery on the property where he and much of his family are buried. This is still an active cemetery and taken care of by the family.
The weather turned out to be perfect today, with lots of sun and a high about 79°.