CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) – Each week, 8News Meteorologist Tim Pandajis explores different day trip spots in our area. You can get to most of them on just a tank a gas! This week, Tim takes us to the city of Charlottesville to visit Monticello, the home of our nation’s third president, Thomas Jefferson.
With just one look around Monticiello’s grounds, you can see why it is such a remarkable landmark thanks to its architecture, beautiful grounds and spectacular views.
Monticello is a complete reflection of Thomas Jefferson and the person he was. He was constantly experimenting with new building practices, ideas and concepts, which is why the home was nearly always under some sort of construction or renovation during his time there.
Nowadays the public can experience and understand President Jefferson by exploring his life, both politically and privately, through tours and activities at Monticello.
Monticello’s Steve Light explains, “When you come here to Monticello there are more than 100 things to do besides taking a tour of the home. We offer family programs and family tours, exhibit galleries down below, Griffin Discovery room, which is great if you have a family with young children.”
The tradition of constant improvements continues today at the historic site. Recently Monticello underwent a major restoration project called the Mountaintop Project, to bring the home back to the time of Jefferson and revive different levels of the home which are now available for viewing by the public.
“One of the things for people who have been here before might be interested in is taking our behind the scenes tour which is an offering we have 6 times a day,” says Light.
Monticello was designed by Jefferson to be totally self-sufficient with what seemed like a fully-functioning miniature city with its own slave population. Slaves also tended to the farms and livestock, as well as cultivating numerous cash crops to sustain Jefferson’s ventures.
Thomas Jefferson’s vegetable garden was essentially his laboratory, where he experimented with over 330 varieties and 100 different species of plants. Today the garden is used to cultivate and preserve seeds.
Mulberry road was a site of industry and agriculture in Jefferson’s time and is now in the process of being restored. There are also numerous ongoing archaeological digs underway, including one on Mulberry road.
Events are held at Monticello throughout the year and a schedule of upcoming activities can all be found on their website.