Monticello
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Monticello Historic Landmark

Monticello was the home of Thomas Jefferson, our third president of the United States of America. It is located on the crest of a small hill two miles south of Charlottesville Virginia. It is situated at the western fringe of the great Piedmont Region of Virginia, that 100-mile wide fertile plateau extending from the Atlantic Coast to the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is just 75 miles northwest of Richmond Virginia and 120 miles southwest of Washington DC near the foot of the mountains.

Monticello was the center of a 5000-acre plantation that employed over 100 Afro-American slaves plus several workers and artisans. The house was designed, built and remodeled by Jefferson. The beautiful neo-classical structure is in the Colonial Georgian tradition and contains many ingenious inventions and gadgets created by its owner. Beautifully designed gardens and orchards surround it.

Monticello is open to the public daily

Rotunda in Charlottesville Virginia designed by Thomas Jefferson © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
Jefferson designed the original campus of the university and its primary buildings including the magnificent rotunda that can still be seen in the heart of Charlottesville.

The house and grounds including many of the original outbuildings have been beautifully restored and preserved. They are owned and operated by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and are open to the public every day of the year except Christmas. Normal hours of operation are 8AM to 5PM with slightly reduced hours during the winter months. An admission fee of $13 for adults and $6 for children includes free parking on the plantation and a free shuttle bus ride to the house.

Thomas Jefferson was a philosopher, naturalist, writer, lawyer, architect, inventor and statesman. He drafted the Declaration of Independence and parts of the Constitution of the United States. He served as emissary to France, as vice president of the new republic and eventually as president of the USA. He was a scholar, a scientist and great supporter of education. He personally led the drive for the establishment of The University of Virginia that is still located in nearby Charlottesville. Jefferson designed the original campus of the university and its primary buildings including the magnificent rotunda that can still be seen in the heart of Charlottesville.

A nice day excursion from Washington DC

If you are driving US route 95 up or down the east coast, Monticello is only a one-hour detour west from Richmond Virginia. This makes a nice overnight stop on the long drive between Florida and New York. Monticello is also a pleasant two-and-a-half hour excursion southwest of Washington DC via route 29. If you have enough time, it is well worth taking the longer way via route 66 west from Washington DC to the town of Front Royal then following Skyline Drive south along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains to Waynesboro near Charlottesville.  This hundred-mile drive through Shenandoah National Park follows the ridge of the mountains with spectacular panoramic views across the farmlands of the coastal plain to the east and alternatively across the broad Shenandoah Valley to the Appalachian Mountains in the west.

Written by: Mike Leco
Top Photo Credit: © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
Photo Description: The Monticello Historic Landmark