Sunday, September 4, 2011

Plantation Restorations~

The Barrister Son took us on an anniversary road trip
to visit the beautiful homes of two of our Founding Fathers,
James Madison, and his good friend,
Thomas Jefferson.
Both were from originally from Orange County, Virginia.

Montpelier was the home of our 4th president, James Madison.  
It sits on a rise looking at the Blue Ridge Mountains on what was originally 
surrounded by 7000+ acres
that he inherited from his father.

Visitors could be viewed from the house 
long before they made it up the round drive.

History shows that many visitors entered here.

The Temple is separated from the outside kitchen on the north side.  
It was practical as well as aesthetically pleasing.
The floor of this structure covers a 
24' deep by 6' wide hole
which kept everything cold year 'round.
It was just one of the ideas Madison used to improve life on the plantation.

See how the windows are set so that light goes all of the way through,
which must have helped in the darker times of day,
and allowed airflow when they were opened. 

A walk through the garden was nice and cool, even on a warm day.

 At the bottom of the gardens is an original barn, complete with a lightening rod.  
Benjamin Franklin was another friend that he shared ideas with.

Over time the Madison Family had to sell the farm to pay debts. 
It eventually ended up in the hands of the duPont Family.  One of the last
duPont heirs, Marion duPont Scott, left it to the 
National Trust for Historic Preservation
to be restored and open to visitors.

Monticello, pronounced with a "chello", was home to our third president and 
close friend of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson.  
Signs of his inventiveness can be seen before entering the house in the clock above the door and the weathervane dial 
(which is connected to the vane on the roof).

The Entrance Hall through these doors flanked by triple-pane windows.  
This Hall showcases pieces of Jefferson's past; the Louisiana Purchase, travels abroad,
the Lewis-Clark Expedition, his cannon-ball clock/calendar and more.

Inside has some very interesting concepts.  Cameras aren't allowed :(
but you can check out the rooms by clicking on the links to follow them. 
His bedchamber is a good example of his minimalist style.  The closet is
above his 6'3" bed (for his 6'2" long body) which is built
into the wall.  
On one side of the bed is his Cabinet, or Office which has 
a revolving table and a book stand which holds 5 books at once,
so he could research more at one time! 

has a hidden door/shelf where the food was delivered 
giving the guests more privacy.
Built into the sides of the fireplace are
dumb-waiters to bring the wine up from the cellar below.

The Dining Room leads to the balcony
which is built out over the 
cooler rooms where the work is done.
Horse stalls and ice storage are also built under the balcony.

Below the Dining Room the dumb-waiter still works.

The passageways under the house are cool and lit with
natural light.

Ninety-plus percent of the original house and furnishings
are at Montecello today.

The windows are mostly the original, now wavy glass,
which can be covered by the shutters designed by Jefferson which 
tuck in, so they appear to be a part of the inside of the interior walls.
The windows, shutters and their alignment are similar to the ones found at Montpelier.

Known world-wide as an innovative farmer and botanist,
Jeffereson created new strains of plants and traded with others
to expand his gardens.  He had extensive notes and a trail of letters
for future generations to learn from.


Vegetable Garden

 His cherished Monticello was also
lost to his family due to debt,
and is open to the public through the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.  
They have been working on the restoration for over 80 years.  

Both men contributed much to our country leaving their unique
marks in many ways.....

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