3 Gals Hittin’ the Road to a President’s Historic Home by Dina Ramon
There’s nothing like a hot steamy day, a 20-mile traffic back-up, and a subsequent down pour to start off a road trip with some tension; primarily mine since I was the driver. But this was a celebratory excursion for my daughter to reward her accomplishments and hard work during a challenging but successful school year. My daughter, her grandmother and I were headed to Monticello, the scenic hilltop home of our third US president Thomas Jefferson. After a longer than anticipated time in the car, we finally made it to our hotel near Monticello and found it worth the initial aggravation. We even had time for the refreshing outdoor pool, and to rest up before the next day’s tour. Monticello is an exceptional field trip destination that I highly recommend for parents to consider with their kids; of course it always helps if your child’s teacher has hyped the place to make it that much more appealing than if it was simply pitched by mom. And the fact that Monticello is located in a college town (Charlottesville,VA) with lots of cool restaurants, shops, and beautiful historical buildings makes it interesting for moms and grandmas, too. In planning your trip to Monticello, when purchasing your tickets online be sure to select the Family Tour. This option includes a 30-40 minute tour of the main floor of the home – just right time-wise for young children. The tour is led by a guide – our guide Mr. Nash was excellent – and includes easy-to-understand historic references and activities designed to engage kids and give them a feel for the kinds of things Thomas Jefferson’s grandkids did when they lived at Monticello – relay races in the great yard behind the main house, drawing with a quill and ink, and playing with replicas of popular wooden toys of the era. The setting itself is spectacular; lush, wooded hills and mountain vistas, and views of Charlottesville and the university. Other places in the area to check out once you’ve wow’d the kids at Monticello include the outdoor mall, the University of Virginia campus founded by President Jefferson, and Bodo’s Bagels for breakfast.