Monday, June 18, 2012

Day Tripping

Weekends have been all about the journey since we arrived in D.C. We spend them often on the road exploring the area and all it has to offer. This weekend was no exception. Our travels over the past two days took us to Pointe Lookout, MD and Charlottesville, VA.

Like many of you, Saturday started to get away from us. We planned to head to Monticello, but before we realized it, the clock had slipped to early afternoon. After a quick mental scrambling for Dave and me, a trip to the Chesapeake Bay was planned. We piled into the car and headed to Maryland. Bellies were empty when we arrived, so we stopped at Courtney's Restaurant. This basic mom and pop establishment fit the bill and filled our stomachs. We feasted on soft-shell crab as well as seafood soup. It also provided a chance to get near the water. The kiddos ran along the dock finding fish bones, shells and even jellyfish. The jellyfish were an amazing find as we did not know they would inhabit the waters.
With a taste of adventure and water, we headed to the state park. Dave was eager to visit the lighthouse as were the kiddos. As we drove, the kiddos assessed the shoreline. There were many people fishing from the rocky beaches. We discovered that the lighthouse is only open once a month. Disappointed, we headed to a more sandy beach area. The kiddos build sand sculptures and skipped stones. Eamon scurried out of the water when he noticed a large saucer sized jelly swimming near his toes. It was a bit comical to see him move so fast! While the kiddos played, Dave checked out the nearby fort. When he came back to us, we decided to pack it in and grab a bit of ice cream on the way home. 
With the realization that we needed to move faster in the morning, we approached Sunday a bit differently. We packed up earlier and made it to Monticello after a drive through beautiful country. While Dave bought our tour tickets, we munched on lunch courtesy of Trader Joe's (I find it quite easy to stop there and pick up "snackies" that will easily fill my crew with somewhat nutritious food). We didn't have a lot of time to spend in this area before heading up the mountain to the main house and grounds. The house was much smaller than I thought it would be. Our tour guide mentioned that many people make the same comment. The interior of the house was impressive in its simplicity and adherence to Jefferson's life. The focus was definitely scholarly with many books, maps and artifacts gracing the walls and shelves. The kiddos were full of questions for our guide who answered as best she could (we were unable to take the family tour as it had sold out). 
After touring the house, we walked a bit on the grounds. The kiddos worked on quill writing, reading and code breaking while Dave and I read the signage on the sides of the house. Two other tours were part of our admission, so we eagerly attended those as well. The Slavery at Monticello tour was led by an engaging guide. She told us quite a bit about how the plantation was managed as well as background on Sally Hemings and her family. It really brought the visit and the enormity of slave life into more clarity. When Jefferson died, he owned hundreds of slaves. It is so hard to comprehend this fact. Our family split for the next tour. Eamon wanted to go on the Garden Tour while Dave wanted to see the gravesite. I accompanied Eamon with Benton and Aine went with Dave. The tour was quite interesting. Our guide was a bit quieter yet very passionate about the plant life. I especially loved the 1,000 foot experimental garden. How I would love that!
After the tours, we walked around a bit more. Finally the grounds were closing, so we walked back to the main admission buildings. A quick driving trip through Charlottesville put us back on the road home. No ice cream this time, but plenty more "snackies" in the car as we drove back home.

(All photos by Dave or Aine. I passed off the camera this time out).

15 comments:

  1. I remember thinking how small Monticello is too, but the grounds are amazing aren't they?
    I'm sorry the lighthouse was closed. We have a lighthouse that is open year round if you want to travel south for a visit :)

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  2. We need to visit this part of the US, looks like sucha fun day, filled with culture & history and the beach...swoon.

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    1. And I would love to visit your neck of the world.

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  3. Looks like another lovely day and great history lesson for the young ones. It is hard to comprehend that slavery ever happened and even worse that it still goes on today...

    I love those two chairs...

    Enjoy the rest of the week.

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    1. Those chairs are in a garden atrium which looks over the valley. The view is amazing.

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  4. I love the pictures and the fact that the kiddos are seeing so much history. Not that Arizona isn't full of history too but it never hurts to see how things were done in different parts of the country during the same century. I love the picture of Dave waving. He loves to wave at a camera when on vacation as I recall. I also liked to see the pictures that Eamon was talking with me about last night. Very interesting. Have fun and continue your Quest for Knowledge! Love, MIL

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    1. I included the one of Dave waving just for you :)

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  5. I remember visiting Monticello with my family as a child :) I am loving hearing about and seeing pics from all of your adventures!

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  6. i love monticello! i could live in the house with that view and the garden. i can not wait to take my kids there. looks like you guys had a blast!

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    1. I could live there in a heartbeat. The views, gardens and brightly lit house are fantastic.

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  7. I have always wanted to visit Monticello, so it is fun to see it vicariously. :-)

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  8. The only time I've ever been stung by jellyfish (and it was several times at that location) was on the beach in Lewes, Delaware. Lewes is on Delaware Bay (part of the Atlantic), and I swear there was a jellyfish infestation every year when we went. *shudder*. Helpful tip - meat tenderizer or just rubbing alcohol helps stop the sting.

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    1. Amey, it was crazy to see all the jellyfish. Fortunately no one was stung. Eamon sure did move fast though. He looked a bit terrified.

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