Saturday, October 13, 2012

Charlottesville and Friends

We moved on to Charlottesville to see Valerie and Richard Frayer, the RVers we first met at RV Boot Camp in 2007.  We have crossed paths with them all over the country in Texas, Louisiana, Michigan, California, Pennsylvania and now Virginia.
While Valerie and Richard are still RVing they bought a condo in Charlottesville to use as a base.  We have been looking forward to seeing the new place and all the decorating touches Valerie has worked her magic on.  They did all the remodeling themselves and the place is really great.  They had us over for dinner, a debate party, a chance to see their new place and to get caught up on what has been going on in our lives.
The next day we all went to nearby Monticello.  To get there, we walked a three mile trail through the woods.  We checked for any Geocaches along the path and Nanc found this big one.  This was the Frayer's first Geocache adventure.
Thomas Jefferson's home Monticello was built in the 1770's.  The house was designed by Jefferson and influenced by buildings he had seen during his time as the US minister to France.  Many of the furnishings in the house are original but no interior photos are allowed. 
The house has many unique features that Jefferson had designed or improved upon.  The weather vane on the portico roof is attached to a compass rose on the ceiling.  The clock in the entrance hall told the time to the second (rare for that time) as well as the day of the week.
The wine cellar and kitchen were typical of houses of the period.  There was also a beer cellar:)
 I was really impressed by the huge garden that was still producing vegetables in early October.  This was, in part, because Jefferson had located it where it was in the sun all day even into the fall.  The man really was a genius. 
 Here we are with Tom.  Center is Jefferson's gravestone.  We visited here many years ago and really love the place.  One difference in the tour is that they now acknowledge that Jefferson fathered children with Sally Hemings, one of his slaves.  After I wrote this, Richard sent me this article from the Smithsonian magazine that put Jefferson in a little different light on the issue of "All men are created equal" and slavery. 
Next we went to Carter Mountain Orchard to watch the sunset across the Blue Ridge Mountains.  If you are in Charlottesville a trip to the orchard to see the sunset should be on your to do list.  In addition to seeing the sunset and purchasing your favorite apples, if you visit before mid-October they have wine tasting and music.
The next day we drove a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway which travels along the top of the mountains from here to Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  We were a bit early to see a lot of fall colors, but a few trees had started to turn and the views of the valley below were spectacular.
An old farmhouse that was typical of those built by the mountain people.  It was really quite roomy compared to an RV, but then again we are not raising half a dozen kids.
The fireplace and bed inside the cabin.  Notice the quilt roll on the foot of the bed.  A neat way to store an extra cover.  Bottom left is the barn for the family cow and right are hollowed out logs they used as beehives.  These early pioneers had to be very hardy.  We had a great couple of days exploring the area and visiting with Valerie and Richard.
In another small world experience, I saw on Facebook that our old WashPA neighbors JoAnne and Jeff LaBella where also staying at Misty Mountain Campground.  We went to the office to see which site they were in and dropped by for a surprise visit.  They are now retired and doing a bit of RV exploring.  Once again seeing friends along the road continues to be one of the best things about our lifestyle.

1 comment:

Doing It On the Road(Part II) said...

Wow, Jefferson would have made a great modern day republican. Its amazing as we travel how many mansions we see that were built on the enslavement, physically and finacially of others.