Monticello… it’s amazing that one word can conjure an array of pictures in your mind. Stately home, rolling acres of Virginia farmland, beautiful gardens, a home which showcases one of America’s inventive geniuses…the list goes on and on. Standing atop a mountain overlooking the town of Charlottesville, VA, Monticello is a “Must See” on anyone’s list.
To best enjoy Mr. Jefferson’s home, it would be wise to do a little light reading of the man himself. (click ThomasJefferson Biography) The new Visitor Center is your first stop. Consisting of five pavilions around a central courtyard, the three-level, 42,000 sq. feet complex appears to fit into the contour of the hillside. Its wooded landscape and natural building materials seem to make it blend into the hillside. Be sure to take the time to explore this wonderful complex. The various displays are done in an interesting, well-paced manner. Be sure to see the 30 minute movie while there.(Click to see a 90-second trailer of the film. ) You can plan on spending at least 90 minutes at the Visitor Center. You will have the opportunity to purchase your ticket(s) while there, but it’s best to buy your tickets online. You’ll get the best deal plus you’ll be able to plan your visit in more detail.
When you purchased your ticket, you selected an entry time to enter the house. You could walk the 2 mile trail to get to the house itself, but I would strongly suggest taking the free shuttle.(Save your energy for the gardens and grounds around the house.) Your basic ticket will include; the first floor house tour (about 30-45 minutes), and two guided walking tours – a) Gardens & Grounds b) The Plantation Community. Each will be approximately 45 minutes in length conducted by a knowledgeable docent. Plan on an additional 2-3 hours more for the extras around the house and grounds. A word to the wise: DRESS FOR COMFORT, CHECK THE WEATHER FOR THE DAY OF YOUR VISIT, AND BRING BOTTLED WATER! The Visitor Center as well as Monticello itself is handicapped accessible. Learn more about resources available to ensure accessibility » . There are extra tours and activities available during the various seasons of the year. Go to www.monticello.org for more information.
Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello is one of America’s historical gems. With information presented in an educational as well as entertaining manner with a 21st century approach, it is sure to delight the elementary school age child on through senior citizens. Your visit is sure to be one of a beautiful house presented by delightful people who obviously enjoy what they do! Go and enjoy!