Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring Break: Day 3

On the next day of the trip I decided to finish the Shenandoah Valley Skyline Drive which ended towards Charlottesville, home of Thomas Jefferson. So I woke up a bit earlier and headed off! Decided to take a picture of the condo I was staying at, from the outside.
Driving out of the condo cluster...Beautiful!
The clubhouse and check-in of the resort.
Right outside the resort were a couple gift stores. This Mountain Gifts store was not very impressive. They were said to have a Teddy Bear Factory but it was nothing compared to Build-a-Bear. Nonetheless, if you have children, they would probably appreciate the little store.
Next door was Shoppe Five. Very neat store with VERY friendly people! Chatted for quite a while with some ladies. Vera Bradley covered most of the walls and then there was jewelry on the back wall.
Bought my first Brighton charm bracelet! Absolutely love it! All my charms are travel related :) with some bling in the middle!
Leaving the main road of the resort and heading back t Shenandoah Valley National Park.
And back to the amazing views! :)

I was sooooo excited to see that the Appalachian Trail passed through Shenandoah. This trail goes from Georgia to Maine and I am DYING to do it one day! I hope to take a year off of work and trek the whole trail.
Still in awe that during the Civil War Stonewall Jackson led Confederate troops through these mountains in between battles.

My last shot of the Shenandoah Valley National Park. I truly enjoyed it and hope to see it again some day! Simply amazing!! Support out National Parks please! :)
Since the drive ends about 30 minutes from Charlottesville I headed there to see the home of Thomas Jefferson!
When you follow the road into Montecello, Thomas Jefferson's home, you first end up at this Visitor's Center Complex. Very beautiful wooded buildings.
I'm not gonna lie, I headed to the Gift Shop first! But fell in love with Thomas J right here...We are somehow connected spirits. I got this plaque for my library and a t-shirt too. Everytime I wear the shirt I get LOTS of feedback.
For $22 I took the guided tour of Monticello. The tour guide was really nice and he was very insightful. I learned lots of fun facts about Monticello. The original floors and walls are still there. It's preserved so well. This would be the shot of Monticello as it appears on the back of the Nickel :)
Anything inside the house is completely off limits. But outdoors there is a third floor that is under the house that shows many of the work areas.
There were a few cellars. :) Thomas Jefferson was known the drink a bottle of wine a day/night with and through dinner.
The front of the house where the visitors were received and where the tour started.
Then I decided to walk along the row of slave cabins. T. J. had about 500 slaves. The quarters are soooo small. Really unbelievable.
The row of slave quarters leads to the Jefferson family Cemetery. Here is the monument and gravesight of Thomas Jefferson. Ironically, looks just like the Washington Monument.
Reminds me of the walls around Buckingham Palace only on a much smaller scale.
Jefferson wanted to be most known for writing the Declaration of Independence, founded the University of Virginia, and writing the Statute of Virginia. Very brilliant man! Didn't even want to be regarded as a President.
After touring the house I went back into the gallery in the visitors center complex. Jefferson loved books, loved learning and the idea of knowledge being free.
I loved seeing a few of his old books on showcase at the Gallery. I read Metamorphosis in high school so I just had to take a picture! I was so motivated to read more after visiting.
There was also a 15 minute video that played about the life of Jefferson and the United States as he was helping it become so. The Declaration of Independence truly changed the world. What a wonderful man to have written it!
After that Monticello closed around 5-6pm. So I went about 5 miles to see the University of Virginia which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Monticello. I got SOOOO LOST! Here was Greek Row with some of the gorgeous sorority and fraternity houses. The Rotunda was designed by Jefferson who was also an amazing architect among everything else. Walking up to it was really neat. Lots of college kids were everywhere going to and from class. To think they probably don't even feel the importance of such a place anymore...

Climbing up the stairs...There were these girls on their cell phones that were ruining my shot. They just stared at me. Grrrr you girls!
The view of University Dr and the "back" of the Rotunda.
The Rotunda really faces the Great Lawn and the teacher quarters (at least back then).
A shot of the Rotunda from the Great Lawn. So pretty!
More of the lawn.....
The buildings on the right and left of the Rotunda/Lawn were used as teacher living quarters. Still today the teachers' offices are held here. There are often rocking chairs outside and then flyers of the teachers' programs on the door. So old...yet with a few modern ammenities added, lol, like the dry erase message boards on some doors.
I watched a beautiful sunset at the University of Virginia, then headed back to Massanutten Resort. It was a busy, but fabulous day in Virginia!

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