Help! I am crippled in my blogging by staying in places where there is no internet or at least no internet except in the public spaces. So I am playing catch-up and trying to remember what we did.
We drove to Charlottesville through a lot of traffic in the D.C. area. It seems that the urban environs are reaching further and further out. We found our lodging down a windy country road about seven miles outside of Charlottesville. It was a really beautiful spot. But we had arrived too early. Mostly we just wanted to drop off our perishables so they wouldn’t overheat in the car during the afternoon.
We were met at the door by Mrs. Stern Innkeeper. “You cannot check in now. Check-in is not until 4 and it is only 1:30!”
” Oh, please Ms. Innkeeper, take pity on our wine and edible gifts, and let them check in now. We won’t stay ourselves but will wait until the appointed time” we beseeched.
Apparently we were pathetic enough as she led us to our room (which was totally ready to be checked into) and allowed us to make our packages comfortable. (To be fair, the Cedar Spring Inn has been the best place we have stayed- great breakfast, good bed, superior sheets, beautiful inside and out with friendly guests with whom we talked and drank wine for hours.)
Leaving our lodging, we went to Montpelier, the home of James Madison. Let’s see, what do I know about Madison? – founding father, short, married to Dolly Madison, did something with the Constitution. Well, I found out he is just about the most important American ever. Madison was a voracious student of all things. He had a keen sense of history and the place that the founding of the United States had in it. He was a meticulous record keeper which gives us incomparable insight into our own history. He is the founder of the Constitution and writer of the Bill of Rights. He was concerned about making a Bill of Rights not because of granting rights but because writing them down might limit them.
We saw Montpelier in a state of transition from the house that the duPonts bought and renovated back to Madison’s home in 1809. We were fortunate to see it while before the walls are plastered up and while its 18th century skeleton is exposed. The tour was exceptional. We really came out with a new appreciation of James Madison.
On Friday we went to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home. While I’ve always thought of Jefferson as one of the greatest men of all time, it became apparent that he was complex and paradoxical. Taking the tour made him seem very human. He had a tragic personal life losing his wife and almost all of his children. He held slaves but abhorred slavery. He died in debt. I wish I had pictures but my camera ran out of battery juice right before we left for the tour.