Monticello © Author Adventures
Monticello © Author Adventures

“I cannot live without books,” — Thomas Jefferson

© Author Adventures
© Author Adventures

Monticello is the extraordinary home and grounds of Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom.

We recommend that you schedule at least a half-day to include the tour, time to explore the grounds, and a quick meal break back at the Visitor’s Center.

© Author Adventures
© Author Adventures

When you arrive, you will need to purchase tickets, then line up to be taken by tram to the home where the tours begin. The tour guide will explain how the Jeffersons lived and why he read so much.

We were there on a sweltering summer day but the home was cool inside and much of the walkway along the grounds was nicely shaded. Still, the property beckons visitors to long walks so arrive early while the sun is still your friend. Definitely wear a hat for shade.

You will hear a lot of information that you will probably remember a long time. Our favorite was the story of the importance of Jefferson’s library in refurbishing the Library of Congress after a fire. People knew who had the most books. Jefferson was an obvious choice. Read more about Thomas Jefferson here: history.com. Access writings of Thomas Jefferson here: constitutionfacts.com.

© Author Adventures

A bed-and-breakfast is situated at the edge of the original border of Jefferson’s property and was a rest stop for many dignitaries, including Theodore Roosevelt (read about Roosevelt in our North Dakota section). It remains in operation today as “Inn at the Crossroads” (crossroadsinn.com). Ask the owner about the history and you will be fascinated. Plus, if you are as lucky as we were, you might even leave with freshly hatched eggs to take on the road.

Monticello is the third stop on our Virginia Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart