Saturday, July 28, 2007

Inspecting the grounds: Part 2 of a report on Monticello

Every admission to Monticello includes a tour of the main house, lasting about 30-40 minutes. As detailed in Part 1, the staff does a good job of adapting the house tour for wheelchair users. There are also two other tours you can take -- one of the extensive garden and one that takes you along Mulberry Row and explains the lives of slaves on the estate. There's no additional cost for those tours. We knew we would have time for one and opted for the latter. It was very interesting and our guide knew the material thoroughly. She fielded questions patiently and you got the feeling she could only share a part of what she really knew on the subject. I defy you to walk away from that tour and not have a lot to talk about in regards to your perceptions of the founding fathers. A bonus for me was that the tour made its way along the path above the garden, which I was also interested in seeing. So it was kind of like two tours in one for me. The plantation life tour made its way along a gravel and dirt path. The day we were there was hot, hot, hot and the ground was very dry, so the wheeling was very good. I'm not sure how it might be on a moister day. Near the end of Mullberry Row, the path curves on a slope down to the garden, so if you're on wheels, you can then view the whole garden starting on that end.

Top photo, the plantation life tour stops along Mulberry Row while the guide holds forth. (Photo by Darren Hillock) Second photo, I pose with some Jeffersonian summer squash (Photo by Mallory Hillock) .

Part 3: Coming down from Monticello -- literally.


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