No photography is allowed inside Jefferson’s house, and the brisk cheerful guide hustles us along rapidly from room to room, because close at our heels is the next of a long, long series of tour groups. So I sketch like crazy.
When Thomas Jefferson finally retired from public life to his beloved Monticello, a steady stream of visitors made its way up the hill to visit and pay homage. Debts led to the property’s sale upon his death in 1826, and the house fell into a sad state of disrepair. It was rescued at last by admirer Uriah P. Levy and his nephew Jefferson Monroe Levy and, later, the Monticello Foundation.
I wonder what Jefferson would make of the fact that the procession of admirers continues today, bearing digital cameras to record his gardens, his architectural innovations, his books and tools and inventions. None of us, however, is invited to stay for a month or so in one of the guest rooms. Unfortunately.
Our family spent a morning along the Potomac River at River Farm, the 25-acre headquarters of the American Horticultural Society. The AHS provides gardening information through programs for adults and children, and is a very lovely setting for a quiet stroll. River Farm itself has an interesting history, which I will cover in more detail in a later post.
From my sketchbook (drawn across the gutter; sorry).
On a Memorial Day weekend hike through beautiful Prince William Forest Park in Virginia a few years ago, we saw many tree stumps ending in chewed points, surrounded by piles of wood chips, indicating the presence of beavers. And when we reached the creek, we did see several beavers, as well as a substantial beaver dam. What I couldn’t understand was why the stumps were so FAR from the water. A mystery.