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Elderhostel 2008

 Friends, Neighbors, Presidents:

The World of Jefferson, Madison & Monroe.

 April 13 – 18, 2008

At Charlottesville, Virginia

 Sponsored by:  The College of William & Mary

 This Elderhostel program focused of three early presidents of the United States that were neighbors and close friends.  They governed the United States collectively for a period of 24 years during the infancy of our nation.


The English Inn of Charlottesville served as out headquarters for this Elderhostel program.

 On Monday, we started our week with lectures on Historic Roads & Transportation by Howard Newlon.  The second lecture of the morning was on the topic of James Monroe: Principle & Perseverance.  It was delivered by Mr. James Wootton.  These lectures helped to set the stage for our afternoon field trips.

 Our first stop was at the University of Virginia campus.  We visited the university Rotunda where we toured the building.


University of Virginia Rotunda.


Thomas Jefferson as sculpted by Alexander Gait. 

This statue is located in the rotunda.


Student residences that one side the Academic Village

that Jefferson designed for the campus.


One of the many curved walls that surround the

various gardens found on campus.


University of Virginia Chapel.

 After our visit to the University of Virginia campus

we were bussed to Ash Lawn Highlands the

home of President James Monroe. 


The front entrance to President Monroe's home.


A side view of the Monroe home.


The outbuildings at Ash Lawn Highland.


President James Monroe and a guest to his home.


Late in the afternoon we celebrated out visit to Ash

Lawn Highlands with a wine tasting.


After our evening meal, we were treated to a visit from

President James Monroe.  He spoke to our group

and answered questions.

The next morning we had an early lecture entitled;

Society to Our Taste.  Followed by the well known video;

Thomas Jefferson, The Pursuit of Liberty

 Then it was off to downtown Charlottesville for a walking  tour

of the city's historic area.  We were first greeted by the above

statue of General Robert E. Lee in a small city park.

Charlottesville Public Library that faced the park

where we started our tour.


We also walked passed a statue of Stonewall Jackson in

front of a building in the historic area.


The trees were in full bloom as spring had arrived.


Michie Tavern, on way to Monticello.  We

had lunch here on Tuesday.

The front entrance to Monticello.  This is the

entrance where tours begin.


There are no photos allowed inside Monticello during

our tour.  It was a beautiful day for outside photos of the

gardens and the Jefferson's home.

The traditional view of Monticello is most often this

view of the rear side of the home.  The tulips and other

spring flowers were in full bloom.


On the way back to our tour bus, I walked by the Jefferson

family cemetery just down the hill from Monticello.  Above

is a picture of Thomas Jefferson's tomb stone.  The floral

tributes are left from his birthday recognition on April 2nd.

 Wednesday program called for two lectures in the morning

focusing on Madison, Montpelier & Constitution Building”

and the “Architecture of the Period”.  We had a free

afternoon to explore Charlottesville.  Wednesday evening

we were entertained by Su Tarr who played the violin and performed

music of the years when our three neighbors were

living in and around Charlottesville.

 Thursday morning found our group boarding our bus for

the drive out to President James Madison's Montpelier home. 


The visitors center at Montpelier.  Since my first trip to

Montpelier in 2000 a great deal of renovation has occurred at

President Madison's home.  They are restoring it to the

appearance of Madison's period of living in the home.

This bust of President James Madison, the Father of our

Constitution, greeted us when we entered the visitor center.


Remodeling of the front of the Madison

home is underway.


The remodeling scene at the back of the home. Our tour

of the home took us into the building from the rear.  The

renovation is only partly completed.  The completion of

the project is scheduled for next September 17, which is

Constitution Day.  A large celebration is scheduled

for that day at the home.


After a quick box lunch we traveled to the Madison family

cemetery near the visitor center.  The large tomb stone

marks the burial spot of President James Madison.  The

smaller tomb stone to the left of President Madison is

Dolley Madison's burial place.


Later in the afternoon, we had a visit to

Barboursville (Va.) Winery. 


View of some of the vineyards near the visitor center.

 Barrels of aging wine.

 A  last activity of the day after winery tour was a wine

tasting.  We had the chance to taste several of the various

wines produced at the winery.

 Friday was our last day of this very good Elderhostel program. 

We had two lectures before departing.  The first lecture

was by Greg Glassner and was entitled, Monroe & William Wirt. 

Jim Wootton concluded our program with a lecture about

“Thomas Jefferson: Visions & Contradictions”.

It was a super week, a great program with

nice people in attendance.