Saturday, March 27, 2010
Old Dominion: Day 2, Part 1
For a year and a half, I had owned a copy of the Declaration of Independence, purchased from an airport during a trip to Richard Nixon's grave, yet I had never actually read it. Thinking it might be one of those "perfect moments" that I am always seeking, I thought it would be fitting to read it at the grave of its author,Thomas Jefferson. Unfortunately, like the tomb of George Washington the day before, I wasn't able to get close to Jefferson's grave; the cast iron bars of the family cemetery prevented it. I still read it on the brick steps leading up to the grave, but it wasn't hardly a perfect moment. It was difficult too with a constant stream of tourists saying stupid things like, "Why are there so many coins on the grave?" and "It's because he was in debt and people think it's funny." I explained to the two people who make a point to dig through change purses specifically for nickels that, "Actually, Thomas Jefferson wouldn't like that at all. He never wanted his face on any coin... he thought it was something best reserved for Caesar."
Luckily for me however, I did have my perfect moment, just at a different spot on the grounds of Monticello.
This small brick enclosure, with 1,000 feet of garden behind it, looks over the vineyards on the terrace step below it and out at Jefferson's Tuffton plantation, barely visible from the treeline of the distant Rivana Valley, whose waters flow into the James River and all the way to Chesapeake Bay. The view?
Unfortunately the window to the left's beautiful view has been obscured by a recently built gift shop, but I'm sure the caramel popcorn and jam they have for sale is worth destroying the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the tail end of which can be seen sloping off on the left.
The house itself, Monticello, isn't bad either. Not having the freezing rain that Mt. Vernon had made for some better photos too.