Local Activities | September 3, 2015
There is no time like the present to explore the many historical, natural and educational places just a few hours trip from the Baltimore area. One of our nation’s treasures and a UNESCO World Heritage site is Monticello, the home of the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Monticello is located on a hilltop two miles out of Charlottesville, Virginia. It is a great place to explore throughout the entire year.
Monticello is the 2,500 acre estate of Jefferson’s grand home with its distinctive dome, outbuildings and beautiful gardens. The land for Monticello was part of several thousand acres of land that Jefferson inherited when he turned 21 years old. Ground broke on the original design by Jefferson in 1768 a year after Jefferson started law school. The house took decades to build and included a major rebuild after Jefferson returned from France in 1789. Thomas Jefferson designed the Monticello gardens, house and outbuildings with no professional architectural training. Most of the material for the building, including lumber, stone and bricks, came from the land around the estate.
The estate was a working plantation with a variety of freed and enslaved workers. The grounds were part of the Shadwell farm, Jefferson’s boyhood home. Monticello’s main crop was tobacco for about a twenty year period. After Jefferson returned from his ambassadorship in France in 1789, the crops changed to wheat and grains. Wheat continued to be the main crop of the estate until Jefferson’s death in 1826.
Monticello was inherited by Jefferson’s daughter Martha Randolph at the time of his death. Due to extreme debt, she had to sell the family home. In 1836, Monticello was purchased by Uriah Levy. Levy and his nephew, Jefferson Monroe Levy preserved and restored the crumbling estate. In 1923, Monticello was sold to the Thomas Jefferson Federation , who remain caretakers of the estate to this day.
There are so many wonderful places to visit at Monticello. The best way to see and understand the home is by taking a tour . There are different tours of the house, outbuildings and gardens including a “Behind the Scenes Tour” of the upper floors and servant areas. Jefferson designed every detail of the home down to the furniture in the rooms. The Monticello house tour includes a trip around the rooms of the home, the cellars, kitchen, and slave quarters. This tour is included in the Monticello Day Pass. Jefferson was an avid agriculturist who studied and notated the hundreds of varieties of plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables that he grew at his home. The guided garden tours are also included in the Day Pass. The Monticello Gardens were one of Jefferson’s favorite places. After the tour, visitors can explore the Trail at Monticello to run, ride or walk through and around elevated boardwalks across trails and around ponds.
ezStorage has created the “1 Day Trips from Baltimore Guide” sharing just a few of the great destinations that are only a few hours from Baltimore. Monticello is open every day of the year except for Christmas.