Thursday, August 21, 2014


Trek's job has been killer this year.  He works from the crack of dawn, through the night, & a lot of the time until 1 or 2 in the morning.  We cherish our Sundays when he's home with us.  Well, since he's been working nonstop & also because he's leaving in September for more military training, he was able to take an entire week off of work so we could go on a big family vacation for the summer.  We decided to take a road trip to Pennsylvania to see what it had to offer.  It did not disappoint.  It was one of the best trips we've ever taken.

Our first stop was in Monticello, VA.  Lorien studied Thomas Jefferson in school back in 2nd grade & has been itching to get out to his home in Monticello for almost 2 years now.  It was on our way so we stopped to see what was there.  It was great because they gave us a military discount & we wound up getting in for FREE instead of having to pay $80+ to get in.  It was worth the money though if anyone out there is thinking about going.

Monticello was gorgeous.  It's at the very top of a hill overlooking amazing Virginia forests & hills.  The house is quite large considering the time period it was in use & 75% of it is still original from the late 1700's & early 1800's when Thomas Jefferson was living there.

The back side of Monticello is also the same picturesque view that you see on the back of a Nickel.  It's gorgeous.  Thomas Jefferson had a fascination with Octagons so the dome shape you see on this side of the house is actually octagonal.  There are also octagonal rooms inside his house.

The back side of Monticello is equally beautiful.  This is actually the door that visitors would enter when they visited.  There was an amazing clock & working clock/calendar inside this door.  It was SO COOL.  (I have a fascination with cool clocks)

Pictures weren't allowed inside the house, but it was amazing seeing his original library of books, his many inventions, & the cool gadgets & inventions that were rare during that time period that he had.

The grounds of the home were extensive.  There was a small pond where they'd put live fish until they ate them.  The kids got a kick out of that.  The garden was huge, & the flower gardens were absolutely gorgeous.

Underneath the house were tunnels that led to the kitchen & storage areas.  The kids had fun finding all the secret rooms down there.

The garden just outside of the home was massive.  He had several slaves during his time there that tended the garden.  He must have had a LOT of food based on the size of that garden.  It was beautiful.

And the real reason he built his home up there was for the view.  It overlooked the valleys & forests of VA & was quite spectacular actually.  I loved the view.

After touring the home & playing at the kid activity area, we hiked a half mile down the mountain & visited Thomas Jefferson's grave.

The kids really enjoyed learning about Thomas Jefferson & enjoyed our time spent here.

Before we left, we visited the kids discovery room by the gift shop & the kids had a blast building blocks, making "dinner" in a "fireplace," decoding a message on a code machine, writing on the copier invention, & playing chess.

It was a great start to our vacation.

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