The Commonwealth of Virginia is the birthplace of eight of our country’s heads of the union! In fact, one of Virginia’s nicknames is “Mother of Presidents”. Other well-known nicknames are Old Dominion and Mother of States.
Perhaps the most famous presidential home in Virginia is Monticello – the home of Thomas Jefferson, our third president and primary author of the Declaration of Independence. This iconic property is located less than an hour’s drive from Steeles Tavern, VA. Stay with us and enjoy the drive through the hills of the Old Dominion state.
There are lots of options for different tours of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Start at the Visitors Center where there are four exhibitions, the Griffin Discovery Room, a 15-minute film about Thomas Jefferson, and the Monticello Museum Shop. A basic Day Pass and House Tour is available daily, year round (except for Christmas Day) for $20-$28 for adults and just $9 for children age 5-11. The lower range prices include seasonal and online discounts. The Day Pass includes Guided tours of the house, gardens & grounds, and slavery activities and buildings at the estate.
The Behind the Scenes House Tour and Day Pass provides more understanding of the life at Monticello. You tour behind the scenes on the first floor and up the narrow staircase to view the private quarters of the family. The iconic dome room is included in this more exclusive tour.
The Hemings Family Tour is a 1¾ hours tour that includes many buildings in Mulberry Row – the area where many slaves lived and worked to maintain the home and make the plantation prosper. The Hemings family is perhaps the best-documented enslaved family in colonial America. The tour expands on the challenges of slave life and the desire for freedom.
A Family –Friendly tour, with hands-on activities for kids, is available during special weekends in April, June, October, and December. This is a 40-minute guided tour is especially designed for families with children age 5 to 11. The guide will highlight Jefferson’s many interests and accomplishments.
Research and renovations are always going on at Monticello. The most recent renovations are turning what had become a public restroom back to its original purpose – the private living quarters of Sally Heming and her six children (who may have been fathered by Jefferson). The 14’ X 13’ room with center fireplace is being excavated and archaeologists have found the original brick floor and plaster walls. Sally Hemings’s life story will become a part of the whole story of Monticello.
Visit Monticello in the spring to see the beautiful gardens and enjoy all that the Shenandoah Valley has to off