Pronounced "Mon-ti-chel-lo," the home Thomas Jefferson built over 40 years, from 1769 to 1809, is a highlight of any visit to Virginia. This architectural masterpiece was the first Virginia plantation manse to sit atop a mountain rather than beside a river. Because the Georgian architecture that characterized Jefferson's time was British, Jefferson rejected it, opting instead for the 16th-century Italian style of Andrea Palladio. Later, during his 5-year term as minister to France, he was influenced by the homes of nobles at the court of Louis XVI, and after returning home in 1789, he incorporated features of the Parisian buildings he so admired.
Today, the house has been restored as closely as possible to its appearance during Jefferson's retirement years. Jefferson or his family owned nearly all its furniture and other household objects. The vegetable garden extends to its original 1,000-foot length, and Mulberry Row -- where slaves and free artisans lived and labored in light industrial shops, such as a joinery, smokehouse-dairy, blacksmith shop-nailery, and carpenter's shop -- has been excavated.
Jefferson's grave is in the family burial ground, which is still in use. After visiting the graveyard, you can take a shuttle bus to the visitor parking lot or walk through the woods via a delightful path. There is a lovely wooded picnic area with tables and grills on the premises, and lunch fare can be purchased from April through October.
You must take a guided tour to enter the house. Optional tours of the plantation and grounds are available all year, and during summer you can send your young ones on 30-minute tours specifically designed for children.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Very Highly Recommended 2010
- visit website
- tel: +1 434 984 9822 / +1 800 243 0743(Toll Free)
- fax: +1 434 977 6140
- 931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway
- Off Va. 53
- Charlottesville, VA 22902
- Mar-Oct daily 8am-5pm; Nov-Feb daily 9am-4:30pm. 30-min. house tours run continuously
- No Sweat
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