Technology Can't Compete!

Trip Start Jun 03, 2008
Trip End Aug 12, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Awake and on the road, the Griswalds were on their way to Monticello, the famed home of Thomas Jefferson. Rambling down I-64, traveling through Richmond,  we bestowed the dubious honor of the worst and roughest roads of the trip. The website declared that Monticello is RV friendly, which Clark would beg to differ!  Monica vs the overhead tree branches - she's won so far.  Let's hope that continues. After a stressfully, narrow trail to Monticello, we disembarked to view the mansion.  We took a shuttle from the parking lot to the gift shop where we were held captive until we bought something and then on to the tour.  Our tour guide was knowledgeable and engaging however rushed.  It seemed like a fairly slow day at Monticello yet we were definitely pushed through and only a small portion of the house was on the tour.  Jefferson's brilliance became obvious as we moved through the building he designed.  It also emphasized what a man of means was capable of  in the 18th century.  A plantation owner/operator. A statesman and revolutionary. Self taught architect and European diplomat and of course, President.  I'm convinced that the technology of today still can't compete with having a couple hundred slaves. The entire plantation was beautiful not to mention creative and incredibly clever.  After the mansion, we toured the "behind the scenes" portion of the estate and observed the early plumbing, wine making, brewing, cooking,  and other necessary facilities. They were, of course out of site and essentially underground. We followed that with the visit to the family cemetery where Jefferson's 2100 ancestors were confirmed, (not interred)  with many of them being African Americans.

Down the road, we visited Michie's Tavern, an 18th century restored tavern.  The complex also offered a  mill, tobacco barn, middle class 2 story home, and gift shop all in period. Clarkism: "Kids, did you know that the tea in those days was not loose leaf?  It was in bricks shaped like modern day Hershey's chocolate bars." "You would grate tea off the block like Parmesan cheese."  Yes, Clark and Ellen now own a brick of tea and Audrey has a  dress from the 1700s. Another interesting tidbit of the day was that John Adams, perhaps Jefferson's best friend, died on the same day just a few hours apart..... on the 4th of July!

With eyes set on  George Washington's home the next day, the Griswalds made their way towards Mt Vernon, ultimately ending up near Fredricksburg, Virginia.

After getting hooked up at Aquia Pines Campground, a journey into the historic district of Alexandria was in order.  George Washington designed the layout of Alexandria, now a suburb of Washington, DC.  King Street in Alexandria has become a wonderfully restored, hip center of restaurants and shops.  The architecture is awesome and absolutely charming.  Clark especially, was taken by how appealing the area was as he strolled down the street past restaurants, pubs, fountains, parks and shops.  Landing in Tiffany Tavern, we enjoyed pub fare and live music just a few feet away.  Rusty and Audry loved the live entertainment and could have stayed there all night.  Pop's ice cream parlor was enough incentive to motivate them however, and soon we returned home.                   
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