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Friends, Neighbors, Presidents: The World of Jefferson, Madison and Monroe

Program Number: 2007RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/18/2014 - 5/23/2014; 3/20/2016 - 3/25/2016; 4/3/2016 - 4/8/2016; 4/17/2016 - 4/22/2016; 5/1/2016 - 5/6/2016; 5/15/2016 - 5/20/2016; 6/5/2016 - 6/10/2016; 8/28/2016 - 9/2/2016; 9/18/2016 - 9/23/2016; 10/9/2016 - 10/14/2016; 10/30/2016 - 11/4/2016; 12/4/2016 - 12/9/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Price starting at: $799.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Discover the world of Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, and his friends and neighbors, James Monroe and James Madison. Recall the lives and times of these great men and the nation they helped forge through lectures examining their friendships, political careers, personal lives and philosophies, as well as Federal-era architecture and society.


• Experience the presidents’ historic homes — Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland, Madison’s Montpelier, and Jefferson’s magnificent Monticello — on field trips.
• Enjoy lunch at historic Michie Tavern and learn about the rich history of this hub of social activity.
• With an expert leader, see Jefferson's "Academical Village," walking through the UVA Grounds and by the impressive Rotunda.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles daily.

You may enjoy a three-night version of this program, “Three Friends: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe” (#9113).

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

3-20-2016, 4-17-2016, 5-15-2016, 6-5-2016, 8-28-2016, 10-30-2016, 12-4-2016

Modest, charming inn with traditional British decor.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

4-3-2016, 5-1-2016, 9-18-2016, 10-9-2016

Full-service modern hotel, set amid the beauty and history of Virginia’s Blue Ridge foothills.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.


A modern-day college town with a historic legacy, Charlottesville claims President Thomas Jefferson among its famous native sons. Monticello, Jefferson’s unique home, is one of many historic buildings in and around this vibrant community.

Varies by date and includes a new, modern hotel, centrally located amid the beauty and history of Virginia’s Blue Ridge foothills, or a charming, modest Inn with traditional British decor.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Stephen Christoff

Stephen Christoff has been a musical fixture at Colonial Williamsburg for more than 15 years. Since 2006, he has performed his one-man show called "Seller of Songs" at the Hennage Theater in Colonial Williamsburg to sell-out audiences and rave reviews. In 2007, Stephen was a member of a collaborative performance team that played over 100 performances of "American Musicworks," a signature show designed for the Dewitt Wallace Galleries folk art exhibition, and also performed for the Jamestown 2007, Godspeed Sail and Landing Party Festival. He has headlined at locations including Mount Vernon, Chestertown Tea Party Festival, Virginia's Yorktown Celebration Festival, The National Portrait Gallery, The Library of Congress, The Black Swamp Arts Festival and Disney's Epcot Center.
Elizabeth Taylor

During her 22-year career in museum education and historical research, Beth Taylor served as the director of interpretation at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and director of education at James Madison's Montpelier. She is now a Fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Beth's first book, "A Slave in the White House: Paul Jennings and the Madisons," was a New York Times bestseller and a National Book Award nominee. Beth holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.
Jim Wootton

Jim Wootton served as curator and assistant director of Ash Lawn-Highland, home of President James Monroe, where he collaborated with the museum staff in research, planning, and interpretation for more than 20 years. In 2000, Jim became executive director of the Capitol Square Preservation Council, which reviews projects that affect the State Capitol and the historic buildings and landscape of Capitol Square. Jim has appeared in films and documentaries and authored numerous articles and publications, including a biography of Elizabeth Kortright Monroe. Now retired, he has lectured with Road Scholar for over 10 years.
Meals and Lodgings
   English Inn
  Charlottesville 5 nights
 English Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: Located in the beautiful and historic Piedmont region of Virginia at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville offers a variety of activities and attractions, all located conveniently near the English Inn. In addition to the sites included in the program, there are additional historical homes, museums, and venues within easy driving distance. Browse through the shops in historic downtown, tour the local vineyards, or take a short trip to the Skyline Drive, famous for its fall splendor and breathtaking vistas.
  Contact info: 2000 Morton Drive
Charlottesville, VA 22903 USA
phone: 800-786-5400
  Room amenities: Rooms appointed with two queen beds or king, dresser and a wide desk. In-room coffee-maker, refrigerator, iron, ironing board, hair dryer, alarm clock, air conditioning. Cable TV with HBO, Telephone with voice mail and computer data port (Internet high speed access).
  Facility amenities: Relax amid the warmth and charm of traditional British decor. Enjoy a bountiful, buffet breakfast every morning and tea and cookies in the afternoon. Indoor pool, sauna and workout room, adjacent to Rivanna Greenbelt Trail. The hotel offers a complimentary airport shuttle from 7:00am-8:00pm, but reservations are needed. Conveniently located only one mile from UVA campus. Enjoy the area fitness center, ACAC, free with your room key. Elevators are available to upper floors. Daily newspaper provided. Guest Business Office open 24 hours with fax machine available. Safe deposit boxes available.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $75 plus tax, limited rooms The English Inn can usually provide lodging before or after your program at the discounted Road Scholar rate. This rate is not always available, especially on football weekends in the fall.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $75 plus tax, limited rooms The English Inn can usually provide lodging before or after your program at the discounted Road Scholar rate. This rate is not always available, especially on football weekends in the fall.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
4:00pm Program Registration; 4:00pm Room Check In; 5:15pm Program Begins. You will be staying at English Inn that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends mid-morning with time for check-out and individual lunch arrangements before trip home You will be staying at English Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
The hotel has free parking.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Charlottesville
  Nearest highway: I-64
  Nearest airport:  Charlottesville/Albemarle Airport; next closest is Richmond Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Charlottesville
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (CHO)


From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
English Inn Shuttle
phone: 800-786-5400
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20-30 minutes depending on traffic 


Shuttle provided by the hotel free of charge between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. You should in advance to let the hotel know you will want to use the shuttle.. Once you get to the airport, go to the Information Board in baggage pick-up area to get the contact number for the hotel. Call that number and the shuttle will be sent as soon as possible.


Charlottesville Greyhound/Amtrak Station


From Bus Terminal




Yellow Cab
phone: 434-295-4131
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Call for information. Prices have been varying recently because of fluctuationg gas prices.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


10 minutes 




about 3 miles


Station serves both Amtrak train service and Greyhound Bus service. For train information, call 800-872-7245. For bus information, call 800-231-2222.

Driving Directions
  From Richmond/East of Richmond From Richmond/East of Richmond: Take I-64 WEST toward Charlottesville. Take the first Charlottesville exit #124. It will say Charlottesville/Shadwell/250 Bypass. Turn RIGHT onto Rte. 250 Bypass for 3-4 miles, to Emmet Street, Rt. SOUTH 29 exit. Turn LEFT onto Emmet Street ramp. At the bottom of the ramp, immediately go LEFT across two lanes of traffic and turn LEFT onto Morton Drive. The English Inn is behind Bodo’s Bagels.
  From Roanoke and West From 81, take I-64 East to Exit 118-B. This will be the 250 Bypass. Follow the Route 250 Bypass to the Emmet Street exit (about 4 miles). At the bottom of the exit, cross two lanes of traffic and get in the far left lane. Turn LEFT onto Morton Drive. The English Inn is behind Bodo’s Bagels.
  From Washington DC/Northern Virginia Take 66 WEST to Gainesville. Exit on 29 SOUTH towards Charlottesville, go about 70 miles before reaching the outskirts of Charlottesville. Upon reaching “local” traffic, go about five miles. You will go under the route 250 bypass and take your first LEFT. The English Inn is on Morton Drive behind Bodo’s Bagels.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Hotel Check-in and Registration
(Sunday, May 18)
 Afternoon: Arrival and Registration Welcome & Road Scholar Introductions
 Dinner: Dinner is served in the spacious Windsor Room, presented by Simply Delicious Catering, featuring the freshest ingredients available. The remaining dinners for the week will be served in this same venue.
 Evening: Class: "Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe" A lively and detailed introduction to these three Virginia presidents---their world, their lives, and their friendship. Consider not only their personal lives individually, but also look at the interactions between these Founding Fathers. Explore their activities and contributions to the colonies during the Revolution and their involvement in the development of the young republic from the Constitution to the Monroe Doctrine.
Accommodations: English Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: UVA and Monticello
(Monday, May 19)

Note: Both field trips involve extensive walking and standing time on hilly ground or in the buildings. The University Grounds include terraced walkways that require going up and down steps. Those wishing to avoid the stairs can explore the museum in the Rotunda while the group walks. A tram is available at Monticello for those not wanting to walk back to the Visitor Center.

 Breakfast: Start you day with a generous buffet breakfast provided by the English Inn in the Windsor Room.
 Morning: Class: "A Society to Our Taste", An investigation of the world of the Virginia landed gentry and the three presidential neighbors who represented the culture of that society. This presentation will explore life on the plantations far from the colonial hub in Williamsburg. Learn how Jefferson defined the society that met his tastes and then assisted and supported his friends as they established their own places in that circle. Field Trip: "The University of Virginia" Enjoy a guided excursion to Jefferson's "Academical Village" where you walk through the Grounds, visiting the impressive Rotunda and the Lawn, both designed by Jefferson. Investigate Jefferson's vision of higher education as it unfolds in the layout of the classroom and residential buildings. View the student housing on the Lawn and Ranges, still in use today. Enjoy the gardens, serpentine wall, and pavilions, all part of Jefferson's vision and a model for university design throughout the country.
 Lunch: Enjoy a box lunch with sandwich, water, fresh fruit salad, choice of potato or pasta salad and a brownie at the Café. You can choose indoor seating or outdoor seating on the Café Terrace and Woodland Terrace, a wooden deck offering views of the surrounding forest.
 Afternoon: Field Trip: "Monticello, Home of Thomas Jefferson" The afternoon includes a guided walk through the magnificent mansion where you will glimpse the genius of Jefferson through the architecture he employed and the many innovative contrivances that he devised. See the furnishings, art, books, gadgets and other objects that reveal Jefferson's unique mind. Marvel at the seven day clock, the alcove bed, and the artifacts brought back by Lewis and Clark. Also enjoy free time to explore the extensive ornamental and kitchen gardens and the Jefferson family cemetery where you can read what Jefferson considered his greatest achievements, carved into his memorial stone.
 Dinner: Dinner is again served by Simply Delicious in the Windsor Room.
 Evening: Class: "Thomas Jefferson: Visions and Contradictions" Engage in a thoughtful consideration of the author of the Declaration of Independence, the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and a life-long slave owner. Explore his thoughts on the role of government and place of the young United States in the world. Struggle with him over the contradiction of slavery in a nation founded on individual freedom. Develop a deeper understanding of this brilliant man who both shaped and was constrained by the time and place in which he lived.
Accommodations: English Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Montpelier
(Tuesday, May 20)

Note: For those not wanting to explore the plantation grounds on the many paths and walks, the education and visitor centers provide fascinating exhibits for a less strenuous experience.

 Breakfast: Breakfast will again be buffet style in the Windsor Room.
 Morning: Class: "Madison, Montpelier, and Constitution-Making" Enjoy an in-depth study of the "Father of the Constitution", his presidency, and his marvelous home. Learn about his 41 year political career that included serving as a state and national legislator and assisting in the writing of a new Virginia Constitution and Declaration of Rights. Discover why he earned the title "Father of the Constitution" and his role through the Federalist papers in insuring that document's ratification. Explore his tenure as Jefferson's Secretary of State and as our fourth President. Come away with a better picture of a little man with monumental achievements. Field Trip: "Montpelier, Home of James and Dolley Madison" Visit includes a special presentation, "Introduction to the House and Grounds"; guided walk through the mansion that has recently been restored to its appearance at the time it was occupied by the Madisons; free time for a self-guided exploration of Education Center, grounds and new Visitor Center. The home was owned for over 120 years by the Madison family and you will learn of the three stages of construction during their tenure as well as the various renovations completed by succeeding owners, including the famous DuPont family. The restoration of the house itself took place from 2003-2008 and efforts are now underway to furnish it to reflect its occupation by James and Dolley Madison after his retirement from the Presidency.
 Lunch: Eat a delicious box lunch, including sandwich, water, fruit, chips, and cookie, in the Visitor Center’s Courtyard Café adjacent to the DuPont Gallery.
 Afternoon: Interactive Class: "A Constitutional Experience" Intertwined with the exploration of the house is a new look to Madison's role in the development of the Constitution. The Constitution Tour is an in-depth experience that will focus on what makes Montpelier significant as a historical site, that it was the place where the Constitution was inspired. This experience will help you gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the rationality, mechanics, and purpose (the "spirit," not just the "letter") as Madison saw it. The presentation will cover Madison's thinking prior to the Constitutional Convention, with particular emphasis on his research during the Spring of 1786; his contributions during the Convention; and his efforts to explain and secure the Constitution through the Ratification debates and the passage of the Bill of Rights. The activity will conclude in the North Wing of the mansion for a sit-down Q&A session with the interpreter.
 Dinner: Dinner is again served by Simply Delicious in the Windsor Room.
 Evening: Performance: "Violins and Fiddles" Delight in the lively performance by a talented musician who not only demonstrates the differing personalities of this single instrument, but who provides an informative commentary on music of the eighteenth century.
Accommodations: English Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Plantation Life
(Wednesday, May 21)
 Breakfast: Breakfast will again be buffet style in the Windsor Room
 Morning: Class: "Presidential Plantations" Explore the self-contained world of plantation life where a few lived in relative luxury supported by the many who labored in the fields and homes under the yoke of slavery. Compare and contrast the two groups by examining family life, education, leisure, and other components of the parallel cultures. Develop an idea of the contrast between this elaborate and complicated lifestyle compared with the much simpler homesteads maintained by the vast majority of early American farmers. Class: "Presidential Plantations, Part 2" Continue your in-depth investigation of the fascinating plantation culture, with time included for question and answer time with the presenter.
 Lunch: A lighter mid-day fare from Simply Delicious will be served in the Windsor Room.
 Afternoon: Free Afternoon
 Dinner: Dinner is again served by Simply Delicious in the Windsor Room.
Accommodations: English Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Michie Tavern and Ashlawn-Highland
(Thursday, May 22)

Note: The field trip to Ashlawn-Highland includes an exploration of the multi-level house that includes going up and down short flights of stairs. Participants who may have difficulty with the stairs can choose to view only the main floor then proceed out around the house on the landscaped grounds before rejoining the group.

 Breakfast: Breakfast will again be buffet style in the Windsor Room.
 Morning: Class: "James Monroe: Principle & Perseverance" An in-depth look at our fifth president, probably the least well-known of the early Virginia presidents. Learn about his long career of public service, beginning when he left The College of William & Mary to serve under Washington during the American Revolution. Explore his time as a member of the Virginia legislature and the U. S. Senate and his terms as Virginia governor. Then follow him to the presidency where he dealt with much more than just the issues of the Monroe Doctrine. Wonder at the strange coincidence in his dying on the Fourth of July exactly five years to the day after the passing of those two other founding giants, Jefferson and Adams. Class: "Thomas Jefferson-American Architect" Review the architectural styles already observed on the field trips to the University of Virginia, Monticello, and Montpelier, focusing on Jefferson as an architect. Consider the features of the architecture of this time and their relation to the culture of the new nation, reflecting not only the tastes and needs of the owners but also their social status and relative wealth. Learn the meaning of some of those confusing architectural terms such as architrave, belt course, metope and more.
 Lunch: Historic Michie Tavern was established in 1784 by Scotsman William Michie and served as a social center of the community. Diners today journey back to the eighteenth century while enjoying a traditional Bill of Fare. Expect good Southern cooking! (Speak like a local---Michie rhymes with sticky.)
 Afternoon: Field Trip: "Ashlawn-Highland, Home of James Monroe" This small, homey dwelling is an interesting contrast to the stately mansions of Monroe's friends and neighbors. Discover how the house has evolved through the centuries with different owners. Explore the elegantly furnished rooms of this "cabin-castle", including the study and children's room added during the tenure of the Monroes from 1799-1828. Stroll the grounds to see the gardens, reconstructed slave quarters, and original Overseer's Cottage while taking in the spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.
 Dinner: Dinner is again served by Simply Delicious in the Windsor Room.
 Evening: Performance: "Colonial Instruments" Enjoy the delightful talents of an accomplished musician as he introduces a variety of fascinating instruments typical of the Revolutionary era. Some will be very familiar and others quite a surprise!
Accommodations: English Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: A Visit from a President
(Friday, May 23)
 Depart From: Program will end in mid-morning with time for check-out and individual arrangements for lunch before departing for home.
 Breakfast: Breakfast will again be buffet style in the Windsor Room.
 Morning: Class: "Silent Voices: Women, Slaves, and Free People of Color" History books are full of information about the Founding Fathers, but the society could not have functioned without the silent companions to these famous men. Discover the hidden stories of the women who supported them, the slaves who provided the foundation of the agrarian society, and the free people of color who struggled to maintain their freedom and rights in the new country where "all men are created equal". Performance: "Colonel Monroe" What better way to end your time in Charlottesville than with a visit from one of the Founding Fathers that you have been learning about all week? A very convincing historical interpreter gives you a first person perspective on James Monroe and his celebrated friends of the Virginia Piedmont. Engage in a unique conversation with one of the important players from the early years of our nation before you return to the 21st century to head home.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Charlottesville Historic Charlottesville
During your free time, you may wish to explore further the University of Virginia, tour an area vineyard, drive the picturesque Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway, or explore Charlottesville's restored downtown pedestrian center. Within reasonable driving distance you will also find the Walton's Mountain Museum, the P. Buckley Moss Museum, and the Roaring Twenties Antique Car Museum. Your free time will be fairly limited, so consider extending your stay to enjoy all the Charlottesville area has to offer. Most of the historical sites have seasonal special events on the weekends that you may want to investigate by going to their individual websites. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

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