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Three Friends: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe

Program Number: 9113RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/10/2015 - 9/13/2015; 4/10/2016 - 4/13/2016; 4/29/2016 - 5/2/2016; 5/13/2016 - 5/16/2016; 5/22/2016 - 5/25/2016; 5/26/2016 - 5/29/2016; 6/12/2016 - 6/15/2016; 8/21/2016 - 8/24/2016; 9/9/2016 - 9/12/2016; 9/25/2016 - 9/28/2016; 10/16/2016 - 10/19/2016; 11/13/2016 - 11/16/2016;
Duration: 3 nights
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Price starting at: $649.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture
Meals: 8; 3 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt    

Explore the friendship among three U.S. presidents — Jefferson, Madison, Monroe — as you journey back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the time when these great men lived, worked, laughed and loved. Learn about their personal stories and the historic events that drew them together, explore their views on contemporary issues such as religion, government and slavery, and delve into the lasting contributions each made to our nation.


• Visit the historic homes of these American patriarchs — Jefferson's Monticello, Monroe's Ash Lawn-Highland and Madison's Montpelier.
• Investigate the connection between Jefferson's educational vision and design of his university while strolling the grounds with an expert.
• Enjoy an evening of music from the period in which these men lived, and meet one of them in an interactive living-history presentation.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day; some uneven terrain and stairs.

You may enjoy a five-night version of this program, "Friends, Neighbors, Presidents: The World of Jefferson, Madison and Monroe" (#2007).

Date Specific Information

9-10-2015, 4-29-2016, 5-13-2016, 6-12-2016, 8-21-2016, 9-9-2016, 10-16-2016

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

4-10-2016, 5-22-2016, 9-25-2016, 11-13-2016

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.


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.
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 3 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 one king, dresser and a wide desk. In-room coffee-maker, refrigerator, microwave, 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-7:00pm, but reservations are needed. The shuttle can also pick up at the train and bus stations. Conveniently located only one mile from UVA campus. Enjoy the nearby fitness center, Gold's Gym, free with your room key. Elevators are available to upper floors. Daily USA Today newspaper available Monday-Friday from the front desk. 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:
4:00 pm Program Registration, 3:00pm 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 to check-out and make independent arrangements for lunch 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
  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:


15 minutes depending on traffic 




8 miles


Shuttle provided by the hotel free of charge between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. You should call hotel ahead of time to make reservations. Once you arrive at the airport, go to the Information Board in the baggage claim area to get the hotel contact number. Call the hotel using that number and the shuttle will be sent shortly.


Charlottesville Greyhound/Amtrak Station


From Bus Terminal




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


Per Person/One Way:


Varies depending on gas prices; call for current rates
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


15 minutes 




3 miles


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

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.
Equipment Requirements: This program includes a good deal of walking and standing over extended periods of time. Read through the itinerary closely to make sure you are comfortable with the level of activity.
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: Check-In, Registration, Overview Lecture
(Thursday, September 10)
 Afternoon: Registration and hotel check in Introductions and overview
 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: University of Virginia, Monticello
(Friday, September 11)

Note: The field trip to UVA includes an extended walk on the Grounds which are terraced with steps between levels. Participants who do not want to negotiate the steps can explore the top terrace around the Rotunda until the walk concludes. Monticello is on the top of a steep hill, reached by a trolley ride. The house is accessible, but parts of the grounds are steep and/or reached only by long stairs. Participants can select those areas where they will be comfortable during the independent time.

 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, observing 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. Please note that we may not be able to go inside the Rotunda due to extensive renovations now underway. Your guide will describe the building in detail from the terrace in front of the Rotunda.
 Lunch: Enjoy a box lunch with sandwich, water, fresh fruit salad, choice of potato or pasta salad and a brownie at the Café at Monticello. 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: "James Monroe: Insights", 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.
Accommodations: English Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Montpelier, Ashlawn-Highland
(Saturday, September 12)

Note: This day is jam-packed with activities and requires stamina. Both historic houses are located in hilly terrain, but participants can easily adjust the amount of walking they do around the grounds. The second floor of Montpelier is optional and those finding the grounds too tiring can enjoy the Education Center instead. At Ashlawn Highland there is a short staircase that can be avoided by going outside and coming in another door.

 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 Dolly 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: Field Trip: 'Ash Lawn-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: "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: Historical Visitor, Program Concludes
(Sunday, September 13)

Note: The program concludes with two engaging presentations at the hotel for a restful ending before you head 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. Conclusion and Farewells: Program ends in mid-morning with time to check out and make individual arrangements for lunch before starting home.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Charlottesville Historic Charlottesville
Your program will be filled with lectures, field trips, and other activities, so free time will be very limited, especially in this short Road Scholar program. Consider staying an extra day or two before or after the program to explore all that the Charlottesville area has to offer, including vineyards, museums, downtown historic district, nearby historical sites, and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Historical sites often have special programs on the weekends that you could enjoy by arriving early. Check their websites for calendars of events. Visit our web site for ideas and links.
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.

Suggested Reading List

A Slave in the White House: Paul Jennings and the Madisons

Author: Taylor, Elizabeth Dowling

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West.

Author: Ambrose, Stephen E.

James Monroe: The Quest for National Identity

Author: Ammon, Harry

In Pursuit of Reason: The Life of Thomas Jefferson.

Author: Cunningham, Noble.

American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson

Author: Ellis, Joseph J

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Author: Ellis, Joseph J.

Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy.

Author: Gordon-Reed, Annette

The Evolution of the Constitution of the United States of America and History of the Monroe Doctrine

Author: Kasson, John A.

James Madison: A Biography

Author: Ketcham, Ralph

Jefferson and Monticello: Biography of a Builder

Author: McLaughlin, Jack

American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia

Author: Morgan, Edmund S

. Thomas Jefferson: Writings: Autobiography/Notes of the State of Virginia/Public and Private Papers/Addresses/Letters.

Author: Peterson, Merrill

James Madison and the Creation of the American Republic.

Author: Rakove, Jack

James Madison: Writings.

Author: Rakove, Jack

The Political Philosophy of James Madison

Author: Sheldon, Garrett Ward.

The Republic of Letters: The Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

Author: Smith, James M

Slavery at Monticello.

Author: Stanton, Lucia

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