UVA field trip involves walking about 3/4 mile; several sets of 10-15 steps. Those who prefer not to walk/climb steps may remain by the Rotunda. Monticello is at the top of a steep hill, reached by shuttle. The mansion is handicapped-accessible; parts of the grounds are steep and/or reached only by stairs; uneven pathways. The longest walk, past the Jefferson cemetery, is about 1/2 mile. Visitor Center exhibits provide an alternative for those who prefer something less physically demanding.
At the hotel, enjoy a selection of foods at the Kitchen Skillet breakfast buffet. Items will vary throughout the week, but may include French toast, pancakes, waffles, fresh-made breakfast sandwiches, hot oatmeal with toppings, whole and fresh cut fruit, yogurt with toppings, muffins, cereals, juices, and milk.
Gain perspectives on the social order and lifestyles of Virginia’s landed gentry — including our three Presidents — and “a society to our taste.” Learn about life on plantations and estates far from the colonial hub of Williamsburg, Jefferson’s conceptions of the ideal society, and how he encouraged and supported his friends in joining that rare circle. We will also have an illustrated overview of the University of Virginia (UVA). Next we embark via motorcoach on a field trip to UVA, founded by Jefferson in 1819. He considered the creation of this “academical village” one of his greatest achievements. Led by an expert, we’ll walk through the Grounds to observe the impressive Rotunda and the Lawn, both designed by Jefferson. See Jefferson's vision of higher education as it unfolds in the layout of the classroom and residential buildings, student housing on the Lawn and Ranges, still in use today. Take in the gardens, serpentine wall, and pavilions, all part of Jefferson's concept and a model for university design throughout the country. At the conclusion of our exploration, we take our motorcoach to Monticello.
At the Farm Table Café at Monticello, we will have box lunches including a sandwich, salad or chips, fruit, and water. Each meal focuses on locally sourced, sustainably raised, and seasonal ingredients. You may sit indoors or outdoors (weather permitting) with views of the surrounding forest.
If you knew nothing else about Jefferson and then visited Monticello, you would recognize the man as a genius. The house and gardens were designed, redesigned, built, and rebuilt over more than 40 years. Today, it is considered an “autobiographical masterpiece.” Led by an expert, we will have a guided exploration, walking through this exceptional mansion where you see the architecture he favored and some of the many innovative contrivances he devised. The furnishings, art, books, gadgets, and objects such as the 7-day clock and the alcove bed reveal Jefferson's unique and inquiring mind. It is astonishing to comprehend that one man conceived all of this. Leaving the house, you will have free time to walk through the extensive kitchen and ornamental gardens, and the Jefferson family cemetery where you can see the epitaph he wrote carved onto his memorial stone.
Dinner at the hotel catered by a local restaurant.
Jefferson was a man of mighty visions and contradictions who has been called an American sphinx. He wrote “all men are created equal” but owned slaves and may have had an affair with one of them. He wrote the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom that inspired part of our Bill of Rights but was himself not religious. He was an advocate of limited government but as President took executive action that doubled the size of the U.S. with the Louisiana Purchase. Led by a Jefferson scholar, we will engage in a thoughtful consideration of Jefferson’s public and private views, compare his philosophical positions with his actions, and develop a deeper understanding of this brilliant man who simultaneously shaped and was constrained by the time and place in which he lived.