2007
Charlottesville
Friends, Neighbors, Presidents: The World of Jefferson, Madison and Monroe
Immerse yourself in the vibrant past and modern charms of Charlottesville, Virginia, discovering historic architecture, traditional cuisine and the legacies of great American leaders.
Rating (4.96)
Program No. 2007RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
849
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Registration/Orientation/Introduction to Three Presidents
Charlottesville
D
English Inn

Afternoon: Hotel Check-in: Available from 3:00 p.m. Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table from 4:00-5:00 pm to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate; program activities and schedules may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration.

Dinner: In the pleasant ambiance of the Windsor Room, enjoy a buffet meal that offers a choice of two entrées such as lemon basil chicken, lasagna, and stuffed flounder, side dishes, two salads,and beverage choices including coffee, tea, water.

Evening: With our local expert, get a lively and detailed introduction to three Presidents from Virginia: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. Learn fascinating details of their public and private lives as well as their friendships and their world. Explore the activities and contributions of the “Founding Fathers” to America from the colonial era through the Revolutionary War and development of the young republic from the Constitution to the Monroe Doctrine.

DAY
2
Society to Our Taste /UVA/ Monticello/Jefferson Perspectives
Charlottesville
B,L,D
English Inn

Activity note: 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.

Breakfast: In the Windsor Room, the breakfast buffet typically includes selections such as scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage links, pancakes or French toast, grits, hot cinnamon apples, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, English muffins, bagels, cereals, fruit, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: 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.

Lunch: At the Café at Monticello, we will have box lunches including a sandwich, fresh fruit salad, potato or pasta salad, a brownie, and water. You may sit indoors or outdoors (weather permitting) with views of the surrounding forest.

Afternoon: 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: In the Windsor Room.

Evening: 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.

DAY
3
Perspectives on the Madisons / Montpelier
Charlottesville
B,L,D
English Inn

Activity note: Considerable walking and standing indoors and out; the round-trip walk between the Visitor Center and the mansion is approximately 2/3 mile on a pebble walkway that slopes up (no shuttle). The second floor is reachable only by stairs; there are exhibits and videos on the first floor. Exhibits in the Education Center provide an alternative for those who prefer something less physically demanding.

Breakfast: In the Windsor Room.

Morning: In an expert presentation, gain an understanding and appreciation of Dolley Madison. Though the title “First Lady” came later, there is no doubt that she defined the role, establishing a set of precedents by which we still tend to judge our First Ladies. Raised a Quaker and not formally educated, Dolley Payne Todd Madison displayed innate, highly attuned social skills. She charmed both men and women. At the same time she was an intelligent and savvy politician's wife who understood the effectiveness of nuanced relationship building. She and James Madison had an exceptionally successful 42-year union both on a personal level and as one of the nation's first power couples. We take our motorcoach to Montpelier for a field trip to learn more about the Madisons and explore their home. Intertwined with the house exploration is a new look to Madison's role in the development of the Constitution. This in-depth experience will focus on what makes Montpelier significant as a historical site, and the place where the Constitution was inspired. It will help you gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the rationality, mechanics, and purpose of the document as Madison saw it. The presentation will cover Madison's thinking prior to the Constitutional Convention; his contributions during the Convention; and his efforts to explain and secure the Constitution.

Lunch: In the Visitor Center’s Exchange Café adjacent to the DuPont Gallery, we’ll have box lunches with a sandwich, fruit, chips, cookie, water.

Afternoon: The remainder of the afternoon at Montpelier is free for you to see and do more of what interests you most at your own pace. Indoor exhibits include information on Madison's Presidency and the War of 1812, life at Montpelier during the tenure of the duPonts, and artifacts such as Dolley's engagement ring and James's walking stick, a gift of Thomas Jefferson. Outdoors, you are welcome to visit the duPont Formal Garden, the South Yard slave quarters, and the cemeteries, all within walking distance of the house and Visitor Center.

Dinner: In the Windsor Room.

Evening: Delight in a lively performance called “Violins and Fiddles” by a talented musician who not only demonstrates the differing personalities of this single instrument, but also provides an informative commentary on music of the 18th century.

DAY
4
Presidential Plantations / Free Afternoon and Evening
Charlottesville
B,L
English Inn

Breakfast: In the Windsor Room.

Morning: In a two-part presentation this morning, we will examine the self-contained world of plantation life where a few lived in comfort supported by the many who labored in the fields and homes under the yoke of slavery. To separate fact from fiction, romanticized mythology from reality, our expert speaker will discuss issues such as family life, education, leisure, and other aspects of the parallel cultures on the plantation. We will also gain a sense of the contrasts between this elaborate and complicated lifestyle and the much simpler homesteads maintained by the vast majority of early American farmers. Our in-depth study includes time for question-and- answer interaction with the presenter.

Lunch: In the Windsor Room.

Afternoon: Free Afternoon. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: Dinner on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Monroe/Jefferson as Architect/Michie Tavern/Highland
Charlottesville
B,L,D
English Inn

Activity note: Michie Tavern is located on a steep hillside with a flight of broad, shallow steps up to the Tavern; only dining room wheelchair accessible. The field trip to 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 in the lower level rooms.

Breakfast: In the Windsor Room.

Morning: Today’s first presentation focuses on James Monroe. He studied law as a young man with Virginia’s then-Governor, Thomas Jefferson, and the two became life-long friends and neighbors. Monroe’s long career of public service, began when he left The College of William and Mary to serve under Washington during the American Revolution. We will examine his time as a member of the Virginia legislature and the U. S. Senate and his terms as Virginia governor. We’ll also learn about Monroe’s public and private life including his Presidency and what was termed “the era of good feelings” remembered primarily for his declaration of the Monroe Doctrine. Among his many achievements, Thomas Jefferson was an accomplished architect. With Jefferson as our focus, we will review architectural styles already observed on our field trips, consider popular architectural features of the era, and their relation to the culture of the new nation, reflecting not only the tastes and needs of 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: At historic Michie Tavern, journey back to the 18th century with a traditional Bill of Fare (good Southern cooking!). This tavern founded in 1784 by Scotsman William Michie (rhymes with sticky) was a social center of the community. After lunch, we will explore the building with an engaging local expert.

Afternoon: For our next field trip, we explore Highland, the home of James Monroe. This small dwelling is an interesting contrast to the stately mansions of Monroe's friends and neighbors. Recent archaeology suggests that the current structure may be a guest residence and that Monroe's home was a much larger nearby building that no longer exists. Information on these finds will be provided during the visit. Discover how the existing 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 on the plantation 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. Delight to the talents of an accomplished musician who will present an exclusive demonstration-concert for our group using a variety of fascinating instruments typical of the Revolutionary era. Some will be very familiar and others quite a surprise!

Dinner: In the Windsor Room

Evening: At your own leisure.

DAY
6
Silent Voices: Women, Slaves, Free Blacks/Meet Col. Monroe
Charlottesville
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out is by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: In the Windsor Room.

Morning: We have libraries full of information on the Founding Fathers, but society could not have functioned without those about whom early American history is largely silent. Learn about women whose support was crucial to the social structure, slaves whose muscle and sinew built an agrarian society, and free people of color who struggled to establish their place in a new nation that had declared “all men are created equal.” Rounding out our experience, meet “Colonel Monroe” himself. Engage in a unique conversation with a knowledgeable and talented historical interpreter who provides first-person interaction with James Monroe. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy all your Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. We encourage you to join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!