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.
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. Coffee, water and tea available.
Gain perspectives from a published expert 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 design and a model for university design throughout the country. At the conclusion of our exploration, we take our motorcoach to Monticello.
At Monticello, we will have box lunches including a sandwich, sides, dessert, and water. 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 45-60 minute exploration (including considerable standing time), 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 see what he had carved onto his memorial stone.
In our private dining room at the hotel.
We’ll have an in-depth look at our fifth president, James Monroe. While he may be the least well-known of the early Virginia presidents, he had a long career of public service that began when he left the College of William and Mary to serve under Washington in the American Revolution. We’ll examine Monroe’s time as a member of the Virginia legislature and the U. S. Senate and his terms as Virginia governor. We’ll review his Presidency and the issues he faced in addition to the Monroe Doctrine, then wonder at the strange coincidence of his dying on the Fourth of July, five years to the day after the passing of two other founding giants, Jefferson and John Adams.