Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Foodie Girls Visit Monticello

As we continued our journey eastward, we stopped in Charlottesville, Virginia so that we could visit Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson was not only the writer of the Declaration of Independence (he liked to take all the credit for that piece of work), he was also a statesman, our third US president, a plants man, and a keen observer of nature.  Beyond that, Jefferson was also a  self-taught architect and Monticello was his crowning achievement.

 The front of the house.  This is not the elevation that is most famous, however.

 A compass is embedded in the ceiling of the front porch and a clock that has faces both on the inside and outside sits above the main doors to the house.

Unfortunately, photography is not permitted inside the house as some items are only on loan and Monticello does not have photographic rights to those items.

The tour was fascinating and we learned a great deal about how the man's mind worked and about what things were most important to him.

 Once back outside, we were free to take all the photos we desired.

Mulberry Row sits above the vast vegetable garden. This was the center of plantation activity during Jefferson's lifetime.  Here the slaves, indentured servants, and free men lived and worked.  

Jefferson wanted Monticello to be entirely self-sufficient, with his people making and growing everything that was needed for the plantation.  While he never realized that lofty dream, they worked hard to live off the land.

 Looking towards one end of the vast vegetable garden.

 And towards the other end.

Jefferson was always experimenting with new varieties and new plants; trying to see what would grow well in his part of the world.

 The Garden Pavilion, where Jefferson liked to sit and read or write.

 The Levy Gravesite sits in Mullberry Row.  

Uriah Phillips Levy was the first Jewish commodore in the United States Navy and he purchased Monticello after Thomas Jefferson's death.  It was due to the Levy family's efforts that Monticello has been saved so that we may enjoy this UNESCO World Heritage Site.  

 The joinery chimney is all that remains of the joinery.

 A huge peony in bloom.

 Looking down the north Flower Walk.

 Peonies and poppies.

 Another variety of peony.

 Cicada on phlox.
This is a member of the Brood 2 cicadas.

 The kitchen sits under the hill below the house.

 The "stove."

 A beautiful tree near the front walk to the house.

Thomas Jefferson is buried in the family plot on the property.  
The epitaph for his tombstone contains only the things that Jefferson considered to be his important contributions in life:
"Author of the Declaration of American Independence, 
of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, 
and Father of the University of Virginia."

If you are ever near Charlottesville, Virginia, you must make the effort to visit Monticello.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Road Trip!

The Foodie Girls are on a road trip. 
 We decided we needed some girl time and carefully planned and plotted our great adventure.
More on our destination later.

On the way east, we passed fields of Yellow Rocket.

The view east over the hills of Brown County, Indiana.

After a couple of hours we arrived in Ohio...

Where we made our first stop.

Being Foodies, we had to stop at Foodie Land, otherwise known as Jungle Jim's International Market.

An hour or so later we were once again headed east across Southern Ohio.

We arrived in West Virginia in the mid afternoon and continued driving eastward.

We were chasing the weather as we traveled.

We finally reached the mountains.

It's a long drive down.

We drove through rain in the mountains before arriving after 9 pm in Staunton, Virginia.

We checked into the hotel, rested for the evening, and then headed to Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive in the morning.

We had thought to do a couple of hikes while in the park.  As it was, we decided that the South River Falls Trail was more than enough of a hike for us for the day.

The trail is listed as being 2.6 miles long unless one chooses to travel on part of the Appalachian Trail on the return trip.  Then the hike is 3.3 miles long.  We took the longer route.

This trail was listed as being moderately strenuous.  

A wealth of wildflowers were in bloom along the trail.

Wild strawberry.

Yellow violet.

Yellow rocket.

Yellow rocket and wild geranium.

Despite being a vigorous hike, there were beautiful sights every where.

Please enjoy the hike as we travel along the trail.

It was a cloudy day with patches of fog in the mountains.

Wild geranium.

Lichen on a bolder.

Colorful millipede.

We found the first of many small waterfalls 

Trillium in bloom.

Another waterfall.

A larger waterfall farther downstream.

Looking downstream.

After much hiking we found the main falls.

Beautiful.  But then it was time to head back up mountain.

White trillium.

More trillium.

Common lousewort, or Pedicularis canadensis.

A stack of stones, or cairn, mark the trail.


We finally found our way back to the parking lot and headed back south along Skyline Drive.

We stopped at every overlook that was open along the way to appreciate and photograph the views.

Massanutten Mountain can be seen in the distance.

We drove in and out of the clouds as we traveled along the Drive.

A prime location from which to view Massanutten.

This weathered sign talks about the problems with air pollution and visibility across the valley.

I don't think that air pollution is the problem with visibility today.

It's hard to believe that these pictures were taken on the same day, and often just a mile or so away from those that were entirely enveloped in fog.

The views were magnificent, but our time on the mountains were drawing to a close.

Virginia Spiderwort, or Tradescantia virginiana.

Thank you for coming along with us.

Next time: Monticello.