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We recently had a very big weekend at our house. Our son married the love of his life and we got a wonderful, beautiful daughter-in-law all our own! As part of this wedding extravaganza we had three different sets of company stay with us over an eight day period, all from out of state. Each wonderful visit with family involved reminiscing and laughing and celebrating the joyous event. For a few days after the wedding we recuperated and did some site seeing with our guests in the gorgeous Virginia autumn weather.
I have a fascination with big gnarly trees and shot this photo in a Civil War battlefield close to our home. As I looked up and pondered the age of this giant tree, I felt sure it was there during the battle of Chancellorsville. This tree survived canon fire.
Saving room for dessert is not just a blog about desserts. It is also a blog about saving room for the best parts of life. Some of the best parts of life include getting outside and breathing deep. Seeing nature’s beauty somehow cleanses my soul and re-sets my internal spirit.
The fall colors were beginning to peak and the trees seemed to beg for attention.
The Virginia countryside is dotted with horse farms and wineries. It boasts some of the most beautiful scenic drives I’ve ever seen.
I made my husband pull over on the side of the road to shoot these photos. This was too pretty to pass up.
This was our destination – a visit to Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States but he was so much more than just a two term President.
Jefferson started building Monticello in 1769, at the age of 26.
In 1775 he attended the Second Continental Congress.
Then in 1776 he drafted the Declaration of Independence which was adopted July 4th.
This structure was one of his favorite locations on the plantation. Thomas Jefferson was able to view his gardens and the surrounding valley from this tiny perch.
He was a dedicated journalist making daily records of the weather, temperature, winds and which plants did well at what time of year.
Jefferson went on to serve in the Virginia House of Delegates and was elected Governor of Virginia in 1779.
In 1783 he was elected to Congress.
Jefferson then began his diplomatic service in France from 1784 to 1789.
Did you know Thomas Jefferson was appointed our first U.S. Secretary of State?
In 1796 he was elected vice president under John Adams, our second president.
Honestly I don’t see how he ever left his beautiful estate.
While in France Jefferson learned about French cooking and even had his chef travel with him to learn new methods. Jefferson is said to be responsible for bringing macaroni and cheese to America.
In 1801 Thomas Jefferson became the third president of the United States. The White house was not yet complete but was occupied by the president. Washington D.C. is about 60 miles from Monticello, but that’s traveling by interstate, not horse and buggy.
I think Jefferson must have had the heart of an adventurer so in 1803 he commissioned the Lewis & Clark expedition and completed the Louisiana Purchase.
Thomas Jefferson designed Monticello but had not received formal training as an architect. He was a self taught architect relying on observation and books for his knowledge.
Jefferson believed that “all men are created equal.” Wouldn’t it be fascinating to be able to ask him what he really meant when adding that language to the Declaration? Jefferson was a slave owner so that’s a bit of a contradiction.
He also wrote that we all have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
In 1804 Jefferson was re-elected president.
Here you go Foodies – a pre-civil war kitchen. Where’s the Kitchen-Aid Mixer?
I can’t find the dishwasher!
I was able to track down some of those yucky cave crickets. Basement kitchen – yuck!
See? Another gnarly tree – just love this one outside Jefferson’s kitchen.
In 1809 Thomas Jefferson came home to Monticello to retire.
While enjoying his retirement, Jefferson planned and designed the University of Virginia.
“…architecture is my delight, and putting up, and pulling down, one of my favourite amusements.” Thomas Jefferson
“Monticello was famous for its hospitality and cuisine.” Monticello.Org
My husband’s favorite quote: “I cannot live without books.” Thomas Jefferson
“I find friendship to be like wine, raw when new, ripened with age, the true old man’s milk, & restorative cordial.” Thomas Jefferson
“No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.” Thomas Jefferson
Flowers from the West Lawn at Monticello.
So there’s our history lesson for the day.
If you’re ever in the area of Charlottesville, Virginia stop by and visit with Thomas Jefferson at his Monticello home. He was a gracious host!
For more information please visit Monticello
I’m getting in the kitchen this weekend to bake up some birthday goodies. Please check back on Monday to see if it all turned out delicious!
Also – don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY for the gift card to Williams-Sonoma.