Continuing up the Eastern Seaboard. Monticello to Philly.

IMG_0870IMG_0860Day 33.

Miles Driven: 356

We left my cousin’s home in North Carolina and continued north to Virginia. Our destination: Monticello, home of our third President, Mr. Thomas Jefferson. Visiting Monticello exposed that Jefferson was more than just a president. He was a brilliant man who also wrote our Declaration of Independence, was a farmer, spoke six languages, and was a self taught architect. Pretty cool guy.

IMG_0863Monticello was built on a hilltop near his birthplace and boyhood home near Charlottesville, Virginia. We took a tour of his home and saw many of the custom features and gadgets he designed into his home, including a bed that was built into the wall so to provide more floor space and a rotating book stand so he could read multiple books at once. In his IMG_0861dining room, with its bright yellow walls, we could imagine the intimate dinners he had with friends like John Adams, James Madison, and James Monroe. Monroe also lived just down the street from Monticello.

Since he was a farm owner, for the time period, this also meant he was a slave owner. This was something he struggled with his entire life because it contradicted what he had written in the Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal.” Now, you may ask, “If he struggled with this, why did he not free his slaves?” Slavery was a part of the culture of the 1700s. If he freed them where would they go? No one would hire and pay them. So he treated them well, kept them happy and well fed, and most importantly, kept families together.

The home is bright with high ceilings, extra bedrooms upstairs, and staff below. From Monticello, you can see to downtown Charlottesville and to the University of Virginia, which he also founded and designed.

Next time you look at a nickel, think of Mr. Jefferson and all the foundations he laid for our country. Monticello is even imprinted on the back.

IMG_0876IMG_0875Day 34.

Miles Driven: 173

After Monticello closed last night, we drove to the outskirts of Washington DC. In the morning, we had brunch with a friend who just moved to Maryland for a new adventure, like us. It was fun comparing stories and learning about her home/job hunt. Kristen seems very happy with her decision to more to the East coast.

After breakfast, we drove up to my cousin near Philadelphia. Matt and Jess have the cutest home and Matt has become quite the chef. They took very good care of us.

They drove us into Philly to visit the Reading Terminal Market where I was on the hunt for a few food items. One, the best canoli I have ever had was here at the Termini Bros. booth. Amazing. And two, a chocolate bar created by my favorite travel writer Anthony Bourdain.  I was successful in finding both along with a bit of liverwurst from a German butcher.

IMG_0879IMG_0877We spent the evening playing Settlers of Catan. Great day.

Total Miles: 5,884