Friday, October 13, 2017

James Madison's Montpelier and Virginia Horse Country

You may remember Hal and I went to Charlottesville, Virginia a few weeks ago.  We actually stayed out in the countryside about 30 miles from Charlottesville, but more on that later.  On our first full day in Virginia, we decided to drive to Montpelier, the home of James and Dolley Madison, with the idea that we would just enjoy the pretty scenery on the way but not do the house tour.  I had read that the grounds were free to the public, and we thought we'd just walk through the grounds and take some pictures.  The scenery on the way to Montpelier was indeed beautiful.  Once we got to the museum shop, we decided to purchase tickets and see the house.  It was a terrific tour; we were so glad we decided to take it.

You can't really tell in this picture, but this fence was so pretty.  It's a picket fence, and the posts are white, but the pickets are painted dark green, like a forest green.  I've never seen that done before, and it looked so perfect for this country home.

I loved this door with its beautiful fanlight and decorative sidelights.

These two pictures give you an idea of how large this porch and the columns on the front of the house are.  Enormous!!

 Isn't this view spectacular?!  Hal took these pictures, and he did this one in panoramic style.  The sky looks so dramatic, doesn't it?

Back to this picture, if you'll notice in the background I've added some text, "Blue Ridge Mountains."  Our guide, who was fantastic by the way, told us that when Madison was working on the U.S. Constitution, this was the view from his desk where he wrote and studied.  Those pale, blue ridges in the distance were the westernmost border of our country at that time.  Hard to imagine, isn't it?

Taking photos was not allowed inside the house, so these are basically all the images we have of Montpelier.  As you probably know, James Madison was our fourth president and is known as the "Father of the Constitution."  Dolley Madison was the only first lady to be born in North Carolina -- another reason I wanted to see Montpelier.  She was born in Guilford Country, in the New Garden area of what is now Greensboro, N.C.  Hal and I are from Forsyth County, but we lived in Greensboro for the first eight years of our married life.  The name Dolley Madison is seen on small businesses, restaurants, etc. around Greensboro, and there is a Dolley Madison Road, as well.  Dolley's family moved away from our state in her early childhood, but we're still happy to claim her.  :)

Montpelier Train Depot (c. 1910)

Hal and I were both so impressed with Madison's many contributions to our young nation during his lifetime.  I would highly recommend touring Montpelier, if you ever have the opportunity.  After Madison's death in 1837, Dolley sold Montpelier to Henry Mancure in 1844.  After changing hands six more times, Montpelier was purchased by the du Pont family in 1901.  The du Ponts' daughter, Marion, died in 1983, and she bequeathed the property to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, along with a  $10 million endowment.

Marion was an avid equestrian, and when the du Ponts lived at Montpelier, they kept many horses.  Today, Montpelier hosts an autumn steeplechase event, which was originally begun by Marion du Pont and her brother, William in 1934.  This green barn was on the Montpelier property -- isn't it pretty?


Love that weathervane!

We saw the most amazing farms around Orange Country and Albemarle County, VA.  We have farms in North Carolina, but I've never seen farms like those in Virginia.  They were so big, with lots of rolling green meadows and pretty farm fences.  Almost all of them had signs bearing the name of the farm at the entrance to the long driveways.  They had names like Inglewood, Tewksbury, Seven Oaks, McConnell Angus Farm, Kinloch, Clarion, Longwood, Belmont, Chanticleer, and Sunny View.  I would love to show you pictures of these farms (what we could see of them) but they were set so far off the road, we could often just catch a glimpse of them as we drove by .  They were wonderful, though -- true hunt country style.

Grassdale Farm

This is Grassdale Farm, one of the farms we drove past almost every day.  It really was lovely.  These pictures came from a real estate listing online; apparently the farm was for sale in 2016.

Grassdale Farm

I don't know if the farm is still for sale, but according to the 2016 listing, for a cool $5,950,000 it could be yours.  😲  The house, built in 1860, has 5,000 square feet and sits on 851 acres overlooking the Green Springs Valley.  My take in looking at this picture is that the fencing alone must have cost big bucks.  😉  But I must say that the fencing really is part of the beauty for me.  We passed miles and miles of these farm fences during our visit -- so, so pretty.

Grassdale Farm

This was the entrance we drove by every day; it just makes you want to see what's at the end of that long driveway, doesn't it?

This last photo is basically what we could see from the road.  If you'd like to see more about the house, I found these pictures Here.

That's all for today -- I hope you enjoyed this post.  Thank you so much for dropping by, and as always, I appreciate your visit.  Wishing you a wonderful fall weekend!



1 comment:

  1. Loved that, Denise, particularly interesting to hear about Montpelier. And that's a beautiful barn - surely too chocolate-box to be real?! I'm afraid I can't hear 'Blue ridge Mountains' without thinking of Laurel & Hardy on the trail of the lonesome pine...Thanks for visiting ABAB recently - lovely to hear from you and I'm guessing all is tickety-boo - I'm afraid I've been a little neglectful for one reason and another; not enough hours in the day!



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