Monticello is one of the most iconic and significant historic sites in America. Located just outside Charlottesville, Virginia, Monticello was built by Thomas Jefferson over a period of 40 years, from 1768 to 1808. The house is a masterpiece of architecture and design, and its grounds are beautifully landscaped with gardens, groves of trees, and an expansive lawn. A tour of Monticello is a must-do for anyone interested in American history or architecture. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your visit.
What to expect on a tour of Monticello
When you arrive at Monticello, you’ll be able to explore the grounds and gardens on your own or take a guided tour of the house. The guided tour is highly recommended, as it provides insights into Jefferson’s life and work that you wouldn’t get from exploring on your own. Either way, allow yourself at least two hours to fully enjoy the experience.
If you take the guided tour of the house, you’ll be led through each room by a knowledgeable docent who will point out features of interest and share stories about Jefferson and his family. You’ll also get to see some areas of the house that are not normally open to the public, such as the second floor bedroom where Jefferson died.
Highlights of the house and grounds
There are too many highlights of Monticello to list them all, but here are a few that you definitely won’t want to miss:
The Entrance Hall: This grand room is where Jefferson greeted guests and held parties. It’s also where he hung a portrait of George Washington, which he considered to be his most treasured possession.
The South Wing: This part of the house was reserved for Jefferson’s personal use and contains his bedroom, study, and library.
The Gardens: The gardens at Monticello are truly breathtaking. Highlights include the Virginia Native Plant Garden, the Octagonal Vegetable Garden, and the Monticello Flower Garden.
The Grounds: In addition to the gardens, the grounds of Monticello are home to groves of trees, an expansive lawn, and a vineyard.
Tips for making the most of your visit
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your visit to Monticello:
- Buy your tickets in advance. Tours of the house sell out quickly, so it’s best to purchase your tickets online before you go.
- Wear comfortable shoes: You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
- Dress for the weather: The temperature can vary widely at Monticello, depending on the time of year and the weather. Be sure to
- dress appropriately for the conditions.
- Bring a camera: There will be plenty of photo opportunities, so don’t forget your camera!
- Plan ahead: If you want to take the guided tour of the house, be sure to book in advance, as tours fill up quickly.
Now that you know what to expect, a visit to Monticello is sure to be a highlight of your trip to Virginia!
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