Wednesday, February 13, 2019


History is a subject that can either be invigorating and exiting, or as dry as a bone. People either enjoy it or they don't so you know you've done well when a historical stop is fun and engaging for everyone, even the most particular, in your group!

Monticello was one such stop.

Monticello was the home of Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence. The home, gardens, and outbuildings are open for tours as well as a museum, two gift shops, and a concession stand.

Front of the home where the tour begins.

Everywhere you look you find evidence of Jefferson's curiosity, genius, and zest for life. He was a president, writer, inventor, diplomat, statesman, architect, planter, lawyer and much, much more. You can't help but be awed by him and the life he lead.

When we visited, we were able to get in on the first tour of the day. Tickets are purchased at the ticketing kiosk and then you can ride the bus up to the house. The tour took about 30 minutes. Our guide was very well-informed and shared all kinds of facts and stats as he led us through Jefferson's home.

Back of the home. Beautiful gardens.

After the house tour, we were on our own to wander the cellars, gardens, and outbuildings. We started with the cellars, kitchen, and privy. There were little exhibits and placards in each room to explain how the rooms were used and something about the lives of the people who worked in them.

The privy

The underground kitchen. Several gadgets were invented by Jefferson himself.

The gardens were of particular interest to me. Beautiful flowers and a large vegetable garden graced the lower terrace. Below that was an orchard.

Large veggie garden


A few outbuildings were on display, as well. Complimentary tours are available for these buildings or you can peek inside them on your own. There were slave quarters and some stables available for viewing.

Next, we walked down to the family cemetery where Thomas Jefferson is buried. The plot is hemmed in by a large gate so we took a couple of pictures and then began the descent back down to the museum.

The museum was such that if you're a true history buff you could spend a lot of time there, but if you aren't or if you have kids, you can browse it quickly. One room focused on the building of Monticello, another room displayed items from the home and/or family.

The gift shop deserves a mention, too, because it was filled with all kinds of neat and interesting goodies. If you like to garden, I recommend purchasing some of the seed packets. The seeds are actually collected from the onsite gardens which have been maintained since Jefferson's time. I purchased some bean seeds that originated in MO and were gifted to Jefferson. I thought that was pretty fitting!

What You Need to Know

Monticello welcomes nearly half a million guests per year! If you are going during peak season you'll want to be sure to arrive early and be prepared to wait. Also, it's not particularly conducive to poor weather so keep an eye on your weather app as you plan.

The house tour is not recommended for rambunctious children. The home is furnished and decorated so it is very tempting for little hands. Luckily, it's short enough that parents can switch off. Check out the "Family Friendly" tour option!

Be sure to visit the website to check out all of the restrictions. Particularly if you have diaper bags or strollers. The house is a good distance from parking so you'll want to plan accordingly.

The educational opportunities here are staggering! Please visit their page to get a good idea of all of the tours and special events that are offered. We visited during the off-season so it wasn't crowded at all. We did the basic house tour and explored the grounds. In all, we only spent about 4-5 hours at Monticello, but we didn't feel shortchanged. Depending on age and interest level, you could spend much more time here or you could invest in one of the extra tours.

Additional Resources

Free Thomas Jefferson paper dolls here. 

Watch a quick video.

Info about the Louisiana Purchase (with free download!)

Cute quill pin craft.

Thomas Jefferson lapbook.

Awesome free printables. They have some for each president!

Look for the books below at your local library. If you decide to purchase, please use my links as I'm participating in the Amazon Affiliate program and each purchase helps support my blog!

No comments:

Post a Comment