road trip: charlottesville, va

early july and we were on our way to our first destination. my friend suggested stopping in charlottesville, va on our way to gatlinburg, tn. there’s thomas jefferson’s home, monticello, and the university of virginia’s rotunda. i had never thought of it before, but we were up for the adventure.

we watched the landscape shift from city to open spaces and lots more trees. halfway through our drive, we stopped at Cross Street Market in baltimore, md for a seafood lunch and then onward.


in charlottesville, we parked and went directly to the rotunda (we needed to walk off the long drive). there were students everywhere. is it me or are college students looking younger? gr2 and gr3 decided the lawn in front of the rotunda was perfect for cartwheels. we explored the academic dorms and walked into little gardens. we saw Edgar Allan Poe’s dorm room, or what it would have looked like. the sun was setting and we casted long, tall shadows as we walked around campus. what a day. what a drive.


the next day we went to Monticello (little mountain, pronounced: mahn-ti-chello). the roads were green and hilly. we bought our tickets for the family tour (and got a $2 bill with thomas jefferson on it for change!). we explored the children’s discovery room. then we took the short bus ride to his home. we had a friendly female guide who shared lots of interesting facts about thomas jefferson. who knew he was so inventive? he loved clocks, invented lots of gadgets, soaked his feet in cold water every morning when he got up, loved vanilla ice cream and had a really cool garden. he had so many ideas that he incorporated in his home and his life. we were not allowed to take pictures inside the home, but we took pictures in back of his home which is on the back of the nickel! we will never look at a nickel the same way again.


we walked around downtown charlottesville at the pedestrian mall for lunch at citizen burger (yum!) and shopped. the kids kept asking to go to the hotel pool. left up to them, that’s all we would have done. it was hot out. that night the kids did go to the pool with my husband.

traveler’s note: since we have three children who are not quite old enough to have their own hotel room (and it’s expensive) and too big to share one bed, we ordered a roll away. gr3 is a very messy sleeper. gr1 and gr2 couldn’t take his cuddling and flailing. oh my.

we checked out the next day to drive to gatlinburg, tn–another 6-hour drive. onward!


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