During our visit to Thomas Jefferson’s historic plantation known as Monticello or ‘little mountain’ in Italian, we explored the house, grounds, and gardens. Monticello as a name sake does fit estate sites on a hill with wonderful views rolling hills and distance views of Charlottesville. During our time at this historic southern plantation, I learned more about the life of our third president and the intertwined connection of slavery here. This is one of the most visited historic sites in the area. Monticello and the University of Virginia are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Touring the Estate
There are several options to tour Monticello depending on the amount of time that you have to explore the plantation and area. In general, I would dedicate about 2 hours minimum to allow enough time to see most sites of this large plantation. You could spend most of your day here taking a “Behind the Scenes-Tour”, The Slavery-Walking Tour, the Garden Walking Tour, and enjoying time in the museum near the entrance at the foot of the mountain. In addition, don’t miss the family grave site of the Jefferson.
We took time to do the ‘Behind the Scenes Tour” I do recommend booking tickets early as these sell out fast as a limited number of slots are available. You get to explore the house from top to bottom. Unfortunately, only certain areas of the home allow you to take photo.
The Cuddy was a hideaway off ‘The Dome” room that Jefferson’s granddaughters often took advantage of using to get away from the noisy house. Learn more about the Cuddy.
Slaves were present and a part of daily activities on Monticello. One of these known enslaved individuals was Sally Hemings. You can learn more about her and the relationship she had with Thomas Jefferson by watch a video online and through exploring a moving exhibit at Monticello.
The Slavery of Monticello Tours is an outdoor walking tour that we took advantage of during our time visiting the UNESCO World heritage site. The tour is included with all ticket purchases and I highly recommend it. Of course, weather permitting.
Finally, we explored the gardens and listened in on the Garden and Grounds Tour , which is another outdoor waking tour of the gardens and grounds of Monticello. This tour is offered a couple of times a day and begins at the fish holding pond with tour hours posted here.