Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sully Plantation

Sully Plantation is in Chantilly Va just two towns away where we are in Manassas. It is on property owned by the FAA where the Dulles Airport is. It is almost adjacent to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. This place was owned by Richard Blanford Lee, the Uncle of Robert E Lee of Civil War Fame. The Plantation is furnished with period pieces that were not all owned by the Lees but were authentic for the era. The home was beautiful and was also very eductional. Since there had been no slave house on the property there is a brand new slave's quarters. The site holds programs for kids from local schools and has a nice walking trail. It was cold on the day we went so we skipped the trail.


Michie (pronounced Mikie) Tavern in Charlottesville is just up the road from Monticello and is an active restaurant that serves colonial style food. We didn't eat there but we did go on the tour. Willy said its the best tour he'd ever been on. The Tavern was not in this location at the time of Jefferson but was located across town. Noone of fame is known to have been here but the woman who moved it to the new location used to tell people that Washington had slept there as well as many other people. The building was reassembled just as it had been originally put together and looks quite natural in its setting.

Along with the Restaurant and the original tavern there is a clothier and a gift shop. Of course the items are quite costly but they are sure nice to look at. It was a very educational tour and we had quite a good Docent that reminded us of Aunt Ginger.

Spring Break-2008

The kids had spring break this week so Bill took off Thursday and Friday. We went to Fredericksburg and saw the original law office of James Monroe, 5th president of the US. The next day we went to Charlottesville to his home next to Monticello (Jefferson's home). We learned a couple of things about James Monroe. Of course he's famous for the Monroe Doctrine and for the missouri compromise that held off the Civil War for a time. He is actually the one who made the arrangements and completed the Louisianna Purchase. He didn't come from wealth but his Uncle had enough means to send him to William and Mary where he studied law under and became friends with Thomas Jefferson. Monroe was ambassadore to France and England and was the Virginia Governor. Of all people who were ever president, Monroe held more public offices than any other.

The famous painting of Washington crossing the Delaware depicts Monroe as the bearer of the flag. While he wasn't in the boat with Washington he had crossed the night before and fought with Washington. Monroe was the last of our presidents who had fought in the revolution. When he ran for his second term he got all Electoral votes but one, which went to John Quincy Adams (who would become the next president).

Because he had spent so much time in France and had impressed the French by learning to speak fluent French, he was loved by the French. When the wife of the Lafayette was imprisoned at the beginning of the French revolution along with many other well known Frenchmen, Mrs Monroe went in her fine dress to visit her in the prison which was such a source of shame to the French that the people demanded that Mrs Lafayette be released.

The younger daughter of the Monroes best friend was Hortence, step daughter of Napoleon and later became queen Hortence of Holland.

He had to supervise the renovation and repair of the white house after the war of 1812 and refurnish it. The styles of furniture in the white house are largely those remaining from his purchases. Several pieces that he originally bought are still in use and most of it is french or has french influence.

It seems a shame that this president is largely forgotten. He died on July 4, 1831.