If you are a U.S. history buff Virginia is the place for you, there are so many great places to visit, to learn about the first settlement, everyday life in the colonies, and of course the great leaders of the country. I visited Montpelier, the home of James and Dolley Madison and I have to tell you not only is the setting breathtaking but the story of their lives is fascinating.
If you are not familiar with James Madison he is the least known of the founding fathers of the United States of America, he is known as “the Father of the Constitution”, he wrote the Federalist Papers along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, he was the Secretary of State under Thomas Jefferson and he was the 4th President of the United States! Wow! Talk about a busy life.
Montpelier, located in Orange County, VA was the life long home of James Madison; his father was a wealthy landowner and he was the oldest of 7 siblings. His 41 years in the government took him away from his beloved Montpelier but he always came back, it was where he brought his bride and where he died.
The house has had interesting history, it was owned by the Madison’s and then was sold off to pay debts, although it had various owners for the next 60 years, the most famous were the DuPont’s. They expanded from 10,000 sq feet to over 40,000 sq feet, all the while trying to preserve what was left of the original Madison house. The house was willed by Marion DuPont Scott, “to an organization that would restore the house to the time of Madison.”
This task has been easier said than done, and has been discussed and ongoing since 1984. The preservation of the house and land is meticulous and will continue for generations. One of the major decisions that was made, was to tear off the additions that were added over the years and return it to the roughly 10,000 feet it was during Madison’s time. They did however retain two rooms that the DuPont’s added and they are open to the public to see.
It was the home of great writing, great wealth, fabulous horses and history!
The house and lands are beautiful and you can tell as you visit that although this was a working plantation there was a great love of architecture, gardens and the lands. If you have the opportunity to go and visit this part of the country do stop and see Montpelier. From there you can see Monticello, which I will show you the photos of tomorrow, the University of Virginia, Charlottesville and so many other places. The countryside is beautiful especially in the Fall, the university is steeped in history and the restaurants are great.