I have updated my review and giveaway policies page (now just titled Policies above). If you are entering a giveaway, please read and abide by the applicable policy.
Attention Authors! If you arrived here looking for information on the Two Sides to Every Story guest post series, see the tab at the top of the page for more info!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Visiting Montpelier–A Virtual Tour
exterior restoration here and the ongoing interior restoration here.
Dolley Madison fashion exhibit (I was SO disappointed when they said that – by one day!) and were working on setting up the bicentennial exhibition for the War of 1812.
Beyond the house there are many other fascinating stops if you have the time. Right out the back is a bronze statue of James and Dolley. You can also take a walk through the DuPont’s garden – they redesigned the original Madison gardens. Right near the entry to the garden is the Cedar of Lebanon tree that was one of the seedlings that Lafayette gave to Madison upon his return trip to the US. This tree is absolutely massive; my photos do not do it justice. You can also walk down to Madison’s Temple. Apparently beneath this temple is the icehouse. It overlooks a beautiful pond, the front grounds of Montpelier and off to the side is the aforementioned horse cemetery.
After we got our fill of the house and the immediate grounds we headed off on a walk toward the front of the property. First we encountered an active archeological dig site. There is the archaeology lab toward the rear of the property where you can look at some of the million or so artifacts that have been found on the property that belonged to the Madison’s. Most of the artifacts have come from the slave quarters or an area known as “Dolley’s Midden” or trash heap. There are five archaeological sites on the property: the mansion and yard, Mount Pleasant site (more on that in a minute), work complex, Gilmore Cabin Freedman’s Farm, and Confederate winter camp sites. They were currently working on the field slave quarters when we were there. You can keep up with the archaeological progress at their blog.
After passing the active site you come to the Mount Pleasant site. This is where the original Madison family home had been built by James’ grandfather, Ambrose. There are not any buildings above the ground, they buried over them to protect the site while they are waiting to have more of a chance for excavation. It is just nicely mown grass with a few signs right now. You can check out this aerial photograph of what the site looked like when some of it was excavated and the locations of the buildings.
Madison cemetery. Beyond James and Dolley, his siblings and their descendants, his parents, and grandparents are buried here – although many are in unmarked graves. We were the only ones visiting the cemetery at the time at it was quiet and respectful. James’ gravestone you cannot miss – it is a giant obelisk, however it is very reserved. There is just the word, Madison, on it. Dolley’s grave, also marked by an obelisk but smaller, is directly behind James’. After we left the Madison cemetery we walked over to the slave cemetery. Located at the edge of the woods it is non-descript. The graves are only marked by infrequent head and foot field stones and the grave depressions.
Montpelier website but certainly feel free to check it out yourself as there is SO much information to explore.
All the photos on this page were taken by me during our visit.
Copyright © 2012 by The Maiden’s Court