Ride C2C #4 - Day 19: Charlottesville Tourist Day

Jul 13, 2023

Day 19 Date: 7/11/23
Day: 19
Route: Tourist Day in Charlotte
Miles: 0

We decided to take a “tourist day” because…why not?  We have decided to NOT ride our bikes from Richmond to DC because it’s all urban riding and that’s not much fun.  My commitment is to the Atlantic Coast and Yorktown is it!


So we sleep in until 8:30 (!!!) and go downstairs for breakfast of homemade granola, fruits, sweet breads, yogurt, and very refreshing fresh squeezed orange juice.  Charlie, the B&B host, got out some gluten free bread for me - so I also had toast with avocado spread.  And coffee of course.


We buy tickets for the “behind the scenes” tour Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s estate, but the tour is not until 2:30p.  So we have time to run some errands - Doug desperately needs a non-cycling shirt and so we go to the one men’s store in the downtown pedestrian mall and are pleasantly surprised.

FUNNY story, Doug has this odd tradition of buying a nice jacket of some sort when we are traveling - and so he found a beautiful gray sport coat that we are having shipped home.  He also got that shirt and shorts we originally came in for.  I dashed across the alley to find my own treasures with a linen top and pants.  It’s so hot here!

We have lunch at a nice place with a great “bowl” salad and then we were off to Monticello!  We wisely decided to Uber there instead of bike - we were doubly glad we made that decision when we travelled up the steep hills.


Monticello was fascinating and raises my respect for Thomas Jefferson and his mathematical, architectural, scientific, and political skills.  That man was one smart dude who put his ideas into action.


The views from this hilltop estate were spectacular - it was as if you could see across the whole state to the east. 

 On our “Behind the Scenes” Tour, our guide Mikey grew up in the area, graduated with a degree in history, and had been guiding for 5 years.  There were only 3 of us in our tour group (vs his 17 in the morning) so we were lucky.

When Jefferson died, he was in debt to the tune of about 2.5 million dollars (in today’s $$$) and so most of the house furnishings were sold off. The Jefferson Historical Society has worked for years to re-assemble the furnishings to give a realistic feel to the house.  What was not attainable was reproduced in likeness.

There are 2 entry ways - one for guests and one for family.  In the guest entry way, where commonly 20-30 people would wait for a chance to talk with Jefferson, there were displays of antlers (to show how big American animals were) and Native American items.  The clock, designed by TJ, was still working today and operated on a weight system which also marked the day of the week (Saturday was in the basement).


His library was remarkable with 7,000 of his 11,000 books present. 

 We visited the upstairs bedrooms - noting the “alcove” bed to save space (and the portholes above this were to air the wardrobe that was accessible by ladder) the men’s wing and women & children’s wing.


The dome was spectacular but had no internal use - it was only added as an architectural feature. The yellow paint was also unusual and expensive to make. 

We heard the stories of his wife, children, and children with Sarah (Sally) Hemmings, one of his slaves.  There is so much more to tell about the other buildings and lives of people who lived there. 

We ubered back to our B&B, Doug off to play his mini-French horn in the parking garage up the street and I went to work on making the last of our reservations in Williamsburg.  Funny story - Doug got busted by security at the parking garage for … playing his French horn?  Anyway, they wouldn’t even let him pay for a parking spot to stay and he got kicked out.

We went to dinner just across the street to “Bang” - an Asian fusion “small plate” restaurant.  Delicious food, but we ordered too much food to eat and when we went back to the drug store to get a couple of things, I was able to give our leftovers to a homeless guy.

We did have room for a homemade Cookie at our B&B - and off to bed! 


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