Soon after the leaves start falling I start to make birthday plans for my hubby. He's turning the big '33' this year and this year has been good to him.
|As a toddler in 1983.|
He's had a birthday in a different state each year since we've met. I met him four years ago just before he turned 30, and that was the last year his Mom got to plan his birthday. Nothing extravagant, just dinner at their house, and maybe a gift or two.
I blogged about his 31st birthday trip to Boston and Cape Cod (here, here and here). His 32nd was in Georgia, when we were staying at the 1906 house. So this year, with a little saved we decided that we'd go away again. There's many things you can choose to spend your money on, we just choose to spend it on making new memories.
We headed to Charlottesville, Virginia. A mere four and a half hours away from Charlotte, the city is steeped in colonial history.
Off we went on Friday afternoon. We arrived safely and settled in for the evening, awaking the next day ready for a day of culture and history.
Let me introduce you to James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States and his home, Ash Lawn-Highland.
The white building was James Monroe's home and the colonial building to the left was an addition by previous owners in the Victorian era.
The back of the property shows the lower floor where the kitchens are located. This was unusual for that era, as kitchens would burn down every so often.
A little more about James Monroe's life...
"James Monroe, fifth president of the United States, was born on April 28, 1758, in a home four miles from the birthplace of George Washington. He was the eldest son of Spence Monroe, a moderately prosperous planter in Westmoreland County. After studying in a classical academy, Monroe entered the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1774. As political tension with Great Britain mounted, Monroe became active in the revolutionary cause. Entering the Continental Army in 1776, he was quickly commissioned a lieutenant. He participated in battles in New York and New Jersey, wintered with Washington at Valley Forge, and was seriously wounded in the Battle of Trenton. Though he actually crossed the Delaware River in an advance guard several hours before Washington, he is depicted in Emanuel Leutze’s famous painting Washington Crossing the Delaware as standing behind Washington and carrying the colors. In 1780 Monroe left the army as a colonel to study law at William and Mary and in Richmond under Thomas Jefferson, who became a lifelong friend, political mentor, and neighbor." source
"In the next decades Monroe practiced law in Fredericksburg and served in the Virginia House of Delegates and on the Council of the State of Virginia. He gained additional political experience in the Congress of the Confederation and as minister to France during the Washington administration. With Jefferson and James Madison, he helped to organize the Democratic-Republican party. He became known for his administrative ability, for his decision-making ability, and for his ability to build consensus." source
"After one term as governor of Virginia, Monroe was catapulted to national fame by his role in the Louisiana Purchase. Following additional terms as minister to France, Great Britain, and Spain in the Jefferson administration, and as secretary of state and secretary of war under James Madison during the War of 1812, he was elected fifth president of the United States in 1816. His two terms as president are noted for the Era of Good Feelings, the Missouri Compromise, the establishment of the Indian Territory, the purchase of Florida, and especially the Monroe Doctrine." source
In 1786, when he was 28, Monroe married 17-year-old Elizabeth Kortright of New York City. In 1799 he built and moved to the plantation of Highland (renamed “Ash Lawn” by a later owner and now known as “Ash Lawn-Highland”) in Albemarle County, Virginia. It was adjacent not only to Jefferson’s Monticello but also to the plantation of Colle owned by Philip Mazzei, an Italian-American patriot, vintner, and author closely associated with Jefferson. After serving two terms and leaving the presidency at the age of 67, Monroe gave up his dream of retiring to Highland. Selling it to satisfy his creditors, he settled on his plantation of Oak Hill in Loudoun County, Virginia. Elizabeth Monroe, whose increasingly fragile health had provided another reason for moving closer to Washington, died in 1830. Ten months later, on July 4,1831, Monroe died in New York City at the home of his younger daughter, Maria Hester Gouverneur. He became the third American president—Jefferson and John Adams were the other two—to die on July 4." source
Afterwards, we went to Mitchie Tavern for lunch, we arrived early at eleven, just as it was opening and it was a wise choice, as this was the line as we left...
The lunch is served buffet style and was delicious. I asked about their stewed tomatoes, apparently they crumble biscuits and sugar to get the breaded texture, they were scrumptious. Yum!
Afterwards we went to Monticello, home of the third US president, Thomas Jefferson.
"Thomas Jefferson was born April 13, 1743 on a plantation in Shadwell, Virginia. He spent his boyhood exploring the wilderness and reading books. He attended boarding school and then enrolled at William and Mary College, where he studied math, science, literature, philosophy, and law. In April 1767, he became a lawyer and was admitted to the Virginia bar." source
"When Thomas was fourteen, Peter Jefferson died. In his will, he left Thomas about 3,000 acres of land and about thirty slaves. When Jefferson was twenty-six years old, he began building Monticello. The name means "little mountain" in Italian. Jefferson designed the house, gardens and workshops. Skilled white and enslaved workers built and tended them.
Jefferson loved Monticello. He made notes on everything. He wrote about the rainfall and daily weather. He wrote about his trees, slaves and crops. He even kept a gardening diary. These records tell us valuable information about life at Monticello." source
"Jefferson quickly became known as a champion of freedom and independence from Great Britain. In 1775 and 1776, he was appointed to the Continental Congresses, the later of which selected him to write the Declaration of Independence [note: he was 33, at the time, the same age Cory is celebrating this birthday]. Jefferson also served in the Virginia House of Delegates, and he was Virginia's governor during the Revolutionary War. After the war, he went to Paris as America's minister to France. While he was away, members of the Constitutional Convention contacted him and asked for his support of the new constitution. He conditioned his support on the addition of the Bill of Rights." source
"Upon Jefferson's return from France, he served as President Washington's secretary of state until 1793. He lost the 1796 presidential election to John Adams, but became Adams's vice-president. He ran again in 1800 and served two terms as America's third president. While in office, he commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to lead an expedition across the Louisiana Purchase." source
"At the end of his presidency in 1808, Jefferson returned to Monticello, his Virginia plantation. He worked as a scientist, inventor, linguist, and architect, and established the University of Virginia. Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, exactly fifty years after the Declaration of Independence was signed and on the same day that John Adams died." source
I couldn't live in a world without seasons, and all it's glory.
The magenta flower is called celosia cockscomb.
Saturday evening we went for dinner at C&O in downtown. The restaurant is owned by the chef, and has been given critical acclaim by Bon Appetit, Food and Wine magazine and so many more. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was a relaxed and pleasant one.
We went to Sunday brunch at a restaurant called Fossett's at Keswick Hall. It was another sunny day and the menu had so many delicious choices to choose from. I highly recommend it.
After brunch we started meandering home along the majestic autumnal tree lined streets of Virginia and North Carolina. That my darlings, was one fabulous trip.
More celebrations to come this week.