Monday, May 15, 2017

Our trip to Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest

The drive leading up to the house is magical.
 First up; the elephant in the room.  Thomas Jefferson "owned" as many as 600 human beings in his life.  I am as repulsed by this as you are.  As Virginians we are frequently called to reconcile the beautiful architecture that surrounds us and the great minds which made this possible, with the horror of slavery.  It can't be done.

This blog post is about a beautiful home designed by and lived in by one of our founding fathers, third president of the United States, Vice President, Governor of Virginia (I'll stop there) Thomas Jefferson.
 Thomas Jefferson designed two homes for himself and his family, the other being Monticello.  While Monticello became a place he would receive countless visitors, and I do mean countless, Poplar Forest was his retreat from the world.
These doors are actually pine painted to look like mahogany.  Trust me they are gorgeous!
 Poplar Forest is about 90 miles from Monticello which took Jefferson three days of travel by carriage.  The best tour guide in the world, thank you Bill, told us that on as least two occasions slaves made the trip by foot in order to lodge a complaint to Jefferson about his overseer.  Imagine how long that took!
In classic Jefferson and Palladium fashion, the house is actually an octagon.  Jefferson was inspired by the classical architecture he saw in Europe and was completely self taught.
 Brilliant though he was, the house has some serious mistakes.  There was no logical way for the slaves to bring food into the dining room from the kitchen which was underneath the house.  His initial plan was for the slaves to walk around the outside of the house and bring the food in the front door, which allowed for plenty of time for everything to get cold.  His remedy for this was for the slaves to enter in a side door, walk though his granddaughter's bedroom, and on to the dining room.  Awkward to say the least!
This guy follows me everywhere!  Good thing he's so cute.

Mr. J. loved light, fresh air, and open windows.  Something we have in common.

Yep, even the privy is eight sided.  

 There are actually only two bed chambers for the family.  One for Mr. Jefferson, which had the only indoor plumbing in the house, and one for his two granddaughters.  If you've ever been to Monticello, you probably remember the bed alcoves he so loved,  he continued that tradition  here.
The wine and beer cellar.

The "hall of offices" which were actually the kitchens and laundry room.

Poplar Forest is open daily from
mid-March through December 30, and winter weekends for self-guided tours mid-January through mid-March.  Admission is $16.00 for adults.

It is truly breath taking!

Lunch as trio was wonderful.


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