A side trip to Sperryville.

After the success of our trip to White Oak Canyon, we decided to return to the Sperryville area for one last little getaway before the return to school. We also decided to throw a key piece of American History into the mix by starting our weekend with a visit to Monticello – the plantation owned by Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence.

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By all accounts TJ, as he has come to be known in our house, was a man of great intelligence and a wide array of interests, and this was reflected in the glimpse we got into his self designed home. We took what was called the “family friendly” tour which was aimed at children and which we all loved – although Richard and I did have to laugh at how quickly our two kiwi girls were calling out the answers to the guide’s American history questions!

Monticello
Monticello

Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photos inside the house but it was filled with interesting artifacts, inventions and design that demonstrated Jefferson’s interest in farming, architecture, food, mechanical innovations and his great love – books.

TJ's vege patch.
TJ’s vege patch.

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TJ's final resting place.
TJ’s final resting place.

From Monticello we drove to Cardinal Springs, a farm located just outside of Sperryville. We stayed in a very cute apartment on the top of a newly built barn. The girls were in heaven. Goats, chickens, cats and dogs all roaming around freely; horses and mules to stroke and talk to through the fence; and a pond complete with canoe, paddle boat and fishing rods.

The barn at Cardinal Springs.
The barn at Cardinal Springs.
Making friends with the locals.
Making friends with the locals.
Yours truly getting my canoe on!
Yours truly getting my canoe on!
Waiting for us at the door when we woke on Saturday :)
Waiting for us at the door when we woke on Saturday πŸ™‚
The girls took every opportunity to be with the animals.
The girls took every opportunity to be with the animals.

Olive and Edie would have stayed on the farm all day, but we did manage to drag them to the nearby town of Washington to do a bit of exploring. Also known as “Little Washington”, this tiny town of about 150 inhabitants is the oldest of the 28 towns and villages in the US that go by the name of Washington. The town site was surveyed by George Washington himself in 1749.

The first official Washington!
The first official Washington!
Lots of quaint old buildings to look at here.
Lots of quaint old buildings to look at here.

The other reason Little Washington is a destination spot for visitors, is the Inn at Little Washington – a luxury hotel and restaurant which has been rated as one of the top ten restaurants in the world. Richard and I have made a pact that we must do a grownups only dinner here before we leave the US.

The Inn at Little Washington.
The Inn at Little Washington.

Saturday afternoon was spent down at the pond. I managed to finish another book, whilst the girls took out the canoe and paddle boat – all by themselves! They had a blast. Richard fired up the fishing rods and almost managed to hook a catfish. Unfortunately his trusty assistant, namely me, was far too preoccupied with getting a photo rather than getting the fish in the net so it was very much a case of the one that got away 😦

Paddler girls in action.
Paddler girls in action.
Land that fish!
Land that fish!
The one that got away!
The one that got away!

Despite the rain on Sunday morning the girls were up and out of bed as soon as they could and had a great time helping the farm worker feed all the animals and do a spot of grooming. We dined on a late breakfast of farm fresh eggs and then headed back home to prepare for the big first day of school ahead.

I’m typing this on Thursday and so far all is good. Both girls are very happy with their class and teachers. Couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year. Poor old Richard missed all the excitement as he’s been away all week – just a few places…Chicago, Wisconsin, San Francisco and Vancouver…there will be some very tired people in our house come Saturday morning!

Hope you are all well. We miss you and send all our love xxx

8 Replies to “A side trip to Sperryville.”

  1. Wow what an interesting blog. As you know Monticello is on my list of things to see . Did the girls see Jefferson’s amazing gadget which enabled him to keep copies of all his letters. The address in Hong Kong of the American Women’s Assoc. can be found in the aptly named “Monticello” – Did you know our own
    Sam Neil played TJ in a series on his life overshadowed by the Nick Nolte version, which can be downloaded on U TUbe. Loved all the pics and info ………. Did you make a nice Creole catfish recipe Richard???
    What a lovely holiday to end the School Vacation.
    Mum

    1. I wasn’t sure if you had been to Monticello Mum. We’ll definitely go back when you are here – only a two hour drive. We did get to see the amazing “polygraph” which enabled him to copy his letters and his special book stand that could swivel and hold five open books at once. It was fascinating. I’ll have to have a look at Sam Neill as TJ – how funny!

  2. I wish my parents took me to see stuff like this when I was young. Olive and Edie you are very lucky! Wishing you all a great start of the school year. Me and the other Da Vinci teachers have one more weekend of freedom and then we start preparing for the children to arrive on Sept 4th.
    Richard have a safe journey.

    1. Thanks for your kind words Miss Cynthia. The opportunities and experiences for Olive and Edie are the main reasons why we were prepared to move country – twice! Wishing you a wonderful start to the new school year and hope you had a great break.

  3. Chrissy, as always love reading your blogs. What fabulous adventures you are taking the girls on. Keep writing – they are fantastic to read. Jacqui

  4. Wonderful post Chrissy! Wow Olive and Edie what a truely rich educational experience you are having – Thomas Jefferson would so approve of your freedom to answer all the questions and your appreciation of all the natural beauty and acquired knowledge in his home. What an incredible man and Monticello looks like such an interesting place..it must have been so inspiring. I read somewhere that Jefferson wrote the wording for his own memorial…and that nowhere does it mention he was President being more proud of his achievements than his offices. What a great leader..Off to look up Sam Neil on the you tube πŸ™‚ Lots of love xxx

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