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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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 😦
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