My husband and I took an overnight trip to Charlottesville, VA, over Memorial Day weekend. The last couple of months had been pretty stressful for both of us, and a quick getaway was perfect to recharge. We chose Charlottesville because I'd heard there were a lot of good vineyards and wineries to tour, and we've also been on an American history kick, so I wanted to visit Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home.
I might have mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we've been on this self-directed American history tour. Last November, we toured Mt. Vernon, George Washington's home, and during a weekend trip to Philadelphia last fall, we saw the Liberty Bell and toured Independence Hall. We live within a short drive of many historical spots, we figured we should take advantage. It was also nice to avoid the beach crowds and beach traffic on the holiday weekend.
The Foundation grows other vegetables and flowers to complement what's in there now (like the zucchini above). There's a harvest event in the fall, and the volunteers said that sometimes the extra harvests are donated to shelters nearby or given to them (but with so many volunteers, they sometimes only go home with one cabbage). They mentioned that they they grow tulips in the spring to provide dramatic effect when walking up to the house, but tulips in TJ's day were probably not grown because they were very small then and prohibitively expensive.
Montpelier, James Madison's home. Montpelier recently underwent an extensive renovation, and there's not as much to see as at Monticello, but I enjoyed seeing his home and learning more about this lesser-known president. Lesser known to me, anyway.
Now the good stuff--the wine!
Originally we were going to tour the Jefferson Vineyards, but many locals recommended Veritas Vineyards,so went there instead. Once I learned that Jefferson didn't actually make wine (he tried but couldn't get grapes to survive the bugs) I realized that it wasn't actually TJ's vineyard, so I didn't really care which one we chose. Veritas was a great recommendation. Wine tastings were only $5 for 8 wines, and they were so good we came home with 4 bottles. The people were very nice and the grounds were beautiful. They said they host a lot of weddings there, and I can see why.
Are there vineyards near where you live? Which gardens inspire you?