Sunday, February 28, 2016

What's Goin' On in April: Visit Morven Estate During Historic Garden Week

Besides Thomas Jefferson's birthday (April 13th), a celebrated spring event here is Historic Garden Week, which begins April 23rd and runs through April 30th.  Sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia, Garden Week gives the public a rare opportunity to visit and enjoy some of our Commonwealth's most beautiful and elegant gardens, homes and historic landmarks.  The house and gardens at one of our favorite historic estates, Morven, will be open on Saturday, April 23rd from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Now owned and beautifully preserved by the University of Virginia Foundation,  Morven was originally part of a 1730 land grant from the King of England to the Carter family.  In 1795 Thomas Jefferson purchased Morven for his "adoptive son", Col. William Short, who had served him as his personal secretary when Jefferson was Minister to France from 1782 to 1789.    The house located on the property was started in 1820, and has undergone several additions and restorations.  In 1929, Morven's spectacular gardens appeared in the first Historic Garden Week, and have been a local feature since then.  Morven is located just a few minutes' drive from Monticello and Ashlawn-Highland, so you can see 3 famous late 18th-century, early 19th-century homes and learn about their past owners in the course of a full day.  If you can't make it to Morven then, there are some other great Charlottesville-area homes and gardens open for tours during Garden Week.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Irish Are Coming, the Irish Are Coming!!!

On September 12th, UVA plays its first home game of the 2015 season against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.  Forget that Notre Dame is ranked in the Top 10 in many preseason polls.  Forget that UVA's last 2 home openers, both against preseason Top 10 teams (Oregon in 2013 and UCLA in 2014), resulted in bitter, and in the game against Oregon, lopsided defeats.  We UVA football fans have learned to live with adversity, and as we always say, "this year will be different."  We are eternal optimists.

Whether the 'Hoos win or lose, if you just love the atmosphere that is college football, come out to Scott Stadium for a game, and then stay at The Inn at Monticello.  The 'Hoos play 7 home games this fall, against some of the toughest opponents (like Notre Dame) in the nation.  Should be exciting, to say the least.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Inn's Antique Bed

We love antiques that have colorful
stories behind them.  Sometime in the late 18th - early 19th century, a craftsman from the Valley Forge, Pennsylvania area made the tiger maple bed that graces one of our rooms. According to a farmer in the community of Sandy Spring, Maryland, who sold it to Carolyn's mom, the bed was a gift from the Valley Forge Ironmaster to his granddaughter for her wedding. The bed had been in the farmer's family for generations, and had been stored, unused, for many years. Carolyn's mom cleaned it up a bit and placed it in the master bedroom of her family's 1789 home.  In 1971, she began designing and stitching the hangings that now adorn the bed.  It was a labor of love that took her 15 years to complete, and it chronicles her family's life in Chicago, Sandy Spring, and Coudersport, Pennsylvania.  Carolyn's mom gave the bed to us shortly after we moved to Charlottesville.  If you decide to stay with us, ask about this beautiful antique bed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Jefferson's Excellent French B&B Adventure and Wine Tour

Thomas Jefferson served as the U. S. Minister to France from 1784 to 1789, succeeding Benjamin Franklin.  In 1787, he set out on a 3 month journey through France and northern Italy.  Traveling as a private citizen, he tried to meet the people of each region and sample their way of life.  To his friend Lafayette, he wrote about his travels "you must ferret the people out of their hovels as I have done, look into their kettles, eat their bread, loll on their beds under pretence of resting yourself, but in fact to find if they are soft.  You will feel a sublime pleasure in the course of this investigation..."

Jefferson's trip also took him to France's leading wine producing regions.  In May 1787 he visited Bordeaux, where he toured Chateau Haut-Brion and sampled wines from Chateaus Margaux and Lafite.  Before returning to Paris, he ordered 252 bottles of 1784 Haut-Brion from a wine merchant.  When the wine arrived, Jefferson discovered that the merchant had filled the order with bottles of 1784 Chateau Margaux.  Oh well!  No doubt Jefferson and his frequent guests in Paris happily drank the wine anyway.  In May 1788, Jefferson doubled down on 1784 Haut-Brion and ordered another 125 bottles, to be shipped to Monticello.  These never arrived, much to Jefferson's dismay.

Jefferson's travels through France, his interest in wine, and the provenance of a 1787 bottle from Chateau Lafite that fetched $156,000 at a Christie's London auction in 1985 are the subjects of a fascinating book, "The Billionaire's Vinegar" by Benjamin Wallace.  It reads like a detective novel and is the basis for an upcoming movie, produced by Will Smith and supposedly starring Brad Pitt.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Our Neighborhood: Willow Lake

This is Willow Lake, a beautiful pond on land adjoining the Inn.  It's about 4-5 acres, and is spring-fed. Until about 40 years ago, the owners of the property used the lake as a watering hole for cattle and livestock.  Now our dog Mikey and his owners think it's a very enjoyable place for walking and taking in the scenery and wildlife.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Heritage Theatre Festival at UVA

From the 2012 Production of "1776"
Since 1974, the University of Virginia has hosted the Heritage Theatre Festival, a collaboration of professional directors, designers, technicians and actors producing summer repertory musicals and plays.  Here is the line-up of shows this season: Irving Berlin's "Annie Get Your Gun" at the Culbreth Theatre, June 27 - July 6; "Red" by John Logan, at the Ruth Caplin Theatre, July 3 - July 13; "Tuna Does Vegas" by Ed Howard, Jaston Williams and Joe Sears, at the Helms Theatre, July 18 - August 3; "The Marvelous Wonderettes, by Roger Bean, at the Caplin Theatre, July 23 - August 3; and "Next to Normal", with music by Tom Kitt, and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, at the Culbreth Theatre, July 25 - August 3.  These productions are fun, well-done, and a great way to spend a summer evening in Charlottesville.  If you plan to stay over after the show, call us about accommodations.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ed Roseberry's UVA and Charlottesville Photographs

Alas, the Biff Burger Restaurant, with its $0.15 burgers, is no more!
You'll enjoy viewing the pictures and a videotaped interview of Ed Roseberry, a 1949 graduate of the University, who thankfully developed an interest in photography during his days as a student.  Now 88 years old, Ed captured a variety of subjects in his black and white images, from Hollywood film stars in town to shoot the movie "Giant", to concerts and big weekends here at UVA.  Many of the buildings and landmarks shown in the photos are still around, and it's interesting to compare the "then" with the "now."  Unfortunately the Biff Burger Restaurant and Carroll's Tea Room were long gone by the time I, Bob, came to Charlottesville.  However, I have fond memories of shopping at Eljo's on the Corner, driving up and down Main Street before it became a pedestrian mall, and eating dinner once at the Gaslight Restaurant.  Thanks to UVA, the Alumni Association, and Messrs. Roseberry and Barefoot for sharing these materials.