Feeling Wanderlustful

Dec. 30, 2012, Montpelier

Dec. 30, 2012, Montpelier backyard

As you might have guess from my previous blog (An Imagined Travel Adventure), I’m feeling a little wanderlustful. Yes, I know I just got back from a lovely week in the Midwest with my family, but I’m feeling very in the mood for a fun new adventure.

So after feeling ennui since my plane touched down in DC, I realized it’s been awhile since I’ve gone off on a day adventure.

Today, I decided to change that.

I don’t know anything about James Madison. But I decided today to go see his house. It’s in the process of being restored back to the way it was when James and Dolley moved back to Montpelier after his retirement. In addition to the Madison family, the plantation was also home to more than a hundred slaves. After James died, Dolley eventually sold the land and house to support herself.

The grounds are beautiful, and the house overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s obvious why Madison’s father built the house right where it is.

Blue Ridge Mountains from the front porch at Montpelier

Blue Ridge Mountains from the front porch at Montpelier

The house itself was smaller than I expected. In the drawing room, you can see both the front and back lawns from the same spot. Apparently Dolley used to host parties there and open all the doors so that people could wander all over the grounds.

I would like to go back when it’s a little warmer out to wander around the grounds a little more. The gardens are clearly beautiful, but they were rather dry and brown at the moment. It continues to shock me how green Virginia stays throughout the winter.

The best part of the whole day was being stopped by a delightful old man who worked for years as a journalist all over the world. He and his wife retired to Virginia, and they restored an old house only an hour or so from Montpelier. He was thrilled to learn that I was also a journalist, and I’m sad I only got to talk to him for a few minutes. I wanted to ask him about his time working in Southeast Asia, about working in Washington. Unfortunately, the tour was about to star, and I had to go if I wasn’t going to miss the introductory video.

Now that I’m back in Warrenton, I’m still feeling wanderlustful, but I’m happy to be back to searching out adventures. They keep me feeling fresh and interested in the world around me when I’m always looking for a new place to visit and new things to learn and new people with whom I can talk.

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