MLK Quote

MLK Quote

Nature's Inspiration Movie -- Nature's Inspiration Movie: The photographs in this short video are from award-winning photographer, Ken Jenkins, and they are breathtaking. However, this video is much more than beautiful photographs! Peggy Anderson has compiled beautiful quotations from the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and many others that truly capture the beauty of nature and solitude. Absolute must watch for nature lovers.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Montecello and Rural North Virginia

For the thanksgiving break, we went to stay in a cabin in the wilderness of North Virginia. The cabin was surrounded by farms, wineries, orchards and vineyards. It was also close to Charlottesville, Virginia and homes of many of the US Presidents like Jefferson, Monroe, Adams. So, we visited Montecello (the home of Thomas Jefferson), various art museums and studios in Charlottesville, and tasted true apple cider and wine. Here are all the pictures from the tour with description underneath. The tours and the vacation was a delight for us gardeners -- seing all the farms and orchards and visiting Jefferson's famous garden (which is still in existence) in Montecello.

The road to the cottage in the first picture; second picture shows inside the cottage. It was a cute, little cottage made of woods. It had two bedrooms -- one with a queen sized bed; the other two bunk beds; the sofa in the sitting area was also a sofa-cum-bed; thus, six people were allowed to live in that cottage. We were only a group of three two-legged people and two four-legged people. The third picture shows the view outside the cottage.

The area is surrounded by vineyards, orchards, farms, meadows, woods, dancing spring and rolling greens. It sits in the lap of the Blue Ridge Appalachian Mountain. These places are not famous touristy places of the US, but they are the jewels tucked away into the middle of nowhere in the country. One would go to these places to revive one's soul, to be one with nature, to contemplate and think. The places have the magical touch of turning anyone into a philosopher or an artist.

I never liked alcohols. But visiting all the orchards and vineyards and tasting real apple cider and wine has made me appreciate those tastes. The first picture shows one of the vineyard; my prized possession of a desert wine in the second picture. The whole area is dotted with gorgeous farm houses, fences and farm-animals, spread across the vista (third picture). The farmers there seem to be quite rich as the houses were majestic.

One of the highlight of the vacation was visiting Monticello. I always wanted to see the place as I heard so much about Jefferson's gardening skills. A statue of President Jefferson in the first picture. His famous residence in Monticello. One can a take tour inside the house and get to see his many collections -- books, instruments, pictures and other artifacts; get to see his study, the study-table and chairs he used and the bed where he slept; besides, one get to see other artifacts and musical instruments that his family used. His garden is now taken care of by the Garden Club of Virginia.

Small gardens, like the one in the first picture, exists in many places in the property. Apparently, such gardens existed during Jefferson's time and he used to do lots of gardening in such smaller plots around the property. The second picture shows that of the fish pond where fish caught from big rivers or oceans were put there unless it was time to catch them again for food. A view of the big garden plot (the main one) in Monticello.

I am amazed by the pepper variety in the first picture. It's called Texas Bird Pepper. The temperature outside was freezing and have been freezing like that for quite a while, with temperature being in middle and upper 30's. The plants seem to be still alive then in that temperature; it didn't have any leaves but were full of these tiny peppers. And, they were hot as hell!!! A beautiful cabbage in a big cabbage plot. A row of argula in the third picture. The argula tasted really hot and spicy.

Architectural ruin in the first picture. This chimney and foundation are all that remains of a "joiner's shop." From about 1775, free and enslaved craftsmen produced some of the finest woodwork in Virginia here in this joiner's shop. It is located along the famous Mulberry Row -- it was the row where the slaves lived and had all their workshops, shops, buildings. It's an architectural treasure-trove site now as lots and lots of artifacts are found, whenever the place is excavated; the artifacts belonged to the free and not-free slaves that lived and worked in the mulberry row. The graveyard in Monticello where Jefferson is buried. The two pictures tell the history of the place and people who are buried there. If you plan to visit Monticello, be prepared to spend a day or more there -- the whole place is a museum with huge amount of information spread around. You have to see the Residence, the garden, the ground, the exhibition, Mulberry Row, the wine-cellar, beer-cellar, slaves dwellings, privies, places where horses were kept, ice-room, smoke-house and the list continues. You not only have to see all these but read all the information given and take pictures. So, come ready with good pair of shoes and time in your hand to see, learn, wander around and ponder.

We also visited Charlottesville, a quaint little old town in Virginia reeking with history. Apparently it and the Piedmont Valley in Virginia has very vibrating art-culture which some claim even surpasses that of Big Apple. So, we visited one such art-gallery. The second picture is from the art-gallery. We also visited an art-gallery devoted to the art work of Aboriginals of Australia. The third picture shows an art-work done by an Aboriginal artist. All the various forms and symbols used in this art-work actually has meanings. It can almost be read like a language.

Our cottage in the wood. The frozen sedum-leaves in ground. Does this come any surprise to you all gardeners that I ended up buying seeds, plants (two kinds of Hellebores) and bulbs from the Monticello garden-store. All these plants, bulbs and seeds have heritage as these were also planted by Thomas Jefferson.

I want to link this post to Nature Notes hosted by Rambling Woods. The place was a nature lover's paradise. So, here at the end I post pictures of a friend that I saw there. I think this is a mocking-bird. I see them here in NJ during the Spring and Summer. You know that winter is ending and spring is here when you see these birds jumping around in the yard, fleeting from one tree to another, singing happily. So, I was pleasantly surprised and happy to see them in Virginia. Does that mean that they leave the winter of NJ and migrate to Virginia during winter? That's so incredible and mind-boggling as I would have thought that they would go to much further south instead of just going some thousand miles away. The bird was not at all scared of us and was happily posing for us.


  1. Thanks for sharing these fascinating photos. And looks like you all had a fab thanksgiving holiday!

  2. Wow, what a great place to visit. The cabin is nice and has a great view! I have always wanted to visit Monticello. The Mocking bird is a year round bird for most of the east coast. Wonderful photos and post.

  3. What a lovely place for a vacation!

  4. I live in northern VA and love Monticello. :o) I hope you were able to take some of our wonderful wines home with you. Monticello is amazing in the spring/summer. It's worth a trip back.

  5. What a wonderful trip...I have always wanted to visit have given me even more reasons to visit.

  6. President Jefferson... oh so cool! The vineyard is mesmerizing... wish to be at one one day :-D You have a great holiday!

  7. Thank you for sharing.
    Made me remember some of the scenaries similar to Adelaide.