Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ash Lawn-Highland

After a filling and fun lunch at Michie Tavern where they serve a time period-esque southern buffet, we decided to go to the home of James Monroe: Ash Lawn-Highland.

This house is a stark contrast to Montpelier and Monticello.  They refer to the house as a "cabin castle" because of it's quaint outside but ornate, French decorated inside.  It was really quite charming. 

James Monroe, unlike Madison and Jefferson, did not die in debt.  He sold this home a few years before he died.  With that money and a grant he obtained from the government, Monroe was able to pay of his debts, most of which were incurred while he was in government office.   Because he died solvent about 80% of the items in the home are his, most of which are on loan from Monroe's decedents, as opposed to Madison and Jefferson whose belongs were all sold in order to pay for their debts after their deaths and have been scattered to the wind.  Interesting.

Attached to the side of the "Cabin Castle" is an old Victorian home.  At one point the owners decided to open the property to the public, moved their family into the top story of the Victorian and used the main floor as a gallery (much like it is today) and allowed visitors to tour the home.  Now that is dedication to sharing our history!
As you look from the Victorian you see this old brick path flanked by bushes that leads to a large statue of Monroe.  It was quite charming and the boys loved to run along it.

Yep, I was there.  Those are my toes.

This little lady was so well behaved throughout the house tours.  By the end of the trip the poor girl was dying to just get down and crawl around on the floor. She was such an adorable trooper that would melt down when strangers paid any attention to her (sorry waiters at all the restaurants).

 Beautiful old white oak tree behind the cabin-castle/to the side of the Victorian.  The tour guide said it was over 200 years old which means it was there when Monroe was!

I had to take a picture of this little guy.  It's a furry little caterpillar.   As we were driving down to Virginia we could see dozens of these working to cross the road.  They were also all over the place on the grounds of the houses.  The boys would always stop and watch them for a bit and wish them luck on their travels (we also saw many that hadn't made it)!

There were also some animals on the property.  We went for a little walk to find the chickens and the lone, sad peacock (his ladies having recently become victim to a coyote).  We walked a bit further and I got some cute pics of my adorable family.  I'll share those in the next post.

1 comment:

Tara said...

Wooly bear caterpillars turn into Isabella Tiger moths. They are my boy's favorite!