Robert (gurdonark) wrote,


Today we rushed from a late start in the Virginia DC suburbs onto the freeway and then onto winding, wooded country roads to Montpelier, the
home of President James Madison and his wife Dolley. We rushed because I read in the Washington Post that they were having a garden tour starting at 2 p.m., and we started late because we liked to visit our DC friends.

When we arrived, slightly after 2, for the garden walk,our guide, a retired schoolteacher named Ms. Sallie Brown, sat on a shaded park bench, as we were the only visitors taking the tour. She showed us the trees dating from the 18th Century owners, the Madisons, and the 20th Century owners, the DuPonts. They had a lot of coniferous trees which are quite rare here, such a Spanish firs, and a cool vista of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ms. Brown knew the genus and species of everything.
Then we toured the house, which has scaffolding all over it, as it is being downsized from DuPont size to Madison size. We liked the little Dolley anecdotes, such as her preference for oyster ice cream, and I felt a pang of sympathy, across the years, that her son from her first marriage,coupled with her lavish entertainment style, drove the family into poverty after her husband died.

We ate a great meal in Orange, at a restaurant in an old silk factory.
Then we wandered around until at long length we found our place on the lake. It's very nice, and now we are watching the movie "Woodstock" on the kind of large screen TV we would never want in our own home.

Tomorrow, some work calls, and then the free time begins in utter earnest.

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