30 October 2012


Last week while the weather was still nice the girls and I went to Montpelier for a visit. Sweet Pea is studying American history this year and just finished studying about James Madison. She was also reading about the War of 1812 and I was torn, deciding between going to Montpelier or Ft. McHenry. While I really wanted to head to Ft. McHenry (and have for several years), Montpelier won out since we had to be home for dance classes in the late afternoon and the traffic getting back from Baltimore may have been an issue. We'll save that for a nice Saturday sometime.

Montpelier was really nice. The day was beautiful, it was not crowded at all, and we enjoyed walking around the grounds when our house tour was finished. James Madison's grandfather first settled the land there when it was on the frontier of Virginia. His father built the original house there, which James and Dolley lived in. The land was sold after he died and Dolley was mostly living in Washington, DC. The duPont family bought the mansion in the early 1900s and did some major remodeling to both the house and the grounds. The house has been restored to how it looked when the Madisons lived there and they're working on gathering period furnishings. The race track that the duPonts put in remains in front of the home and the 78th Montpelier Hunt Races take place this weekend.

 View of the front of Montpelier.
 View from the front porch, the race track is in the distance. The property is still 2,500+ acres.
Madison's Temple, located to the left of the mansion. Below it is the ice house. Madison sat here and "contemplated democracy."