Info for RVers...

Click pic to go Home
...from a fulltime RVer
Charlottesville, VA - Monticello
September, 2007

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Virginia Pages

Virginia Index

Blue Ridge Parkway

Private RV Parks:
  Meadows of Dan
  Charlottesville area
    RV Parks

Charlottesville and

Shenandoah NP
  Road Scenes

Public Campgrounds:
  Northwest River Park

Other Attractions:
VA Creeper Trail
  DC Ducks Tour
    (Washington, DC)

RV Services:
  Rogers Fleet Service

I decided to spend the two months between my tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway (coming north in summer and going south in the fall) in Charlottesville. I figured I'd be able to get legal assistant work there and it's also close to Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive which I'd already fallen in love with. I never found temp work that paid enough to make it worthwhile, so thank God my virtual assistant lawyers had enough work to keep me busy and in gas money. The extra free time did give me great chances to explore Charlottesville and Shenandoah and I really enjoyed my time here.

Charlottesville's Downtown Mall

Visitor's Center
605 East Main Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902
(434) 970-3333

Tip: Parking on the street isn't the easiest thing to find, so if you park at the garage, be sure to stop at the Visitor's Center at one end of the mall and get your ticket stamped for 2 free hours.
Here's a shot of part of the great historic downtown area. They've turned several blocks into a beautiful pedestrian mall where you can shop in restored buildings, dine al fresco at several outdoor cafes, catch a movie or special performances in quaint old theaters, and just basically enjoy some good-ole' people watching.
At one end of the mall is this tribute to three of our past presidents from Virginia - James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. You'll see their images on signs along the streets directing you to historically significant areas.
Speaking of presidents, when I asked others about "must-see's" to visit while I was in Charlottesville, the most consistent answer I got was "Monticello." Glad I listened to that advice...
Click here to visit Monticello's website

Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway
Charlottesville, VA
(434) 984-9822
After a tour of the house interior (sorry, no pics allowed) you can walk along a path lined with flowers that form a semi-circle around the West Lawn of the house.

Typical of the times, the more functional rooms were built away from the main house. Here at Monticello, the "Dependencies" like the kitchen, storage cellars, cook's room, smokehouse, etc. were designed to keep domestic activities out of sight but with easy access via all-weather passageways.

I was impressed that the view from the Garden Pavillion has remained pristine and undeveloped - this was one of Jefferson's favorite retreats. He kept an eye on the building of the University of Virginia from this vantage point.
After the guided interior tour, you can walk around the grounds at your own pace, including a walk down to his gravesite. But you also have the option for other guided tours, including Mulberry Row, with remains of shops and cabins where slaves lived and worked. Here you can get the scoop on the Sally Hemings' descendants' issue. It was interesting to hear some of the insights into slavery from the man whose draft of the Declaration of Independence stated that "all men are created equal." And how even with hundreds of slaves working Monticello, the plantation was not profitable, leaving him deeply in debt when he died at the age of 83. The love of this land was evident from his writing in 1787, "All my wishes end, where I hope my days will end, at Monticello." His wish fulfilled, he passed here on July 4, 1826 - on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Even though the property had to be sold at auction then, I'm sure he'd be happy to see the preservation and restoration efforts in place today.
And with all the notable achievements of the third President of the United States, what did he want included on his epitaph? Here's what he wrote for his own tombstone:

Malia's 2 cents: There is parking available on site large enough for RVs if you're just passing through, but I'd allow at least 3 hours for the entire tour and to savor all that is offered here. And when you're walking around the pedestrian mall in Charlottesville, try the pizza at Christian's - I followed that advice from a fellow RVer - another great tip!


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