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Continuing the recent theme of places not on everybody’s must see list, today we visit Montpelier, the home of James Madison in Orange Virginia. Not quite in Northern Virginia as the previous two historic sites, being only 2 hours from Washington it is still an easy place to visit. As with the previous posts I will let their own web-site, which has a lot more information than I have extracted, provide the basic information:
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Orange, Virginia, Montpelier was the lifelong home of James Madison. Madison was raised at Montpelier, lived here after his marriage to Dolley, returned here after his presidency, and died here in his study surrounded by the books and papers that marked so much of his life’s work. It was at Montpelier where Madison researched past democracies and conceived of the system of government that became our republic.
The Montpelier estate features the Madison mansion, historic buildings, exhibits, archaeological sites, gardens, forests, hands-on activities, a new Visitor Center, and a freedman’s cabin and farm. Here, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you can spend an hour or two—or a day or two—strolling the grounds, picnicking, and learning more about the man whose contemporaries called “Father of the Constitution,” and the woman who inspired the title “First Lady.”
Since 2004 the Montpelier mansion has been undergoing a massive restoration to return it to the home that James and Dolley knew and loved.
The external restoration is complete but inside there are still many rooms awaiting furnishings although the decor is complete. The exterior of the mansion, the outbuildings and a wonderful walled garden offer the best photographic opportunities.