Erika, Christian and Finley returned yesterday from what sounds like an absolutely lovely vacation in Louisville, Kentucky with his parents and his oldest sister and her family. Finley got to spend time with her California grandparents and her Illinois aunt, uncle and cousins. I hear she and the cousins hit it off especially well!
It was pretty quiet around the house without the three of them, but I got out and did some fun things. I went to lunch with a couple of new friends, went to a very small, but interesting Culpeper museum, spent some time at the Fauquier University Extension office finding out about the Master Gardener program I'm thinking about taking, and I got the oil in my car changed! But the highlight of the week was my trip out to James Madison's Montpelier.
Erika and I visited the property a few years ago when the process of returning the mansion itself to its state during Colonial times had just been completed. (The Foundation removed 80 years of additions that had been made by the DuPont family while they owned the property.) The rooms were empty and some of them were not yet painted. Now, all the rooms are painted, papered and paneled as they would have been during Madison's time, as well as decorated with significant amounts of furniture -- including some owned by Madison, some period antiques and some reproductions.
I took two tours -- one a general, introductory tour and the other "Dolley Madison and the Women of Montpelier." I was the ONLY person on the Dolley Madison tour and I had a grand time having the guide all to myself! Photography isn't allowed in the mansion and I didn't think to take photos of the grounds except for these three photos of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
I've fallen in love with the Blue Ridge. We can see the mountains in the distance everywhere we go around this area and quite nicely from the front porch and second floor of Erika's and Christian's house. When the weather is just right, we can even see them from the front yard (see that blue ridge -- ahem -- just above the trees?
It's fun to think that we have a view fit for one of the Founding Fathers!