Yesterday I took a class to Montecello and Montpelier. What inspirational homes! While the tour of Montecello was more like a forced march, "Come along! We have another group behind us!" it was still enjoyable. My students were fascinated by the alcove beds, the polygraph machine which created duplicates of handwritten documents, and the gardens. We were all inspired by the lovely vegetable garden, which although it was being put to bed, was still striking. Full of old fashioned veggies, the garden was so well maintained and organized, I wanted to come home and till under everything in my yard and redo it all!
And, we won't even discuss the flower gardens! So lovely! So many old varieties were in residence in the garden. We walked, compared and took a ton of photos. I was impressed that students wanted to "take a picture to show my Mom!" of the gardens. No wonder I love this class so much! They are great!
The point of the day was to learn more about how that sense of place informs our understanding of the literature we are reading in "Women in Literature." While Montecello is more about Mr. Jefferson, Montpelier is all about Dolley Madison. I would have loved to have known her! What a personality and such energy! Did you know that she had a special seat in Congress throughout her life so that she could come and observe the goings on? And, were you aware that she instituted the Inaugural Ball and the White House Easter Egg Roll?
Perhaps the most surprising discovery of the day was that my students, by and large, and never traveled in their own state! They knew little of the history of the people who were national leaders nor about their lives! What a great experience to hear on the drive home that, "This was cool! Can we do another trip?" And, btw, they are COLLEGE students! Isn't this just too wonderful?
Do you travel in your own state? Do you know about your state's history?