Take Me Home, Country Roads, was not playing on the radio thankfully!
The gloomiest day is always that last day of vacation. Clothes, souvenirs, and memories are all packed away, and the exuberance of hitting the road to go somewhere fun and exotic is replaced with crappy fountain drinks at dirty gas stations and trying to find the cure for white line fever. Never fear, though, Miss Madison and I had one last caper up our sleeves before we were welcomed back to our happy Hoosier home in Indiana.
How cute, we’ve started our own sand collection!
After making sure the plumbing wasn’t overflowing in our hotel room, we were out the door to tour our second university campus of the week. We drove around the William & Mary campus while in Williamsburg, and, this time, we were going to make sure the kids were hitting their books at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and maybe snap a picture or two of what is rumored to be one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country.
Not the best representation of the campus, but in my defense we were driving.
I will say it is quite impressive to see with the Jeffersonian architecture (Thomas Jefferson founded it after all) everywhere, but I’m still a homer for the Indiana University campus though! I will say either campus makes Purdue look like a used brick symposium! Festive campus atmosphere, and the trees were in full bloom. I inquired with some local co-eds about a talent shoot I was putting together, and in an unrelated note, I’ve been eating through a straw since then. #dontdateakickboxer Just kidding, of course, but if you are in the Charlottesville area (and you should be—cool city), drop on in to the University of Virginia.
Unbeknownst to Miss Madison, I woke up a tad earlier than her that day and had a little Ferdinand Magellan running through my veins and poked around town for a bit. I found the Pedestrian Mall as a reward for my efforts! This was “neato mosquito” from the moment I laid eyes on it! Gave the place a quick once over and decided to go alert Miss Madison of my new find. Unlike Magellan, I didn’t have a flag to plant, and this place made me pay for parking!
Very charming area, literally blocks from campus.
Let’s break this picture down frame by frame. First off, they have a Freedom of Speech wall—just put it out there and let it flow. You bring the chalk, and Charlottesville lets you get it off your chest! Not sure of the crime rate in the region, but I have a feeling it’s better than most. It’s cleaned weekly, and if you decide to express yourself with colorful phrases such as “Duck Hue Witch,” they will quickly be expunged off.
Three Notch’d road was well named before the punctuation police got a hold of this person. It’s the “road” that runs through the foot mall so named for it being a route many moons ago for passage west through the Virginia mountainside.
Ten Thousand Villages is a good place for a guy to go buy a treasure map and then spend the rest of the day looking for said treasure no matter where it leads, because your girl isn’t coming out of this place anyway before you get back. Hopefully you found the missing treasure, because you are going to need it after watching your significant other go on and on about all the clearance deals they have. Hey, one item cost 60.00 bucks, but 26 items costs only $69.32, hell yes we are money ahead! Did you buy the dust buster to clean all this stuff up in three months? I kid because I care; Miss Madison obviously loved this place and is now on the mailing list!
I’m a sucker for vintage photos of any old school downtown theaters and the Paramount was no exception, a quick view of the upcoming events and it sounds like the perfect date night for any aspiring UVA student to take his young Cavalier lass out on a date. Just last Friday, they were showing the original Die Hard. If bullets, Hans freaking Gruber, and Bruce Willis when he still had his fastball doesn’t get your date “in the mood,” you better head across the street to the art gallery with her pronto!
This couch was neat, about all I can say about that. The art gallery that it stood in front of was…. interesting to say the least. The name escapes me, but when you hear one of the artists who had a whole hand-crafted walking stick collection mention that one of his particular sticks had a “sexy top” to another patron you can’t help but to wonder if cannabis is legal in Virginia, or at the very least a little too much Kahlua in his coffee.
The twinkle in Miss Madison’s eyes told me only one thing—off to see the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, or head off to Mr. Jefferson’s abode of Monticello! To anybody that is going to traverse the Virginia countryside to visit this American treasure, grab lunch at the area Applebee’s and thank me later. The Milchie is a restored tavern that is a tourist trap from the word go. The employees in costume are great, the lanterns and the 18th century replica dishware is commendable, the food overpriced and nothing more than a fried chicken buffet! Whoever works in the marketing department for this place deserved 25 different awards for roping us into eating there after reading about it online.
Felt like 2016 while I was there, not 1805!
Monticello is neat, it’s definitely historic, and unfortunately not run by the National Parks service. They literally skin you alive to tour the grounds! The gift shop alone must turn a 12 figure revenue stream; Jefferson was an avid gardener, and for 19.95 you can purchase the seeds of the plants he grew. No thanks, Jefferson Foundation, if I want to grow cucumbers I’m pretty sure for 19.95 I’m getting enough seeds to get on Vlassic’s radar! Jefferson was a man of the people; he has to be rolling in his grave to an earthquake level proportion if he knew the carnage his good name is being cashed in on! Two other gripes I have about the place, no photography in the mansion itself because of some silly ownership rules of the contents. Also, pack each tour group with 30-35 folks, and you are threatened by penalty of death if you would so much as bump into anything. Each room is partitioned off very tightly, and I’m thankful I went in March and not during body odor season as that house has to reek of body funk after spending all day in the hot Virginia sun in the summer! Literally you are packed in there like sardines.
I ruled out the graveyard, but everywhere else was fair game on Sally Hemings!
Petty details though, as the grounds of Monticello are beautiful. The actual tour of the house itself was phenomenal, as nearly 90% of the contents are original. Jefferson was clearly a man that unquestionably had to be the smartest man in the room anytime he was in a crowd. The neatest thing I enjoyed was his own polygraph he invented that would copy his words on a document he penned. Of course, me being Mr. Skipah the residential smart ass, I had to ask Miss Madison in every place we visited there, “Do you think he fornicated with Sally Hemings here?” That joke never got old (Miss Madison will disagree), but the man took the most meticulous notes on how many ears of corn he had on any given day! No mention of Miss Hemings and the dirty? I found that rather peculiar.
It was all in good fun, and I actually hate that this tainted his legacy at all. It was in a different era, and he had already been widowed, so I’m not throwing the adultery tag on him. Really the only bitch I would have after this trip about Jefferson was his complete hypocrisy towards slavery, but the hypocrisy and political seeds were sewn long before I ever walked on these hallowed grounds. The man had a vision, that is for sure, and authored the Declaration of Independence at the tender age of 33! I’m 39 and have trouble coming up with 1000 words for a blog post some nights, let alone the pressure of shaping a new country!
Chalk the waterfall up to going the wrong way after leaving a gas station, I always get a kick out of the gold dome on the capital building in West Virginia.
I was never happier to see the Welcome to Kentucky sign than I was when I crossed into the Bluegrass state at Ashland, Kentucky and knew we were within striking distance of getting home. This guy had to actually work the next day and we didn’t get in until 1:00 a.m. local time.
If this many selfies of me doesn’t break the internet, I guess we will have to wait for the next Trump press conference!
Not pictured, the shitty selfies in various gas stations and other places we traversed that week. A blast for sure and can’t wait for our next trip to Door County, Wisconsin this summer. Even Sloane is chomping at the bit to go back during the warmer months this year. If you have read the whole Eastern Seaboard Episodes I hope I portrayed the areas we covered well enough for you to visit. You want a history lesson, get to Virginia pronto! You want a laid back beach vacation, visit the Outer Banks as soon as you can! You want to sit in traffic, take a Naval soldier a care package and stop in Norfolk for a bit.
About it for now, I’ve been away but the business is still booming! I’m so backed up on email right now I would need the Roto-Rooter platinum package to get free from it. For all my fun with Sloane followers, it’s not going to be until the second weekend in April before she and I are reunited again, but never fear Miss Madison and her trusty steed are working on a plan to make this one unforgettable summer for her and the Miss Madison troopers!