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Surrounded by central Virginia’s unceasing beauty and history, yesterday’s outing is worth sharing.

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from Montpelier’s front porch, one feels as though she could take flight. This same view has inspired visitors since the early 18th century.

During unsettling times, strolling amongst history strengthens, grounds, and renews one’s spirit. The month of December, many historic homes in central Virginia open their doors to the public in celebration of the season.

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simple ornamentation prevails during the Christmas season at Montpelier

Yesterday I returned to Montpelier, the former home of James and Dolley Madison (James was our third US president, a leader in our first congress, who introduced the Bill of Rights, helping shape the new government.)

The home is sited perfectly with uplifting views from every window.  Merely thirty miles from my home, Montpelier transports every visitor to times when our forefathers worked the land, created our nation, and and left a profound legacy.

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the front of the historic home whose land was originally acquired by James’ grandfather in 1723

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the back lawn of Montpelier

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the south end of the main house; it’s elegant simplicity speaks volumes

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an exterior detail with copper gutters and handsome brick wall

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off in the distance, a glimpse of Mr. Madison’s temple…formerly used as an icehouse

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following recent, arduous archaeological digs in the South Yard, slaves quarters and other dependencies are being recreated near the main house.

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I could not resist capturing how the sun played with this timber frame structure; a “duplex” that shares a central chimney.

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the nearby walled garden invites the visitor to ponder and stroll, as perhaps President Madison once did

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the narrow gravel path is embraced by tightly shorn boxwood hedges

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Dawn cedar, Metasequoia sheds for the upcoming dormant season.

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one of a pair of magnificent marble lions added to the terraced gardens during William and Annie duPont’s ownership of Montpelier c. 1901

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inside the walled gardens, the season brings on a graceful dormancy where quiet prevails

Montpelier was also the home to generations of enslaved families who toiled to ensure that the house ran smoothly and the hundreds of acres remained profitable. As many as 110 slaves worked at Montpelier at any given time. We must not forget the profound sacrifices these families made during the shaping of the United States of America.

To learn much more please visit Montpelier’s web site at www.montpelier.org

As I prepare for my dormant season, I reflect on a productive year, and wish for a safe and warm holiday season to all my readers. As always, I look forward to your comments.

Copyright © 2015 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved