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PinkTulip

Mount Vernon or Monticello?

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If you could only go to one, which would you choose, and why?

 

DH and I are planning a trip to D.C. / Williamsburg for sometime in 2010 (hopefully around Thanksgiving, but might be end of June), and would like to see one of these great historic homes. We'll probably make a day of one or the other on the way from D.C. to Williamsburg.

 

If it helps in your decision, we have 4 boys, ages 12, 10, 8, & 6, and I am very interested in seeing the gardens (hoping to maybe emulate them in some way or another with a potager-type garden at our new house).

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Mount Vernon has an excellent museum on the grounds and would probably be more interesting to your kids. When we went last summer, their was a special tour available that discussed the filming of the movie National Treasure. We also took a tour about slave life on the plantation that included a walk in the gardens. You could easily spend more than a day there.

 

BTW, I loved Monticello (after watching Ken Burns series on TJ) when I finally got to go. I just think of Mount Vernon as more kid-friendly.

 

hth

K

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We didn't get a chance to go to Monticello but we went to Mount Vernon on our RV trip during the month of October. It was wonderful. My kids, 12 and 9, loved it. They liked it more than D.C. We spent the whole day there. The National Treasure tour, if you have seen the movie, actually even if you haven't, its great.

 

Have a great trip. We can't wait to go again.

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Both are wonderful, but Mount Vernon is about 30 minutes south of D.C, really in the direction of Williamsburg. Monticello is a little over 2 hours southwest of D.C. and it then would take 2 hours to get to Williamsburg from there. It would take about 2 1/2 hours to get from Monticello to Williamsburg. Of course as with all things in northern VA, it depends on the traffic.

 

HTH,

Mary

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If you could only go to one, which would you choose, and why?

 

DH and I are planning a trip to D.C. / Williamsburg for sometime in 2010 (hopefully around Thanksgiving, but might be end of June), and would like to see one of these great historic homes. We'll probably make a day of one or the other on the way from D.C. to Williamsburg.

 

If it helps in your decision, we have 4 boys, ages 12, 10, 8, & 6, and I am very interested in seeing the gardens (hoping to maybe emulate them in some way or another with a potager-type garden at our new house).

 

Both my daughters just visited both homes in September and Monticello would be both of their choices. Monticello was more artistic and beautiful than MV and Jefferson himself was fascinating to them. I was surprised at how "practical" MV was compared with Monticello and much less beautiful to look at (at least in the pictures I saw!) As Washington was more interested in function, this was reflected in his home. Monticello was much more cosmopolitan and beautiful in more than one way because Jefferson loved beauty and books and his home reflects that. I think it will depend on what you and yours are interested in seeing. If I had to choose one, it would definitely be Monticello based on all my dds have said and shown me in their pictures. The gardens are worth the time alone!

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I liked Monticello better and the gardens are definitely more fun. We even bought a few packets of Monticello heirloom seeds in the gift shop which was great. Our kids were too small when we went (age 4) to remember much of it.

 

Mount Vernon is great too with a really nice museum and our kids really enjoyed it. The nice thing from a time and transportation standpoint is that you can take the subway and bus to Mt Vernon. It was quite easy and made it really nice because the driving around D.C. is a drag. The bus ride is just a short one on a regular city bus. Total journey from the Smithsonian area was maybe 1/2 hr to 45 min.

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We were at Monticello last spring, I took my daughters then 10 & 7. Here is what we liked:

 

tour of the house (the woman talked to the girls a lot during the tour, especially once she found out they were home schooled, she talked about Jeffersons ideas on children, education etc.)

 

the gardens were lovely

 

EVERYTHING under the house.

 

the cemetery (both where Jefferson is buried and where slaves were buried)

we had studied American history all year, it really made an impact to see where he is buried.

 

http://www.monticello.org/visit/kids.html

 

Here is where we stayed, that was a treat as well.

http://www.dinsmorehouse.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1

I think the builder of this house helped build Monticello as well.

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I think that ultimately Mount Vernon is better organized as a fun but educational trip for the kids. There are more activities and such for them to do. Before you go there are some activities and lesson plans on their website. While you are there be sure to stop by the visitors desk before you enter the grounds. They have special activities for kids and both my kids completed the Cub/Girl Scouts Historical Trail Patches. (Info at the same desk and the patches available at the gift shop-there are 6 different ones.) My kids didn't have their uniforms the day we were there--they didn't have the reduced ticket offer at the time but they also didn't refuse the kids the opportunity to complete the scouting trail.

 

Scouting Trail

 

Scout Booklet

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Doesn't answer your question, but for those interested in Monticello, I recommend visiting Poplar Forest as well:

http://www.poplarforest.org/

 

It's not as "nice" (complete, finished, full of TJ's stuff) as Monticello, but it is such a beautiful place and I actually felt I learned more there than at Monticello. (My husband and I visited both on our honeymoon.)

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Doesn't answer your question, but for those interested in Monticello, I recommend visiting Poplar Forest as well:

http://www.poplarforest.org/

 

It's not as "nice" (complete, finished, full of TJ's stuff) as Monticello, but it is such a beautiful place and I actually felt I learned more there than at Monticello. (My husband and I visited both on our honeymoon.)

 

Poplar Forest is lovely! Because it tends to be overlooked in most history books, it isn't as commercially driven as Monticello or Mount Vernon. So the focus there is on the history, rather than the historical image. Does that make sense?

 

-Robin

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Poplar Forest is lovely! Because it tends to be overlooked in most history books, it isn't as commercially driven as Monticello or Mount Vernon. So the focus there is on the history, rather than the historical image. Does that make sense?

 

-Robin

 

Yes, exactly, Robin. I would say that anyone interested in archaeology would also have a great time at Poplar Forest. (See here: http://www.poplarforest.org/archaeology)

 

I'd never been to either Monticello or Poplar Forest before. After our trip, I felt like going to Monticello once was enough (I'd never need to go again unless we took our children to Virginia), but I would love to return to Poplar Forest again and again, because it would be a different experience every time (with the archaeology, additional work on exhibits, etc.)

 

If you take a trip to Poplar Forest, you'll learn about Jefferson's design techniques. I love that they left rooms unfinished (see the middle picture here http://www.poplarforest.org/retreat/restoration/interpretation) so that you can better see how they were made.

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Doesn't answer your question, but for those interested in Monticello, I recommend visiting Poplar Forest as well:

http://www.poplarforest.org/

 

It's not as "nice" (complete, finished, full of TJ's stuff) as Monticello, but it is such a beautiful place and I actually felt I learned more there than at Monticello. (My husband and I visited both on our honeymoon.)

 

As some one who helped work on the excavations at Poplar Forest years ago, I have to agree!

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