What better way to spend Independence Day weekend than checking out James Madison's restored home. We will avoid the holiday beach traffic by heading west to Orange, Virginia in the beautiful rolling countryside north of Charlottesville.
MONTPELIER was home to President James Madison, “Father of the Constitution” and Dolley Madison, America’s First Lady. It was here at Montpelier where James Madison first imagined the Constitution, spending six months in his upstairs library researching governments, organizing his thoughts into what he believed were the ideal principles for a representative democracy. Madison’s ideas would become the “Virginia Plan,” and later the framework for the Constitution. With the $18 entrance fee visitors receive a 15 min. introductory film, a 35 min. guided tour of the Madison mansion, and a self-guided tour of the mansion's second floor exhibits, cellars, gardens, grounds, the duPont Formal Garden, South Yard slave quarters, cemeteries, forest trails, and more.
We should arrive at Montpelier at about 9:30 AM. At 12:30 we will meet back at the Visitor's Center and drive into the charming town of Orange to look around and get some lunch or ice cream. We'll start at the Historic Orange Train Station and Visitor's Bureau. We will leave Orange by 4:00 PM and arrive back in Richmond by 5.
Tons of information at the Montpelier website: http://www.montpelier.org/visit
I also highly recommend watching this 90 minute PBS American Experience film about Dolly Madison. It is the perfect introduction to a visit to Montpelier and one of my all time favorite American Experience shows. http://www.imdb.com/video/hulu/vi88513561/?ref_=tt_wb_hulu