Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Four on the Fourth

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a good holiday weekend!  We left Thursday morning to go to Lexington, VA.  When we moved here almost a year ago, we spent the last night on the road in Lexington, and while there for our brief stay, we learned that that city is the home to the graves of both Stonewall Jackson and Robert E Lee.  They also have some really good antiquing!  Our plan was to drive the 3.5-4 hours to Lexington, spend a night there, visit the graves, do some antiquing, and since it was the Fourth, see fireworks.  The next night, we would be an hour or two closer to home in Charlottesville, where we would visit Monticello, Ash Lawn Highland, and Montpelier.  Monticello was the home of Thomas Jefferson (the third President),  Ash Lawn Highland was the home of James Monroe (the fifth President), and Montpelier was the home of James Madison (the 4th President.)  I had planned on spending two nights in Charlottesville, putting us back home yesterday.  It maybe sounds like an ambitious itinerary, but really, aside from having tickets to Monticello, nothing was "scheduled" so we had a relaxed time and the freedom to decide what to do and when.

We set off and made a stop at a rest area on the other side of Richmond.  I found a brochure for an antique mall that called itself "the largest on the east coast."  It was only 5 miles out of our way, so we decided to stop there.  While having lunch just before, we discussed the probability of that statement being true.  I think I've been to other antique malls around also claiming the same title.  Well, we arrived, and I think they must be the largest!  At least, it was the largest I've ever been too!  We traversed the whole thing and my husband found a treasure that he couldn't live without.  I found three little red chairs, but they all stayed there--they were either not special or too expensive. 

We finished and arrived in Lexington to our hotel.  We rested a bit and then decided to go to the big festival and fireworks.  Lexington was having a hot air balloon rally and there were going to be balloons, a band, food and craft booths, etc. and then the fireworks would be shot off all on the parade field of VMI (Virginia Military Institute.)  We parked in a distant lot and rode a shuttle bus to the area.
VMI is pretty old.  Stonewall Jackson was a teacher there in the time leading up to the Civil War.  This is a statue of him in front of Stonewall Jackson Hall, on the edge of the parade field.  As you can see, VMI's architecture is very interesting.

  We got some food and were enjoying our supper, listening to the music and watching everything.  A cloud came by and it misted.  You could tell the cloud was moving quickly with sun behind it, so it wasn't a big deal.   About a half hour later, another cloud came, and this time it sprinkled.  Again, there was sun behind it--there was even a bit of a rainbow.  After a while, we noticed that they were inflating a hot air balloon--the perfect one for the day!

Just moments after I took this photo, the third cloud came, and it rained!  It was a much larger cloud, with no sun behind it, so we decided to gather our chairs and things up and seek shelter under a large tent.  It was raining hard by the time we got under it and then it just poured.  We were soaked.  It eventually stopped, but we were uncomfortable and decided to go back to the hotel.  We were able to glimpse some of the fireworks from the window by the elevator in the hotel, so it wasn't a total bust.

The next morning, we went to Lee Chapel, on the campus of Washington and Lee University. 


After the Civil War, Robert E Lee was offered the job of being President of this school (still a college) and he accepted.  He did a great job, too.  He had this chapel built and his office was in the basement.  He worked there for about 5 years until his death.  He is interred underneath, along with many of his family members.
Upstairs there is a statue of him.  It looks sort of like a sarcophagus, but it is just a carving of him sleeping--during the war.  I had to include my husband in the photo--that was the only way we were allowed to take pictures.
Next we set off to visit the Stonewall Jackson Cemetery.  It was fairly easy to locate his grave--what with the huge statue of him.
This was actually done years after his death, and his remains--along with other family members--were dug up and moved to this location.  They seemed to do a lot of that in the Victorian age!!

This was the original plot.
Next we visited the two large antique malls in Lexington and then headed down the road towards Charlottesville.  We had seen a sign on the interstate in Staunton announcing the Woodrow Wilson house and library.  Another President!  I'm not sure of his number without looking it up, but many of you may remember that he was President during World War I.  We stopped there and toured.  It turns out that he was only born there and then the family moved to Augusta, Georgia, when he was a toddler. 

After that stop, we were back on the road to Charlottesville.  There is a quilt shop there that I wanted to visit.  I had shopped at their booth at the Midatlantic quilt show and liked their choices.  I'm not going to mention their name, though, because I was a bit disappointed.  The prices were high!  Jelly rolls ($39 everywhere else) were $48!!  New fabric was over $13 per yard!  Yikes!  They did have a sale, so I got a few things, but I wouldn't be happy if that was my LQS!

Over supper, we discussed the rest of the trip.  All we had left to do were the three other President's homes, did we think we needed to stay another night?  We decided not to, so we could have all of Sunday to recover.

So we visited Monticello.

 It was fascinating!  Jefferson did so many innovative things in the house and on the grounds.  I'm afraid the others paled in comparison.  This is the front of the house.

And this is the back.  It is referred to as the "nickel view" as this is the view that is on the back of the nickel.  I love the bunting that was hung for the Fourth!  They have a big Naturalization ceremony there on the Fourth to swear in new citizens of the United States!

Next we went to Ash Lawn.  James Monroe was a friend of Jefferson, and he moved to the area from Fredericksburg at Jefferson's suggestion. 

His home was way more modest from the outside.  (Please excuse the photo bombing tourist!)  However, it was fairly richly appointed inside.  This tour lasted over an hour and consisted of us going from one room to another hearing a lecture about Monroe.  I enjoyed the lecture, but it would have been better if we could sit for some of it!
James Monroe--best known for the Monroe Doctrine

After that, I was pretty much done!  I was tired and had reached my limit of looking at things and learning--oversaturated, as I describe it--but we still had one more place to visit.  We decided to have lunch and decide.  Lunch helped so we headed thirty miles away to Montpelier. 
Montpelier was sold by Dolly Madison after her husband's death and ended up in the DuPont family.  It was acquired by the historical association in the 80s, so it is still being taken back to the Madison era.  The exterior is finished, but they are still working on the interior.  It also ended up being an hour long lecture! 

I was relieved to finally head home.  It was nice to have a rest day.  I did a little sewing yesterday and will do more today.  I should have something to show you tomorrow that is quilting related!  Oh, there were some wonderful quilts in the Monroe museum from the War of 1812, but they were folded and no photography was allowed!

Have a great day everyone!


  1. Thanks for the tour of places I would love to visit. You had a very appropriate holiday weekend, it seems. : )

  2. My husband and I "eloped" and were married in Williamsburg, VA (almost 15 years ago!!! Can't believe how time just flies by!) ... we both have always loved that area. The day after our wedding we went to Monticello because Jefferson is my favorite president ... I remember seeing that little "house" off to the side where he would sit, reading and overlooking his property. The gardens were amazing and just the logistics of what life must have been like living there were fascinating. His bed looked so small considering his height and all the books because he kept track of EVERYTHING and made daily entries about the most simple things. Definitely a "bucket list" item for those who haven't been yet! Linda

  3. Sad to say I know of the quilt shop you refer to. It is a shame their prices are so high, because they carry beautiful collections of fabric. I can no longer afford to shop there-boo hoo! So glad you enjoyed your trip to our side of Virginia-it's a beautiful area. Have a great day!

  4. Loved touring around with you on your weekend mini vacation. There is so much to see. Yikes, I hope fabric doesn't go up to $13.00.

  5. What a wonderful way to spend the 4th of July (long) weekend! Touring like that can be tiring but I'm glad you got to see everything you wanted to. Like Betty Lou, I sure hope fabric doesn't got up to $13/yd... it's bad enough as it is!

  6. I had a few extra minutes at work today and used the time to read the post about your 4th of July travels. Thanks so much for sharing... I learned some things I didn't know! Gosh... I think $39.00 for a jelly roll is high... who pays $48.00? Not this girl!

  7. Wow that's an expensive jelly roll. Australian prices are that high, due to importation and distributors fabric goes through to get to our quilt shops. That is why I order my fabric from America!