Friday Fantasies (Vacation Edition)
October 21, 2011 by henriettahobsonrichardson
Happy Friday, Readers. As some of you may know, Ash and I went on a small vacation recently. First, we drove down to Philly to visit my best friend, and then continued on to the Shenandoah River Valley in Virgina. There we did a mini Presidential tour of Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, and Ash Lawn-Highland, the home of James Monroe. Both of these properties (and the house we visited in Philly, but more on that next week) provided me with a lot of great photos and information for you. However, as some long time readers may recall, I already covered Monticello here, so today, I present to you Ash Lawn-Highland.
Highland, the home of President James Monroe, was built in 1793. He called it his “Castle Cottage”, and while the original 1790s section of the house is very small compared to the grander Presidential homes located nearby, namely Jefferson’s Monticello and Madison’s Montpelier, the house has all the charm you could ever want. Today it exists with a c. 1870 addition on the front of the “Castle Cottage” but this addition is very easy to differentiate from the older part of the home, due to its striking yellow clapboards and burgundy trim, as well as subtle Victorian details.
Monroe chose this particular site for his plantation at the encouragement of his friend Thomas Jefferson so that they could be neighbors, and indeed, you can actually see Monticello from Highland when the trees are bare. The Monroe family took up residence in 1799 and stayed until 1825, when Monroe was forced to sell the property to pay off substantial debts incurred during his Presidency (including the costs associated with furnishing the White House after its reconstruction after the War of 1812). The property came to be known as Ash Lawn during the late 19th century, when the Massey family planted ash trees along the long, winding driveway and around the grounds, many of which remain today.
Below are some photos that Ash took while we visited. The site is absolutely beautiful and if you are in the area you should definitely visit!
Below is the back of the original house.
The next shot is of the new front entry created when the 1870’s addition was put on.
This is a view of the side of the addition. Look at those decorative vents, so cool!
This is a view of the slave quarters. It is now set up as three different interpretative spaces, one as guest quarters, one as slave quarters and one as a kitchen.
Below is a picture of the well house. Jefferson suggested that Monroe dig a 60 foot well.
Finally here is a shot of the alley of Ash trees planted after the Monroe’s left, which is what lead to the Ashlawn moniker.
Hope you enjoyed Ashlawn Highland. Have a great weekend!