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Patriot's  Tour: The Other Presidents' Places

Most Americans and world-wide tourists know about Virginia native President George Washington and President Thomas Jefferson. They may even be able to tell you that Washington's home is Mount Vernon and Jefferson's home Monticello.

For Washington, Virginia also offers up his boyhood home Ferry Farms and his family's home Kenmore.  For Jefferson, the out-of-the-ordinary, out of the-way location is Poplar Forest. 

Note:  These tours are sets of smaller tours where taking your time is part of the enjoyment.  Most include places to eat and shop within a 30 minute drive and more than one thing to see.

Part 1:  Since Washington is our first President, then we'll start with him.  After a good breakfast, leave Greene County on Route 29 North to Fredericksburg.  If the weather is good and you are of a mind, take a picnic lunch to enjoy.

Begin with a tour of President James Monroe's Museum and Memorial Library in Fredericksburg.

If you have a lunch with you, start at Kenmore House in Fredericksburg.  Kenmore House is a Georgian-style brick mansion built by Washington's sister, Betty Washington Lewis.  The stucco ceilings are not to be missed and the tour is tranquil and beautiful.

FFerry Farms rom Kenmore House drive (about 30 minutes) to Washington's birthplace at Ferry Farm.  Both Kenmore House and Ferry Farm are owned and operated by the George Washington Foundation. Local legend suggests that Ferry Farm might be where Washington shopped down the cherry tree and threw the coin across the Potomac. 

Next stop is lunch at the picnic area in the National Park Service George Washington birthplace National Monument.  After a lunch take a stroll on the trail and then head to the Visitor's Center to decide how you will spend the afternoon as well as see films and exhibits. 

By the time the park closes, you should have had a nice but not to tiring day.  You can go back to Greene through Fredericksburg to do shopping and get something to eat or just go on home and still have time to enjoy local shopping and dining. 

Part 2:  Any trip to Greene County or Virginia lacks completeness without hours spent along the Blue Ridge Parkway or in Shenandoah National Park with easy access from within Greene County. A trip to the park means another Presidential stop at President Herbert Hoover and Mrs. Hoover's retreat at Rapidan Camp. The site includes exhibits and the refurbished cabin.  Plus, the scenic and shady location is comfortable even in summer and accesses many other park resources.

Part 3: This is the last trip that keeps you north of Charlottesville and Richmond and offers two chances to visit Presidential history.  Go 30 minutes east into Orange CountyMontpelier and you find James Madison's magnificent and returned to original splendor Montpelier. The mansion is an exquisite setting for history and the expanse of land features slave cabins, a visitors' center, museum and walking trail through the woods.  The mansion and grounds may not be as grand as Jefferson's Monticello but they are more than worth a visit.

Though not open to the public, Montebello in Gordonsville  is thought to be the birthplace of President Zachary Taylor.

Part 4:  Just 30 minutes south from Greene is Charlottesville, VA and it's many not-so-ordinary/familiar Presidential sites. Although Monticello is the big presidential draw, the foundation encompasses Thomas Jefferson's birthplace Shadwell Farm which is still being excavated and Kenwood, the Presidential retreat of Franklin Roosevelt. Kenwood is now the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies.

Just south of Charlottesville is President Theodore Roosevelt's retreat Pine Knot.  Appointments to visit should be made through the Theodore Roosevelt Association.

Ash_Lawn HighlandThe true hidden gem just about 15 miles south of Charlottesville is President James Monroe's home Ash lawn-Highland.  The site offers the house and outbuildings, surrounding landscapes, tours, a museum shop for gifts and for lunch or snacks that can be eaten on grounds. Both private and public events are on the schedule including events by the acclaimed Ash Lawn Opera.

Part 5: There are two other Presidential destinations - in different areas that are well within easy doable traveling distance from Greene County. Both offer other attractions within close proximity.

West of Charlottesville in Staunton is President Woodrow Wilson's birthplace and Presidential Library and Museum. There is the library, museum with shop and exhibits. The Museum offers many events and the website has many useful links for visiting Staunton and Virginia.

A few hours southwest of Greene near Lynchburg is Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest. Damaged by fire, it has been meticulously restored and is open to the public.  Even with a magnificent home like Monticello, even Jefferson needed a place to get away and Poplar Forest was perfect and is perfect to wrap up your visit to the Other Presidents' Places.

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