Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dads Need Breaks

Sherry and I returned with Sam and Caroline from a brief trip to DC. Andrew and Amy, Sherry's brother and his wife, offered to take the kids for a few nights, permitting Sherry and I a trip to Monticello. I'll admit to some cold feet: Monticello is quite a drive, and complications due to road construction meant a two-hour trip became a two-and-a-half hour trip. We got started late, which I try to avoid when visiting historical sites. We were contemplating going with a trip to nearby Mt. Vernon instead. But we assured ourselves a trip to Monticello would be best without kids and would allow us to see two homes at one time. We therefore squeezed in a trip to Ashlawn, James Monroe's home, as well.

Sherry in front of Monticello before our tour. 

The rear of Monticello.

One of the underground passages at Monticello.

My best photo taken at Monticello. 


Sherry, my wife for fifteen years plus one day, at Ashlawn. 

Great meal in Allendale. 
Monticello was stunning. Ashlawn was quaint. I think Sherry's was more impressed by the latter. A lot of time in an architecture course in college was dedicated to Monticello, and visiting the home brought many of memories of what I learned from that course back. There's a large crowd the staff must manage at Monticello, so the tour doesn't feel very personal. But the site is so amazing, it commands an enormous number of visitors. Monroe's home was much more humble and though I'm glad I went, it simply didn't impress me much.

I have, by the way, now visited the homes of five presidents. Their homes (in order of impressiveness): Jefferson's Monticello, FDR's Hyde Park and Campobello, Lincoln, Washington's Mt. Vernon, Madison's Montpelier, Monroe's Ashlawn. The best tour, of these, was FDR's at Hyde Park. And of these homes, I'm eager to return to three: Hyde Park, Lincoln, and Monticello.

I don't want to overlook the significance of Sam and Caroline staying with Andrew and Amy for a couple of nights. This is the beginning of something big. I have three sets of uncles and aunts, but am much closer to one than the others: Uncle Larry and Aunt Linda. It's very natural for me to spend the night at their home. I look forward to the annual or semi-annual weekends with beer and poker at Uncle Larry's cabin. Sam and Caroline have the potential to have the relationship with their uncles and aunts that I have with Uncle Larry and Aunt Linda. Also, Sherry and I have the chance to build a relationship with our nephews and nieces the way Uncle Larry and Aunt Linda built one with us. This weekend marks the beginning of something that can be decades in the making.

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