The Eastern Seaboard Episodes: Monticello and Memories

Take Me Home, Country Roads, was not playing on the radio thankfully!

The gloomiest day is always that last day of vacation.  Clothes, souvenirs, and memories are all packed away, and the exuberance of hitting the road to go somewhere fun and exotic is replaced with crappy fountain drinks at dirty gas stations and trying to find the cure for white line fever.  Never fear, though, Miss Madison and I had one last caper up our sleeves before we were welcomed back to our happy Hoosier home in Indiana.

How cute, we’ve started our own sand collection!

After making sure the plumbing wasn’t overflowing in our hotel room, we were out the door to tour our second university campus of the week.  We drove around the William & Mary campus while in Williamsburg, and, this time, we were going to make sure the kids were hitting their books at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and maybe snap a picture or two of what is rumored to be one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country.

Not the best representation of the campus, but in my defense we were driving.

I will say it is quite impressive to see with the Jeffersonian architecture (Thomas Jefferson founded it after all) everywhere, but I’m still a homer for the Indiana University campus though!  I will say either campus makes Purdue look like a used brick symposium!  Festive campus atmosphere, and the trees were in full bloom.  I inquired with some local co-eds about a talent shoot I was putting together, and in an unrelated note, I’ve been eating through a straw since then. #dontdateakickboxer Just kidding, of course, but if you are in the Charlottesville area (and you should be—cool city), drop on in to the University of Virginia.

Unbeknownst to Miss Madison, I woke up a tad earlier than her that day and had a little Ferdinand Magellan running through my veins and poked around town for a bit.  I found the Pedestrian Mall as a reward for my efforts!  This was “neato mosquito” from the moment I laid eyes on it!  Gave the place a quick once over and decided to go alert Miss Madison of my new find.  Unlike Magellan, I didn’t have a flag to plant, and this place made me pay for parking!

Very charming area, literally blocks from campus.

Let’s break this picture down frame by frame.  First off, they have a Freedom of Speech wall—just put it out there and let it flow.  You bring the chalk, and Charlottesville lets you get it off your chest!  Not sure of the crime rate in the region, but I have a feeling it’s better than most.  It’s cleaned weekly, and if you decide to express yourself with colorful phrases such as “Duck Hue Witch,” they will quickly be expunged off.

Three Notch’d road was well named before the punctuation police got a hold of this person.  It’s the “road” that runs through the foot mall so named for it being a route many moons ago for passage west through the Virginia mountainside.

Ten Thousand Villages is a good place for a guy to go buy a treasure map and then spend the rest of the day looking for said treasure no matter where it leads, because your girl isn’t coming out of this place anyway before you get back.  Hopefully you found the missing treasure, because you are going to need it after watching your significant other go on and on about all the clearance deals they have.  Hey, one item cost 60.00 bucks, but 26 items costs only $69.32, hell yes we are money ahead!  Did you buy the dust buster to clean all this stuff up in three months?  I kid because I care; Miss Madison obviously loved this place and is now on the mailing list!

I’m a sucker for vintage photos of any old school downtown theaters and the Paramount was no exception, a quick view of the upcoming events and it sounds like the perfect date night for any aspiring UVA student to take his young Cavalier lass out on a date.  Just last Friday, they were showing the original Die Hard. If bullets, Hans freaking Gruber, and Bruce Willis when he still had his fastball doesn’t get your date “in the mood,” you better head across the street to the art gallery with her pronto!

This couch was neat, about all I can say about that.  The art gallery that it stood in front of was…. interesting to say the least.  The name escapes me, but when you hear one of the artists who had a whole hand-crafted walking stick collection mention that one of his particular sticks had a “sexy top” to another patron you can’t help but to wonder if cannabis is legal in Virginia, or at the very least a little too much Kahlua in his coffee.

The twinkle in Miss Madison’s eyes told me only one thing—off to see the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, or head off to Mr. Jefferson’s abode of Monticello!  To anybody that is going to traverse the Virginia countryside to visit this American treasure, grab lunch at the area Applebee’s and thank me later.  The Milchie is a restored tavern that is a tourist trap from the word go.  The employees in costume are great, the lanterns and the 18th century replica dishware is commendable, the food overpriced and nothing more than a fried chicken buffet!  Whoever works in the marketing department for this place deserved 25 different awards for roping us into eating there after reading about it online.

Felt like 2016 while I was there, not 1805!

Monticello is neat, it’s definitely historic, and unfortunately not run by the National Parks service.  They literally skin you alive to tour the grounds!  The gift shop alone must turn a 12 figure revenue stream; Jefferson was an avid gardener, and for 19.95 you can purchase the seeds of the plants he grew.  No thanks, Jefferson Foundation, if I want to grow cucumbers I’m pretty sure for 19.95 I’m getting enough seeds to get on Vlassic’s radar!  Jefferson was a man of the people; he has to be rolling in his grave to an earthquake level proportion if he knew the carnage his good name is being cashed in on!  Two other gripes I have about the place, no photography in the mansion itself because of some silly ownership rules of the contents.  Also, pack each tour group with 30-35 folks, and you are threatened by penalty of death if you would so much as bump into anything.  Each room is partitioned off very tightly, and I’m thankful I went in March and not during body odor season as that house has to reek of body funk after spending all day in the hot Virginia sun in the summer!  Literally you are packed in there like sardines.

I ruled out the graveyard, but everywhere else was fair game on Sally Hemings!

Petty details though, as the grounds of Monticello are beautiful.  The actual tour of the house itself was phenomenal, as nearly 90% of the contents are original.  Jefferson was clearly a man that unquestionably had to be the smartest man in the room anytime he was in a crowd.  The neatest thing I enjoyed was his own polygraph he invented that would copy his words on a document he penned.  Of course, me being Mr. Skipah the residential smart ass, I had to ask Miss Madison in every place we visited there, “Do you think he fornicated with Sally Hemings here?” That joke never got old (Miss Madison will disagree), but the man took the most meticulous notes on how many ears of corn he had on any given day!  No mention of Miss Hemings and the dirty?  I found that rather peculiar.

It was all in good fun, and I actually hate that this tainted his legacy at all. It was in a different era, and he had already been widowed, so I’m not throwing the adultery tag on him.  Really the only bitch I would have after this trip about Jefferson was his complete hypocrisy towards slavery, but the hypocrisy and political seeds were sewn long before I ever walked on these hallowed grounds.  The man had a vision, that is for sure, and authored the Declaration of Independence at the tender age of 33!  I’m 39 and have trouble coming up with 1000 words for a blog post some nights, let alone the pressure of shaping a new country!

Chalk the waterfall up to going the wrong way after leaving a gas station, I always get a kick out of the gold dome on the capital building in West Virginia.

I was never happier to see the Welcome to Kentucky sign than I was when I crossed into the Bluegrass state at Ashland, Kentucky and knew we were within striking distance of getting home.  This guy had to actually work the next day and we didn’t get in until 1:00 a.m. local time.

If this many selfies of me doesn’t break the internet, I guess we will have to wait for the next Trump press conference!

Not pictured, the shitty selfies in various gas stations and other places we traversed that week.  A blast for sure and can’t wait for our next trip to Door County, Wisconsin this summer.  Even Sloane is chomping at the bit to go back during the warmer months this year.  If you have read the whole Eastern Seaboard Episodes I hope I portrayed the areas we covered well enough for you to visit.  You want a history lesson, get to Virginia pronto! You want a laid back beach vacation, visit the Outer Banks as soon as you can!  You want to sit in traffic, take a Naval soldier a care package and stop in Norfolk for a bit.

About it for now, I’ve been away but the business is still booming!  I’m so backed up on email right now I would need the Roto-Rooter platinum package to get free from it.  For all my fun with Sloane followers, it’s not going to be until the second weekend in April before she and I are reunited again, but never fear Miss Madison and her trusty steed are working on a plan to make this one unforgettable summer for her and the Miss Madison troopers!





Send Skipah Sailing!


  1. For sure! Just knowing you’ve got a nine-ten hour car ride ahead of you sucks!

  2. What a charming trip! And agreed…the last day always seems to have a shadow, doesn’t it??

  3. They don’t even offer you a complimentary towel for the massive soaking you take!

  4. I would love to visit Monticello someday. Though it is a shame that it sounds like they try to soak the tourists. Thanks for sharing at the Blogger’s Pit Stop.

  5. It was an interesting city, not your “typical” college town.

  6. All the places you’ve been have sounded so interesting! I like all the historical stuff - my trips always centre around seeing that type of thing. Like the sound of the freedom of speech wall - nice idea!

  7. I will have to look into that, thanks for the heads up.

  8. Can’t wait until you are reunited with your little girl later this year! Sounds like you and Miss Madison had a great time exploring our country!
    Have you ever posted on the site blogger post or Flipboard? I get a lot of hits from those sites.

  9. Thanks Carol, she’s my biggest fan (most of the time), posting about the whole vacation has actually been pretty easy since I already have a topic in mind. It’s the days when you can’t think of anything to write about that suck. #BloggerWoes

  10. Miss Madison would secretly poison me in my sleep if I posted a few of them LOL.

  11. Ok, so seriously. Does your girl actually LET you have time to write such fulsome posts? I mean, you have a fabulous woman with you! It’s hilarious, though. I know she loves your spirit. You have found your match!

  12. Very cool! Vintage photos really get me too. The whole trip looked awesome, actually. Although the shitty selfies would have made the experience more lively for your audience. I suppose I’ll have to look to Facebook for that kind of thing. 🙂

  13. I can pretty much tell you the name of the the Exxon gas station attendant downtown if you need it. Love the place and can’t wait to hear your about your time there!
    Definitely in good fun, some jokes just write themselves right?

  14. You’ve given enough info on the areas you and Miss Madison traveled to that I’m definitely making your posts my go-to source for things to do.

    I’m sure I would annoy my wife with too many Sally references, but it’s all in good fun, right? Glad you guys had a great time, hope the time passes quickly so you and Sloane can kick off an awesome summer!

  15. I will keep that in my mind next time Anne :).

  16. You’re right. No warm apple pie, but there would have been a warm welcome, maybe with hot biscuits.

  17. Thanks Joey :), they didn’t “deny” the Sally part of his life but didn’t exactly go into much detail either. He did free the four children and made her “retired” in his will. Other than that not much else was said. Has to be some kind of fire code violation the way they cram everybody in there right?

  18. Thanks Anne, we would have detoured off into your neck of the woods but I didn’t smell the warm apple pie so that told me you must have been busy.

  19. It is, we were going to go to Madison’s place but were short on time and it didn’t look very interesting. Jefferson’s place is pretty neat with all the little inventions he had made to make life easier for himself.

  20. I love all the selfies 🙂 Y’all are so cute!
    I do find it funny that 200+ years later, they’re still smoothing over his dirty deeds and packin em in like sardines!

  21. I enjoyed that leg of your trip, as I did the others. Fun reading!

  22. What a wild ride you guys had! Living outside of DC for a while and have visited UVA for a football game very nice campus and town. Monticello, Madison’s place down the way and Williamsburg - nice to visit, but… I did like Jefferson’s place (the spiral trouser holder, etc) expensive but I found him fascinating to some extent. Always good to be back home isn’t it?!

  23. You are too kind Patricia! Thank you though, it was great trip!

  24. Love all of the history told with a dose of humor! You two are the cutest couple!

  25. Everything about the gift shop is a rip off!

  26. Just stay out of the gift shop LOL

  27. Dang! I couldn’t afford that.

  28. Now, I want to go visit. Great write-up! I wouldn’t have bought the seeds either! Yikes!

  29. It worth a visit, avoid the Milchie tavern across the street and bring your purse! I think the local newspaper sells for three times the price!

  30. I’ve never been to Monticello. Beautiful.

Tell Skipah all about it!