Bedford is a cute town just across the Blue Ridge Parkway from us. We frequently take guests to the D-Day Memorial there. It is also a place to check out antique shops. Every time we go there we see the signs to visit Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest. And every time we say, "We should do that." But we don't.
Last week we saw a notice in the paper that there was a discount at Poplar Forest for dads on Father's Day. So that is where we went.
If you are comparing Poplar Forest to Monticello, you would be very disappointed. They have similar architectural elements, but Monticello is restored and has a lot of period furniture, if not the original furniture. It is a home for a large family and an important man. The grounds are landscaped as close to the original as they can determine and you have to park in a lot far from the house and take a tour bus up with all the other tourists. It is a wonderful glimpse into the period and the mind of a very interesting Founding Father.
Poplar Forest , on the other hand was his escape. It was inherited by his wife and they farmed it all along, but the home was built to Jefferson's minutely detailed instructions after he left the presidency. It was his escape from public life and a place of respite for him. The design was his alone and not too many people would find it to their taste today, but he loved it. A two bedroom home would also prohibit many unwanted visitors.
Jefferson was an architect and landscape designer in his own homes and you can see that in Poplar Forest. In fact, you can also see the Poplar Trees that Jefferson saw. Some of them are still flanking the front of the house.
The inside is currently under restoration (no pictures allowed) and they are going by Jefferson's drawings and instructions that survived to do so. The grounds are also being restored. The money to do this is from donations and from the tickets purchased to have a tour there. So go and help restore this historic home and have a lovely outing. Why is it we never tour the interesting place close to home unless we have out of town visitors?
Don't fall in to that trap. GO SOMEWHERE on the weekend. And didn't we pick a gorgeous day to do so?