When visiting Monticello most visitors crowd together tightly, with twenty others, for a view of the main floor of the house and call it good. We of course spent most of our time in the gardens. We had our own personal guide and had an audience with the chief gardener, who answered the few questions our guide was unable to answer. We had no schedule, no groups awaited our departure, and we had the space to absorb all that we’d learned about the creative, scientific garden experiments of perhaps our favorite Founding Father.
If you visit Monticello, do take the house tour, but leave a couple of hours for the orchards and gardens. They give as much insight into the mind of Thomas Jefferson as his eclectic approach to architecture. The man who wrote our Declaration of Independence was a scientific thinker, and that should tell us something about how we should guide the future of the Republic.