I had been planning to revisit the Outer Banks on this trip, but since Cape Hatteras was Irene's projected landfall, discretion became the better part of valor, and I headed inland to Charlottesville and the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway instead.
"It took about three hours to get to Charlottesville. Mostly through a gradually hillier, gradually more rural landscape. It looked horsey. Rich in pockets. I didn't stop in Manassas," as I was sort of Civil War-ed out at that point, after both Gettysburg and Antietam.
I arrived in Charlottesville around noon and spent most of the afternoon at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home:
My photos of Monticello are a bit misty-moisty, thanks to Irene
The lady who led our tour reminded me very much of my oldest sister Susan in looks. She showed us all kinds of interesting things Mr. Jefferson had invented or designed for his home -- a dumbwaiter and a a clock whose weights tell you what day it is, and a bed that would have been in an alcove if the back side hadn't been open to his study as well as the front side being open to his bedroom.
After the tour I wandered the gardens for a little while, but it was awfully wet out there:
You can order seeds of heirloom plants from Monticello -- I also left with a few packets from their gift shop
And I visited Mr. Jefferson's grave:
It says he was not only the author of the Declaration of Independence and President, but that he founded the University of Virginia, which the tour guide said was the accomplishment he was proudest of
By that point I was pretty wet, so I went and found a motel and read my Washington Post and was lazy for the rest of my Sunday afternoon.
And read up on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which I was really looking forward to.