WTF ! Was that Thomas Jefferson?

If your already dreaming of your next vacation, maybe this summer or spring even, maybe visiting our nations capitol comes to mind. Whether you have visited Washington DC, and or Virginia, these two destinations can easily be enjoyed with a week or two of time. I did this trip myself recently on a wine destination discovery trip to the State of Virginal, by taking a few extra days, and starting in D.C.

2011 vaca and ranch 003

With so much to see and do in Washington, I prioritized my itinerary, and focused on the White House, Smithsonian, and a visit to the Vietnam Wall. Weeks before leaving I contacted my Congressman’s office, and they set me up with a special private tour of the White House, and a “sit in” in Congress and the Senate. If you are a veteran, I would highly suggest that you do this, as the tour is special, and you earned it.

My visit to the Smithsonian was excellent as always, but as usual, I felt I needed more time. My suggestion to you is plan ahead, and pick one or two buildings, as well as what history you want to visit. Believe me, there is a bottomless amount of displays to visit, and being bored is not possible. My favorite views this visit, Abe Lincoln’s “stovetop” hat, the original “Ruby Slippers”, and Julia Childs kitchen.

The "Big House"

The “Big House”

For many years, I have contemplated a visit to the Vietnam Wall, however always found a reason why I couldn’t. My own personal fear of uncovering memories and feelings that for over forty years, I have put in my special place, has stopped me from confrontation. On this visit, my wife led me down the paths to The Wall, where the feelings and memories of my comrades, my fellow Marines listed there overwhelmed me, as I expected. This is a solemn place, and I much appreciated my wife’s arm around me. My visit to this memorial lasted over an hour, and for that hour, I was unable to speak a word. If you visit D.C., this is a difficult site to visit, however one that every American should.

2011 vaca and ranch 056

Something special we did while in D.C. was take a Segway Tour of the monuments during the evening, when they are all light up. They give you a training class before you leave, and don’t leave until everyone in your group is comfortable. Mucho fun!

Visiting the wineries of Virginia was shall I say, interesting to say the least. Having spent the past 20 years on the west coast, in Napa / Sonoma, Oregon and Washington State, my wine appreciation and palate have become fine tuned. While there I did visit six or seven different wineries, as well as attended a wine event where there were approximately thirty pouring their wines. This event was held at Monticello, the estate of Thomas Jefferson located in Charlottesville.

Holy Cr*p, was that Thomas Jefferson?

Holy Cr*p, was that Thomas Jefferson?

Of the wineries I visited in Virginia, one sticks out in my memory, as well as my taste buds, and that one is Sweely Estate Vineyards in Madison, Virginia, recently purchased by Steve Case, Billionaire owner of America Online. The previous owner had developed the land and planted it’s vines only seven years earlier. The economy was the demise of this winery, until the Cases picked it up. Much is being done to this estate winery, and especially it’s vineyards since they purchased it. The Cases hope to reap the rewards of their investment in the vineyards and winery, and produce so great Virginia wine.

It was around the same time that “The Donald” Trump purchased his Virginia Estate Winery, now the Trump Winery, from another failing winery owner in Charlottesville, Virginia. This winery, with over 1000 acres of vineyards, is well on it’s way to becoming as famous as Thomas Jefferson, or not.

Thomas Jefferson's wine cellar

Thomas Jefferson’s wine cellar

Time will tell if this AVA of wineries in Virginia can produce the quality of product which we expect from the name Trump, or Jefferson for that matter. Where history has shown, producing just grapes and wine hasn’t been enough, so maybe the influx of millions and billions of dollars will be all these wineries need.

All in all, this area is full of history, as well as many sights, so a visit is full of delights. And what the heck, pour some wine into the visit, and what’s not good?



About storiesbygary

I am a Freelance Writer / Photographer, writing travel related articles for international magazines, blogs and websites and my own published books.
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