Time travel: Mingle with history at Ash Lawn
Well, vacation time is upon us, and everyone seems to be headed in a different direction. I have friends who are going out west to see the Grand Canyon, and lots more who are veering east to sunny Atlantic beaches. One person I know is even taking off for Thailand.
Travelers who venture out to Ash Lawn-Highland’s annual Plantation Days this weekend can take a trip of a different kind: back in time. Plantation Days offers visitors to James Monroe’s Albemarle County estate the chance to meet the distinguished former president as they experience life as it might have been in rural Virginia during the early 19th century.
For two days only, James Monroe (portrayed by Dennis Bigelow) will once again wander his west lawn where woodworkers, tinsmiths, wool spinners, quilters, basket weavers, and the like will demonstrate their skills and sell their wares. Other costumed interpreters will be on hand to chat about the work and leisure activities of the time. And the First Virginia Regiment, a Revolutionary-era re-enactment group, will encamp on the grounds demonstrating and discussing the military life of the time.
Children will especially enjoy this historic journey as they are invited to march along with the First Virginia Fife and Drum Corp on Saturday. The Monroe Highland Scottish Country Dancers perform three times on Sunday and host a dance workshop for parents and children.
Kids can play colonial games such as hoops and graces, participate in period craft activities such as paper quilling, and learn to card wool and make a felt ball. Heidi McMurran from Barboursville brings her miniature work ponies that surely will submit to petting or even pose for pictures. And wandering troubadour John DuRant welcomes the harmony of young voices to his serenade.
Plantation Days promises to be a fine family adventure. And the terrific thing about this little trip is there’s no need to pack… just wear your long calico dress or knee pants and be prepared to have fun.
Plantation Days at Ash Lawn-Highland takes place rain or shine July 13-14, 10am-6pm. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for local residents and seniors, $5 for children ages 5-11. Tours of the house are included in the price of admission and take place every 15 minutes through out the day. Visitors are invited to bring a picnic or purchase modern festival fare on site. Located at 1000 James Monroe Parkway 2 miles past Monticello. 293-9539. avenue.org/ashlawn.