|© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Montpelier Estate, Virginia|
It was at Montpelier where Madison researched past democracies and conceived of the system of government that became our republic.
The Montpelier estate features the Madison mansion, historic buildings, exhibits, archaeological sites, gardens, forests, hands-on activities, a new Visitor Center, and a freedman's cabin and farm. Here, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you can spend an hour or two—or a day or two—strolling the grounds, picnicking, and learning more about the man whose contemporaries called "Father of the Constitution," and the woman who inspired the title "First Lady."
Since 2004 the Montpelier mansion has been undergoing a massive restoration to return it to the home that James and Dolley knew and loved. A $25 million architectural restoration was unveiled on September 17, 2008.
Content Source: Montpelier Website
|Donna and Randal at Huge Ancient Cedar of Lebanon|
at Entrance to the Montpelier Estate Gardens
Our favorite spot was by an ancient Cedar of Lebanon which was planted in the early 1820's which was during Madison's time. It's been said that the three large cedars were a gift from France delivered during one of Lafayette's visits in 1824.
The cedar of Lebanon was the tree said to have been chosen by Solomon for providing the timbers to build the Temple. While there are some botanists who assign species status to a fourth form of Cedrus, it is generally accepted that there are only three species of the genus Cedrus in the world, the cedar of Lebanon (C. lebani), the Deodar cedar (C deodara) from the Himalayas, and the Atlas cedar (C. atlantica) from the Atlas Mountains of North Africa.
All three of these species can be viewed on the Montpelier mansion lawn. Many of our trees we commonly call “cedars” are really junipers.
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