…..unless you’re a slave. Charlottesville, with the University of Virginia designed by Thomas Jefferson, and Monticello, his home, are testaments to the man’s creative genius. As the theorist of the American Revolution, architect, scientist, diplomat and statesman extraordinaire, he had to have a large worldview. He loved all things Classical and French, yet he continued to own 200 slaves throughout his life, including 4 biological children from enslaved housemaid, Sally Hemmings. Ignorance and narcissism is bliss; he could not have attained success in all he embraced without inherited wealth from the profits of slavery, and a staff of enslaved artisans to maintain it. The Museum at Monticello celebrates and castigates this thoroughly Renaissance Man.
We hoped to find a more modern hero at UVA. The man who first ran the four-minute mile in national intercollegiate competition, my grandfather, Forrest Quillian Stanton. This was an especially noteworthy feat as it was generally believed that we wouldn’t run that fast. Once accomplished once, many sprinters quickly began to run faster than that. The old gym, where he must have almost lived as a competitor in track, baseball and american football, is still inviting but held no acknowledgement of past era athletes.
The Alumni Center was closed so I photographed the Serpentine Wall, one of many sites on the UVA campus I learned about as a child…on china plates at brought out for fancy dessert as I was growing up.
We enjoyed Charlottesville’s highlights from the Albermarle Bakery (sour, moist, chewy sourdough bread made from apple cider) at one end of the pedestrian mall, Roasted Vegetable Pizza piled high at Christian’s in the middle of the mall (three tables of firefighters must know the best pizza in town), and an espresso near the tented exhibition site at the far end. We will miss the annual Tom-Tom Indoor/Outdoor Music Festival later in April featuring 60 bands playing jazz, blues, rock, bluegrass, classical, and world music.
We stayed in the Belmont Neighborhood, walking distance to this big tent and pedestrian mall, with our friend and kind hostess Jennifer. I met her sailing together on SV Rot Kat in the Bay of Banderas, Nayarit, Mexico; so great to deepen our friendship just by showing up in her town.
We headed off from her arty loft to the Shenandoah Mountains. The snow on the ground in Charlottesville just got deeper as we climbed in elevation. Too gusty for a real hike, we instead had a snowball fight on the Appalachian Trail.
Steven was a baseball pitcher as a boy….good thing he is accurate and hit me but missed my camera…otherwise, he would have owed sexual favors for at least a year!