As Monty Python would say: “And now…for something completely different.”

I am often asked, “Big, (these are close friends who call me by my first name), isn’t it exhausting to be so continually witty and clever? How do you deal with the pressure of the constant adulation? What do you do to relax and get away from writing this blog, which is so extraordinary, it should be featured on “Freshly Pressed” every day, but never is. How do you cope with such an injustice? (I love my friends)

Well, I walk away. No, I don’t walk away from the person asking the question, that would be rude. I walk away from the computer and up the Monticello Trail. It’s a beautiful wooded trail that starts just 1/2 mile from where we live. It gently climbs and winds two miles up a mountain to the estate of Thomas Jefferson. You know, that President guy.

I thought, if you would like, you could walk up with me and enjoy some of the views and venues that are encompassed by this trail. So put on your hiking shoes, grab a bottle of water (or something stronger if you are so moved) and follow me.

If we get separated, just follow the map above.

This is the start of the trail. Oops, a scary tunnel already! Wanna turn back?

It’s not so scary when I’m not in it.

The trail starts to wind quickly. I’ll tell you straight away, there are very few straightaways.

Our first decision. Hint: take the trail on the right.

Good choice.

I have been impolitely requested to jump in this very lake on many occasions.

If you get tired you can rest, but I’m not waiting. (That’s my wife, I always wait for her)

Further up and deeper into the woods.

Let’s stop to look out at the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. They started forming 400 million years ago, which makes them slightly older than me.


Dead trees often come crashing down on the trail. Note the newer wood where the trail has been repaired. Wait….what’s that loud noise….?

Get back here! I said this was a walking tour.

If you need a refill on the grog, there’s the Michie Tavern down there on the left. Open to travelers since 1784. Wait, I’ll join you.

Two miles of trail and finally out of the woods, near the estate entrance and a bridge too far.

And you thought we’d never get here. Actually, there’s more trail yet.

Looking back from the entrance. Jefferson also owned that little mountain.

It’s just around this bend now. (How did she get ahead of us? Last I saw her she was sitting on a bench.)

We made it! The Welcome Center. The house is another 1/2 mile up another meandering trail. You can buy a ticket and walk it or a bus will take you the rest of the way. I’m heading back home. It’s all downhill! Have fun on the tour.

38 thoughts on “As Monty Python would say: “And now…for something completely different.”

      • You should seriously think about picking out your 20 best blogs (I’m sure there’s at least 20) and putting them together in a book for publishing. Your sense of humor and drollity (is that a word?) is right up there with Dave Barry and all the other well known humorists whose names escape me right now. I’m also impressed with the growing number of your followers. Their responses are so much fun to read also.

        • You are very kind. It’s a lot easier when you don’t have a deadline or are doing it for a living. Who would have thought when I was back at Riverside being a smart a–, that later in life, people would actually voluntarily want to see me acting out. You and Cindy B. were my first and most loyal readers and I really appreciate that.

    • Hi Caroline and thanks for visiting. Hope you will come back. I look forward to reading your blog as well. I seem to have as many readers in England as anywhere else. Must be my type of self-deprecating humor.

      With a name like Hood you know I have a lot of family heritage from across the pond. And my grandfather on my mother’s side was Basil Forsythe. How British is that?

      Anyway, welcome again!

  1. I keep getting bypassed by Freshly Pressed too! 😦 Here’s hoping!

    We would love that hiking trail, it doesn’t look much like ours at all, but if we ever get down your way we are grabbing you and Queenie and taking a personal tour.

    • Bring it on! They don’t allow dogs on the boardwalk part of the trail but in the winter I sneak her on when it’s snowing because no one is there. I’m away right now but when I get home tomorrow I will email a couple of pictures of Queenie with her “boyfriend” out on the snowy trail.

      We do have another great walk for dogs along the Rivanna River that Sampson and Delilah would love.

  2. I know that walk. My granddaughter Amelia is a Senior at the university down the hill. The tunnel goes under the parkway I think? Meet any bears on your jaunt? TJ is a great guy, but a Democrat who was bankrupt when he died. Somewhere there is a lesson in this. Dianne

    • Well, then you know how pretty it can be. Give us a heads up if you come back into the area.

      It’s amazing how many of our founding fathers left great debt that their families had to deal with. As you know. Monroe lived just 3 miles from Jefferson and also let his farm acquire overburdening debt. We go there for a wine festival each year.

  3. I am a content armchair traveler this morning. Thank you. I’ve never visited Monticello but as an avid Jefferson groupie, I hope to some day. This was perfect till then.

  4. Hiya Big (I am friend)
    That was the best walk I have been on in time I feel like a bit of a walk I shall look it up again and repeat the experience. Even at age 72 I did not feel at all puffed out at the climb.
    Thank you so much for the invitation to join you

    love Patrecia

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