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.