Yesterday Leslie and I loaded up our vans-- with kiddos and a picnic lunch-- and journeyed west to Montpelier, the home of James & Dolley Madison. We had never been there before, and they had just finished reading about the Madisons, so we both figured it was the perfect time for such a trip. And it was! We all had a wonderful visit because the weather... it was glorious. And the setting... it was lovely. And the company... it was the best!
I took the three oldest children on the house tour (extremely informative, but a little long-- over an hour-- for their liking) while Les kept the 4 smallest kiddos outside; then we ate our lunch, and afterwards, Les enjoyed the tour herself while the rest of us played ball in the meadow.
We later discovered the "hands-on" tent which sits just behind the mansion, and all were thrilled to find it filled with tools and woodworking supplies for them to sample. They carved wood and sculpted table legs, they sharpened chisels on the stone wheel, they hammered nails and wooden pegs, they drilled holes and split logs... it was every little boy's heaven (and evidently, every little girl's, too!). The gentleman manning the station was incredibly helpful, and he patiently explained the function & use for each and every tool.
If you're ever in that neck of the woods, check it out! The home is almost fully restored (it was basically completed last year), though there's not much in it. The historical society is currently working on changing that, though. They're madly researching now in an attempt to refurbish and decorate the home as it may have been while occupied by our nation's 4th president and his wife. It's truly a worthwhile trip!