Sara in Colonial Virginia

A first-year student majoring in English and public relations, Sara is a Dedman Scholar and member of the University Honors Program. During spring 2014, she is enrolled in the Honors history class “The Founding Fathers and Slavery.” The class traveled to Virginia during spring break, with visits to Alexandria, Colonial Williamsburg, Washington, Charlottesville and the plantations of George Washington (Mount Vernon), Thomas Jefferson (Monticello), and James Madison (Montpelier).

Many of the photos on this blog were taken by Lucy, a first-year Dedman Scholar and member of the University Honors Program who is majoring in biology.

Seeing the sights in DC

At the White House The next morning Lucy and I woke up for breakfast with some of our classmates. She was more than a little disgruntled, though, because the hot water in our hotel room didn’t seem to be working! The Tabard Inn continental breakfast was somewhat unconventional, compared to the other hotels at which we stayed. We walked into the restaurant, sat down, and ordered off a menu — but the food was still complimentary until after 9:30! Lucy and I barely made it in time — at 9:20, we joined the guys, Kelly, and Hope at their table. After we had ordered, I sat back and observed my classmates. All were relatively cheerful, despite the previous [...]

2014-04-21T11:20:54+00:00 March 15th, 2014|Sara in Colonial Virginia|

From Madison’s home to DC

This day would be our final full day together. The morning was both exciting and bittersweet. The Hampton Inn provided a lovely continental breakfast. One by one, we arrived with our suitcases to grab a quick bite to eat before heading to Montpelier and James Madison’s home. Madison’s plantation was by far the prettiest of the presidential properties, although Monticello may have given it a run for its money if the flowers and vineyard had been in bloom. Montpelier was situated amidst clear, rolling hills, and the property was tastefully contained by forest green wooden fences. I could almost see the flowers and tobacco plants in my mind’s eye as I soaked in the view of the land, and the mental image [...]

2014-04-11T17:08:29+00:00 March 14th, 2014|Sara in Colonial Virginia|

Contrasts between liberty and slavery at Monticello

The next morning started bright and early as we left for our tour of Monticello. I was especially excited for this tour. After all, we had read three (enormous) books about the Master of the Mountain and the contrast between his ideas on liberty and slavery. Going to Monticello would be a journey into the heart of the issue. A dive into Jefferson’s own mind. I will say, though, that before the trip, I had forgotten everything else that Jefferson did in his lifetime. I was so caught up in his hypocrisy! I didn’t know it at the time, but Monticello would serve as a reminder of what an incredible man Jefferson was. On the mountain we watched a short [...]

2014-04-11T16:55:47+00:00 March 13th, 2014|Sara in Colonial Virginia|

Our campus tour at UVA

Our final hours in Williamsburg flew by in a flurry of packing our scattered belongings and rushing to the gift shop for last-minute souvenirs. At 9:30, we shoved our suitcases in the back seat of the van and clambered into our customary seats for a quick two-hour drive to Charlottesville. When we arrived at the hotel, we had just enough time to stash our belongings in Dr. Doyle’s hotel room before we walked over to the University of Virginia campus. I wasn’t sure what it would be like, visiting another college campus as a tour group. Not only did it feel like I was cheating on SMU, but I also felt like a high school student again. But UVA was [...]

2014-04-11T16:47:38+00:00 March 12th, 2014|Sara in Colonial Virginia|

Meeting Thomas Jefferson

Since we didn’t have to meet as a class until dinner, everyone awoke at various times and met to do different activities. A few of us woke up early to go to an event called “Liberty or Loyalty: In Print.” It sounded like it would provide an interesting take on the Colonial Era. I was actually pleasantly surprised, to tell the truth. As an English major, I was interested, but I wasn’t sure how the information would be presented. But, they had a panel of three actors who read and acted out various readings from newspapers of the time. One reading in particular that caught my ear was a play on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, basically asking, “to be free or not [...]

2014-04-11T16:30:29+00:00 March 11th, 2014|Sara in Colonial Virginia|

Learning the minuet and more in Williamsburg

On the road The night before, our class drove from Alexandria to Colonial Williamsburg. The drive was … cramped, to say the least, but we made it safely to our destination. This morning, we would have the opportunity to explore the colonial town for the first time. Our first day in Williamsburg didn’t have a lot of structure compared to the other days. We would meet as a class, walk to the town, and split up except for lunch and dinner. At the Governor's Palace A majority of us met up at the Governor’s Palace, where we walked around the grounds before entering the house. We enjoyed looking at the elaborate set-up, exclaiming over brightly colored [...]

2014-04-11T16:25:03+00:00 March 10th, 2014|Sara in Colonial Virginia|

Life at Mount Vernon, with slavery

I don’t think any of us were terribly delighted at the early morning departure, but somehow, my classmates and I managed to be packed and in the hotel lobby by eight o’clock the next morning. We piled into the van, and eventually we found ourselves parked in the back of the Mount Vernon parking lot. The wind whipped through our jackets, causing everyone to huddle together to avoid the cold. At nine, the gates swung aside, and we were swept into the grounds along with the enormous crowd of Washington admirers. At the entrance to Mount Vernon Inside, the guides shuffled us into the main house, room by room. The guides were extremely robotic, but the house was [...]

2014-04-11T12:04:20+00:00 March 9th, 2014|Sara in Colonial Virginia|

Walking tour of Alexandria

The next morning was extremely hectic, and it took some time for everyone to get breakfast and meet in the lobby for our walking tour of Alexandria. When all eleven of the students were sitting in the lobby, Ms. Spaniolo and Dr. Doyle explained that we would be walking to a house just down the street. There, we would meet a tour guide, go on a walking tour, and experience Alexandria for the first time. They took us down the street to a colonial house labeled “The Visitor’s Center” to meet our tour guide for the morning. It was absolutely charming — and our tour guide was certainly a unique individual! She was a boisterous woman with an impressive wealth [...]

2014-04-10T15:04:24+00:00 March 8th, 2014|Sara in Colonial Virginia|

Feasting on history

A first-year student majoring in English and public relations, Sara is a Dedman Scholar and member of the University Honors Program. During spring 2014, she is enrolled in the Honors history class “The Founding Fathers and Slavery.” The class traveled to Virginia during spring break, with visits to Alexandria, Colonial Williamsburg, Washington, Charlottesville and the plantations of George Washington (Mount Vernon), Thomas Jefferson (Monticello), and James Madison (Montpelier).

2014-04-10T14:43:42+00:00 March 7th, 2014|Sara in Colonial Virginia|