🪰Cicadas, and 🌳A Trip to Monticello🌳

The Brood X cicadas have returned after 17 years underground…this is what they looked like and sounded like, near The Train House in Virginia…

This is one of many that landed on our back porch…they are very gentle and let you get pretty close to them!! They are about an inch and a half long, notice how beautiful and intricate the wings are and the bulging red eyes.

This guy and plenty of others, were found on the foundation of our house!! They appear in mid May when the temperatures reach 64 degrees, and will be gone by the end of June!! This Brood X is found around Pennsylvania, northern Virginia, Indiana and eastern Tennessee!

We found these on a fence pole in the cemetery, up the street from us, and there are LOTS of them, mostly near trees!! According to an article by National Park Service …”By coming out in huge numbers, all the predators that eat cicadas can get their fill and there will still be plenty of cicadas left to breed and perpetuate the species. It’s a survival strategy called prey satiation. There are more cicadas than all the combined predators can eat.” These predators are just about every animal, including dogs and humans😂 Because the cicadas are formed and live most of their lives underground, they are similar to shrimp, so if you have a shell fish allergy, you are advised not to eat them🤣

These are cicada shells, found around the base of trees…A cicada shell is the exoskeleton from which a winged, adult cicada emerges. Once the exoskeleton is shed, it is left behind, attached to a bush or a tree branch and falls to the ground!!

The bakeries are selling cicada cookies, not made from cicadas!!

Here is the sound of Brood X Cicadas, in a treed area around a home we visited… If you have any questions about cicadas, just ask me and I’ll try to answer them!! I found them fascinating, but loud!!


On our latest visit to Virginia, we took a trip to Charlottesville, to the lovely Boar’s Head Inn and then to visit Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello!! We gave this trip to Gina and Family for Christmas!!

The Boar’s Head Inn, in Charlottesville, is known for it’s state-of-the-art athletic center, it is a top 25 ranked tennis camp in the world, also the home of University of Virginia’s Tennis Team, and the golf facilities aren’t too shabby either!! But we weren’t there for tennis or golf, we were there to relax, visit Monticello and enjoy their restaurants!! What we also discovered was it gave us a reprieve from the cicadas…no cicadas in the middle of Virginia, only northern Virginia!!

There are 14 outdoor (10 hard, 4 clay) and 12 indoor hard courts as well as 4 pickleball courts (2 indoor, 2 outdoor). That does not count the new stadium with 6 hard courts reserved for UVA tennis teams and competitions.

This is a rock climbing wall, which the boys wanted to do, but we ran out of time!! Photo on the right, me playing cards by the pool with Aaden❤️

Aaden brought his clubs, knowing they had beautiful golf courses…the putting green was right off an outdoor restaurant, that Aaden could enjoy…the only one in our party that enjoys golf!!

And an unexpected surprise!! Parker is up early, usually 5 am and so is Gina, not me, although I would have enjoyed this sight!! One of the mornings they were out early for a walk around the grounds of the Inn and they saw people preparing for a double hot air balloon ride!!

Parker was in awe of it all!!

And they are free…Gina said the people in the balloons were waving to them!!


🌳 Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello🌳

This is the front of Monticello, his estate was built entirely by slaves…Jefferson inherited the land and started building this house at the age of 21 in 1764, a project that occupied his imagination throughout his life.

He began planning the major renovation and expansion of his home in 1790, the year after he returned from France, where he was inspired by the architecture he saw. One of his ideas was, that staircases took up too much room in houses, so he put his off of a small hall next to the foyer. As you can see from the left photo, the foyer was filled with artifacts from his time, but no grand staircase.

This is a portrait in the foyer, of Jefferson, called the Final Portrait, done by the famous painter, Thomas Sully.

This is part of his library, he sold his vast personal collection of books, maps and pamphlets to Congress in 1815. The books that are behind the plastic covering belonged to him, the others are books that he might have had from his era. My Parker, who loves books, was reprimanded for touching the books!

Another idea Jefferson got from France architecture was to build his bed into the wall, to save space, give him privacy and be able to roll out of bed, either in his office or his bedroom chamber!!

This a photo of Victor and me, with the Thomas Jefferson reenactor, behind us is the back of Monticello!

This video is the end of “Thomas Jefferson’s” lecture, he answered questions from the audience, he was very entertaining!! You’ll have to turn up the volume to hear, but he is referring to the future, in this speech, possibly in today’s time.

The kitchen of Monticello is in the basement…

A grandfather clock that sits in a corner of the kitchen, interesting note in the right photo about this clock and Jefferson. It speaks to the “times!!”

In order to get to Monticello, we parked in the visitors center and had to take a bus up a long winding road, that was very steep, to the estate. This led me to think of how Thomas Jefferson got up there in his day…well this was it, a one seater carriage with narrow wheels!! An interesting fact: People who came to visit Jefferson, would park at the bottom of the estate’s hill and walk up 2 miles up, even women in their fancy clothes.

The revolutionary garden, as written in The Official Guide to Thomas Jefferson’s World: “Ever a Man of the Enlightenment, Jefferson in 1812 divided his vegetable garden into 24 rational plots, or squares,” according to the part of the plant to be harvested: fruits, roots, and leaves. Built on a terrace facing southeast with a 1,000 foot long retaining wall, the garden was a grand experiment. ‘I am curious to select only one or two of the best species or variety of every garden vegetable, and to reject all other,’ Jefferson wrote. He kept meticulous notes on the day seeds were sowed or plants harvested. To supply salads, Jefferson had lettuce and radishes planted every week. Elderly slaves did most of the gardening, directed by enslaved head gardeners.

An aerial view of the estate. You can see the slave quarters, called Mulberry Row, off to the right, as you face the house. We did not get to see that important part of the historical estate, but our next visit will include nothing but that!!

The family cemetery on the grounds of the estate…

The above words are inscribed on Thomas Jefferson’s gravestone.  Where is “Third President of the United States of America?”  Before his death, Thomas Jefferson left specific instructions for a monument to be constructed on his grave site.  In reference to the words to be placed on his gravestone, Jefferson said, “On the faces of the Obelisk the following inscription, and not a word more.”  He continued by writing, “because by these, as testimonials that I have lived, I wish most to be remembered.”

And then we visited the University of Virginia, in which Jefferson designed, and called “the hobby of my old age.”


With Juneteenth becoming a holiday in our country, this past weekend, it is up to us to educate ourselves and others on slavery. I didn’t realize that slaves built Monticello and also, aided in the building of The University of Virginia, Click on the highlighted area, for a good resource regarding Slavery at Monticello.

I have only scratched the surface of the history of Monticello, I hope I have piqued your interest…there is so much information on this subject, on the internet, I will be taking advantage of it, and will be going back to Monticello to gain more knowledge!!

14 thoughts on “🪰Cicadas, and 🌳A Trip to Monticello🌳

  1. Hi Carol! My Katie lives in Charlottesville…we love visiting her and her family there. It’s such a pretty area. We have also visited Monticello and Boars Head Inn. Have to admit that I find the cicadas kind of creepy! Hope you have a good summer. Chip and I are finally going to be traveling to see our kids and grandkids who we haven’t seen since November of 2019…three separate trips…can’t wait!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Nancy!! I didn’t realize Katie lives in Charlottesville!! Yes, it is a beautiful area!! We also went to the mall, but I didn’t include the pics, post would have been too long!! I’m looking forward to going back and doing more exploring.
      The cicadas definitely have a creepy side and the noise gets annoying, but it is amazing how they breed, the 17 year appearance is a wonder!! I’m glad we experienced it, but we’re lucky, we could get away from them too!!
      That is so wonderful you are going to see your grandkids, that is a long time, not giving them hugs, I bet they are all so excited to see you and Chip!! I look forward to seeing FB pics!! ENJOY💞


    1. Thank you, Nancy!! It was great to finally get back to traveling with our family!! It was an educational trip too, eye opening into our history, things we didn’t learn in school!! Enjoy your summer🌸💖 Are you and Art traveling or staying put?


      1. So happy you had a great time. As for us, we are hoping to get up to New England this summer. Art’s cousin who lives in Norfolk also has a place on Lake Winnepausaki (spelling?) and has invited us up. We will be celebrating our 50th anniversary on September 4th and I think we will probably take a trip somewhere or other! Meanwhile, have fun, enjoy your lovely family and have a wonderful summer! 💙

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you liked the cicadas, they are really quite a phenomenon, I guess I have a love/hate relationship with them.
      We were at a pool party and I was having a hard time hearing people talk!!
      I know, Thomas Jefferson and Monticello are fascinating…I would like to do more reading about him and go see it again, only this time I’ll go to the slave quarters first. Thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to comment💖


    1. Oh, your so funny VJ, but it’s not the same as you really being there, but if that’s all I’ve got, I’ll take it🤣 Thanks for checking into my blog and leaving a message‼️🤗❤️


  2. Hi Carol,

    Your blog was interesting and very informative. You really researched the Cicadas, and what you have written sounds so authoritative, it could be on line as a source of information. They are ugly, but also cute, go figure. It sounds like you had a great trip to Charlottesville, especially
    Monticello. I love and admire Thomas Jefferson, he is one of my favorites, and have and read several books on him, his life, talents, and many contributions, not only political, but in all areas , he was truly exceptional.
    Although I have not been to Monticello, I was familiar with much of what you experienced. He has been criticized for owning slaves but that
    was part of the culture of the times, and for his relationship with Sally Hemmings. If you haven’t read the book, I think you would find it interesting. Please keep me posted on your next visit to Monticello and your stay at the Boars Head Inn. It was a great experience for the boys,
    something they will not forget, and for you and Victor too. (Sorry for going on so long, I got carried away.)
    Take real good care and enjoy the summer, especially at the Cape.

    Much love,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Lucille, thank you for going on about Jefferson!! I wanted to include so much about him on this post, but didn’t want to make it too long!! And I would have loved to spend more time there, but the boys were getting tired. His garden is amazing and how he strategized the cultivation of his crops…I would love to learn more about that!! We weren’t able to tour the slave quarters, Mulberry Row, but that would be very enlightening too!! I know about Sally Hemmings, but am looking forward to reading the book, thank you for suggesting it!! I was looking for her gravestone in the cemetery there, but I didn’t see it. She should have been buried near him, he was with her longer than his wife, but since you read the book, maybe you know the answer to that? I agree with you about him owning slaves was part of the culture and we need to learn about that history, so we won’t make inhuman choices in life.
      If you are traveling to The Cape, please stop by, we would love to see you, and if we’re not there, feel free to use our driveway, have a seat on our patio and a walk to the beach!!
      Thank you for your thoughtful comments!! Love and joy to you for a wonderful summer❤️💙


  3. Hi Nina! The videos were an AWESOME touch to your blog! You should do more of those! And Thomas Jefferson was so cool to see while we were there! And Monticello was fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Aaden, so happy that you liked the videos!! Sometimes you just need a video, like with the cicadas…who wouldn’t want to hear that🤣🪰 I know you liked learning about how they did coding in those days, we will have to learn more about that!! And we should see “Hamilton” again, now that we know more about Jefferson!! I loved that you checked into my blog and you left such thoughtful comments, thank you!!!👍❤️


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