1. The Nickel View
Did you know that you might have Monticello in your pocket right now? That’s because the iconic view from the West Lawn has been engraved on the back of the nickel since 1938!
Affectionately called the nickel view, this is one of our most popular spots for group photos and selfies.
Your ticket to Monticello provides access to all of our gardens and grounds, including the nickel view. To see Monticello’s nickel view, walk out of the main house and across the west lawn. At the far edge of the lawn, turn around and take in the inspiration for the nickel’s engraving. Can you spot the similarities and differences?
2. The “Sea View”
Many residents and visitors who have explored the mountaintop have likened the view from Monticello to the ocean and are often delighted by the similarities.
When looking south beyond Monticello, you’ll see very little in the way of settled land and instead will be greeted with mountains, forests, rocks, and rivers. The sea view is especially stunning on days when a light fog settles low on the landscape; it becomes almost indistinguishable from the ocean.
All Monticello tours come with the opportunity to explore the gardens and grounds. To experience Monticello’s sea view, walk south past the main house and look beyond Mulberry Row and the vegetable garden. You can’t miss it, and you don’t want to.
3. The Gardens and the Pavilion
In 1811, Thomas Jefferson, now retired from the presidency to his lifelong home at Monticello, wrote to his friend Charles Willson Peale:
“I have often thought that if heaven had given me choice of my position and calling, it should have been on a rich spot of earth, well watered, and near a good market for the productions of the garden.”
Like Thomas Jefferson, Monticello’s gardens were revolutionary. Thanks to Jefferson’s enthusiasm for international seed exchange and to the garden’s ingenious design—allowing tropical species to grow in the same garden as traditional cold-weather plants—more than 330 varieties of 89 species of vegetables grew on the mountaintop. More than a mere source of food, the gardens were an experimental laboratory. Open to visitors year-round, this pioneering legacy lives on in Monticello’s gardens today.
Your ticket to Monticello provides access to all of our gardens and grounds. To see the 1000-foot mountaintop garden, walk past the South Wing of the main house, cross Mulberry Row and take the stairs down toward the vegetable garden.
4. The Dome Room
From the first floor of Monticello, two flights of narrow stairs lead up through the second and to the third floor. Jefferson’s use of the Dome Room on the third floor is not fully understood; at times it served as a bedroom for a married grandson, other times as a storeroom, and probably at some point functioned as a playroom for children. In August of 1809, Margaret Bayard Smith, a friend of Jefferson, wrote:
“We looked into a beautiful and circular room in the dome—it is 26 or 27 feet diameter—has eight circular windows and a handsome sky-light. It was designed for a lady’s drawing room when built, but soon found, on account of its situation in the dome, to be too inconvenient for that use, and was abandoned to miscellaneous purposes.”
You can always see the outside of Monticello’s Dome while walking around the mountaintop, but did you know you can explore inside the Dome as well? During your Behind-the-Scenes Tour your guide will take you up and offer you a chance to explore the Dome Room... and maybe even what’s behind the far door.
5. Mulberry Row
Mulberry Row – named for the Mulberry trees lining each side – was the dynamic, industrial hub of Jefferson’s 5,000-acre agricultural enterprise. As the principal plantation street, it was the center of work and domestic life for dozens of people – enslaved people, indentured servants, and free people.
Your ticket to Monticello provides access to all of our gardens and grounds, including Mulberry Row. The 1,000-foot stretch faces the main house and is easily accessed by walking around the southern dependency. While you’re exploring Mulberry Row, be sure to find the storehouses, baths, and workshops, where things like clothes and nails were made, and discover what life was like at Monticello.