Free Speech Wall

It may not be as impressive as the Jefferson Memorial perched on the tidal basin in Washington, D.C., but the Free Speech Monument located in Charlottesville, Virginia, the home of Thomas Jefferson provides another fitting salute to one of our Founding Fathers.

imageWIth chalk provided, it’s hard to resist the temptation to write or draw something on the two-sided, 54 foot long slate wall.

On the day we wrote on the wall there were “words of wisdom” like:

Register to vote.

Don’t bite hamsters!

Have courage.

As well as lots of hearts, peace symbols, and people’s names. I didn’t see anything profound, but who

doesn’t love to write on a chalkboard. And I’m sure that on occasion more thought provoking messages appear.


Upon our return to the wall later that evening, we discovered that all messages had been erased as part of the weekly cleaning so of course new messages were scrawled on the wall.



And since this was the night before Steve and Katie’s wedding, Meghan added their hashtag:




3 Down; 12 To Go

When my nephew, Steven, called last spring to announce his engagement to Katie, I knew that a trip to an out of state wedding would be part of this year’s 15 in 15. And once the date and location was set, planning began for a long weekend in Virginia.

We started in Richmond with walks down Monument Avenue and along the James River.

Then we were off to Charlottesville where we checked into the house we rented at Rosneath Farm. A perfect place for the family to hang out while waiting for wedding festivities.

IMG_7677On a cold, wet morning we set out to explore the Barboursville Ruins, the burned house of Virginia governor James Barbour. A house that had been designed by Thomas Jefferson.

We also had time to drive the Skyline in Shenandoah National Park, take a walk from Monticello, and visit Appomattox Court House National Historic Park for the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the stacking of the arms signaling the end of the Civil War.

And of course, we enjoyed the main event…Steve and Katie’s wedding.

Best wishes to the newlyweds!