James Monroe's "Highland"...

We chose to visit this peaceful place for many reasons. Besides being on our travel path, we wanted to learn more about our fifth President of the United States. We have found that presidential homes share great insight into the man.

President Monroe and his wife, Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, owned the property from 1793 to 1826 and made it their official residence from 1799 to 1823.
James Monroe’s Highland offers guided tours year-round. In the restored guest house, the rich collection of period and Monroe-family furnishings perfectly exemplifies James and Elizabeth Monroe’s international style, while also demonstrating their strong American connections. Our guided tour emphasizes Monroe’s many and varied contributions to our nation’s early history. Known for his two-term presidency, James Monroe held many political offices, including roles in the Continental Congress and the U.S. Senate, and multiple terms as Governor of Virginia. The story of James Monroe’s life features the American Revolution, southern and western expansion, international diplomacy and our earliest foreign policy, critical issues surrounding slavery—including a major slave rebellion, the international slave trade, and the anti-slavery movement—Congressional compromise, and of course his eight years as President of the United States.

This mileage marker was one from Highway 40, the first federally-supported interstate, which was created by Monroe. Throughout the home and gardens, there was evidence of his impact on America.

The home, while not his actual house which perished in a fire after he had moved, was full of Monroe's possessions. One such possession was a mahogany drop-leaf table. It was constructed from a huge slice of precious wood that was sent to Monroe as a gift from the grateful people of Santo Domingo (now called the Dominican Republic).

Not only North Americans, but Central Americans, South Americans and Caribbean islanders were elated and relieved when Monroe delivered a stern warning to the countries of Europe in his 1823 message to Congress. The admonition, which came to be known as the Monroe Doctrine, forbade the colonial superpowers to encroach upon the territories of the Western Hemisphere. History really is found in interesting places.

And this will be our home for the next two nights... Paradise Lake. Its name seems quite fitting and will make for a great base for exploration in this part of Virginia.

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