This Saturday was Thomas Jefferson’s 270th birthday, so naturally, we went to celebrate it at his house. Monticello is smaller than you might imagine, a mansion on a hill, sure, but gentle in its proportions, the elegant, perfectly appointed rooms small by current American standards. My love affair with TJ has been long and generally University-of-Virginia-Statute-of-Religious-Freedom-Declaration-of-Independence based, but (especially in light of my recent bent of homemaking, garden digging, and general musings on having things just the way I want them) his house really had me in a swoon. A parlor full of antlers, bones, and special weighted clocks, a bedside hothouse with tuberose and gardenia, maps and feathers and natural specimens, a dumbwaiter hidden in a fireplace specifically for bringing wine from cellar to table? Mr. Jefferson, you are my kind of guy. And Albemarle County was in her effortless spring splendor, you can see why the man picked this spot, his little mountain, Monticello. Happy Birthday.
If you’re needing a little dose of wonder and beauty this morning, go here. With this incredible 360 degree panoramic view of the Sistine Chapel, you can zoom in and out on any panel, move around the room as if you were actually there (or as if you were actually flying up by the ceiling), and—in an INTERNET FIRST—the site’s built in heavenly music is totally awesome. The Vatican has really stepped up their web presence. While you may want to zoom in on the Drunkenness of Noah or (my personal fave) Judith slaying Holofernes, it’s also just pretty cool to check out the oft-ignored “Sistine Floor”.