Last Tuesday, I had the distinct pleasure of hanging out with Kathyb and family, right here in podunk! Nothing like playing tour guide to make you appreciate your hometown.
Kathy gives me far more credit than I deserve, but I’ll try to fill in the gaps.
We dined at Hamiltons’ which never disappoints, but you have to know Hamiltons’ wasn’t my original choice. First, I’d thought we’d do a brewery, but they’re all roughly half an hour out of town, and we were wandering around the shops on the downtown mall while Al – Kathy’s daughter – made her way to us from another part of the state. There is a brewery downtown, but it’s closed on Tuesdays (of course!) so I suggested South Street, because it after all, South Street Brewery. (Their website isn’t working, so no link today.) However, they’re not open for lunch either! We also tried to stop in another eatery downtown and they weren’t open either, and I confess at this point, I don’t even remember its name. But there’s always Hamiltons’, and while it isn’t known for its beer selection, we did have a great meal.
Kathy wants to know more about Sally Hemings. Don’t we all?! I confess, she fascinates me too. Who was the woman Thomas Jefferson seemed to love? Well… she was his wife’s half-sister, for starters, and there is DNA evidence – although not a consensus among historians – that Mr. Jefferson sired at least one child with Hemings. Kathy wants a reading recommendation, and I suggest The Hemingses of Monticello. Yes, its subject is broader than the span of Sally’s life, but as a native of the area, I can assure you, the Hemingses are as much a part of local history as is Mr. Jefferson himself.
Side note here… yes, you can find the book on Amazon too, but if you buy from Monticello, a portion of the sale supports said national treasure. I can assure you, it’s fiscally secure, but I hope that 200 years from now, it still will be and people from all over the world will continue to visit and be inspired to learn more about Mr. Jefferson. As his relationship with Ms. Hemings illustrates, the great patriot, farmer and philanthropist (to name just a few of his claims to fame) was flawed, but that just makes him more interesting and sparks more discussions, right?
Next time Kathyb, we’ll tour the Grounds of Mr. Jefferson’s college. I love his original “campus” best, and you can also see Edgar Allen Poe’s room on the same short walk.
What’s the infamous scandal in your town’s history? (As if the Jefferson affair was the only one here…)