Ash Lawn Highland is the 535 acre estate that was once home to President James Monroe and his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe. They owned the estate from 1793 until 1826. The estate is now maintained and operated by the College of William and Mary in Virginia. The college has taken on the task of preserving and restoring the estate to the glory it was when the Monroe’s lived there.
The tour of the inside of the home depicts a very authentic portrait of 19th century life and also gives visitors the chance to view Victorian and early American architecture. Inside guests are treated to access to the Monroe drawing room, the bedchamber, The entrance hall, dining room, the children’s room, the study, the kitchen and many works of art. There are also demonstrations and craft lessons at Ash Lawn Highland.
Some of the interior highlights are the high post bed with a trundle bed underneath and the canopy bed complete with bed steps in the children’s room. The children’s room also has a tea table and tapestries. There are a Windsor rocker and eagle back chairs in the home. You’ll be enthralled with the elegant mix of French European and American works of craftsmanship complete with 19th wall paper. The kitchen leads out to the original smokehouse and overseer’s cottage. This cottage is believed to be the oldest building on the farm. There is also a three-room slave quarters and an ice house.
The gift shop at Ash Lawn Highland give opportunity to purchase presidential china and Ash Lawn Highland china. You’ll also find books, crafts, jewelry and other memorabilia.
The lush and mesmerizing grounds and gardens of Ash Lawn Highland are available for individual tours, meetings, special events and parties. In the summer, a music festival is held on the grounds and draws quite a crowd. This summer’s opera festival has programs for aspiring artists and other groups. It also provides the Virginia area with a chance to experience classic opera performed live. The 2010 summer season will bring performances of Don Giovanni, dubbed a favorite of generations of opera lovers, and Brigadoon, with familiar melodies such as “Almost Like Being in Love” and “From This Day On”. Both are scheduled to be performed mid to late July and the first week of August.