2,700 Books, a Slow Learner, and a Gambling Son

Presidents’ Day provides us with yet another reason to smile proudly and describe why the Iris Inn is so fantastic. Today’s reason? The Iris Inn is within reasonable driving distance of the homes of four previous U.S. Presidents. Not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR presidents’ homes. (I know you’re impressed. Try to contain that excitement before someone starts thinking you’re weird.) And now, I present to you a list of random facts about these former presidents and their homes. This is fun stuff, so sit back and enjoy: Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson Jefferson’s personal library at Monticello contained 2,700 books that later became a big part of the Library of Congress. Aristotle’s Politico, read by Jefferson just before his death July 4, 1826, was lost to scholars for over 130 years, until discovered last week at Washington University in St. Louis. Ash Lawn-Highland, home of James Monroe Ash Lawn-Highland occupies 535 acres and is currently a farm, a museum, and a performance site for the College of William and Mary. It is located only two and a half miles from Monticello. James Monroe and Thomas Jefferson were close friends, and Jefferson helped with some of the architectural design of Ash-Lawn Highland. The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum For the first ten years of his life, Woodrow Wilson couldn’t read (ironic considering so many people now visit his library). Many people now suspect that he had an undiagnosed learning disability. However, this did not hinder his achievements, because so far, he is the only U.S. president to hold a doctorate. Montpelier, home of James Madison (and his wife Dolley) After James Madison died, his wife Dolley had to sell Montpelier to pay off her son’s gambling debts. Also, the Marquis de Lafayette gave the Madisons a Cedar of Lebanon tree as a gift, and to this day, that tree still stands out in front of the house. Now that you’ve become experts (sort of) on these four places, you should book a room at the Iris Inn, then head out for some presidential adventures.