Last night we all arrived back from the Family Field Trip in Virginia. Everyone had a wonderful time. We visited Monticello (Jefferson’s home), Montpellier (Madison’s home) and Ashland Highlands (Monroe’s home). I had never considered that 3 of our first five Presidents lived within 30 miles of each other. They were often visitors at each other’s homes. (If you want to add in George Washington, four of the first 5 lived within a hundred miles of each other.) They played chess against each other, hired each other to work in their administration, fired each other and had great influence on each other. Jefferson had the most. So much of him is reflected in our country and particularly in Virginia. So much good—gentile, thoughtful, practical, curious and bright; so much questionable—secular, controlling (he had a telescope and would watch the construction of the University of Virginia from his back yard in Monticello and he would send angry notes to the builders if they dared alter his plan) and massively in debt (they tried to hold a state lottery so that Jefferson could keep Monticello, but it failed and the house had to be sold after his death). We also toured the University of Virginia (very interesting), Charlottesville and went to a steeplechase at Montpellier—What Fun! Besides this, however, the greatest blessing was just being around our families and students. Our students were a blessing to be around. If you get a chance in the future, come along on the family field trip. Hats off to Julia Reed! Great trip!