Thank you to Monticello’s Public Relations staff for providing me with Press Passes. Every employee I came into contact with was kind, helpful, and very accommodating. My family and I thank you for a wonderful experience.
The Heritage Harvest Festival At Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
On September 10, 2016, I had the pleasure of attending my first Heritage Harvest Festival (HHF) at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. In its 10th year, the HHF “celebrates Jefferson’s legacy in a fun, affordable, family-oriented, educational event promoting gardening, sustainability, local food, and the preservation of heritage plants.”
The temperature may have been in the 90’s but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the educational, culinary, gardening, tasting, and shopping events that were available throughout the property.
The Tasting Tent provided attendees with an opportunity to meet farmers, educators, and non-profits at the center of the local food movement. Samples included cheeses, fruits and vegetables, cider, jams, syrups, coffee and chocolates. I may have sampled one, or twenty things. I lost count.
A local favorite–Farmstead Ferments was busy handing out samples and answering questions about their products (sauerkraut, water kefir soda, kraut juice, and other strange brews). I tried to get my hubby to taste the kraut juice but he just wasn’t having it.
The festival had plenty of local Vendors which I absolutely love because it’s a great way to support small businesses and discover new products. I stopped dead in my tracks when I spotted the display above. I’d read about them in a magazine a few weeks earlier.
The Market at Grelen is famous for its gorgeous panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s a highly sought after destination for weddings and photo shoots but there’s more to The Market than saying “I do.” They also grow and make their own products (like the salve in the photo above).
The Market at Grelen also has a cafe on site where their very own chef makes delicious creations (sourced from local farmers and the products they grow themselves). I had the opportunity to taste one of their ice creams and OMG—it was the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted in my life. And yes, I tried all three flavors.
Leslie Gregg, the creative director at The Market at Grelen, invited me for a Fall visit. I plan on taking her up on the offer so keep an eye out for a post that will include lots and lots of photos of my experience.
When I wasn’t eating or shopping, I was enjoying the one on one time with my husband and granddaughter. It’s never too early to introduce the kiddos to the beauty and history at Monticello.
One of the local farms brought a few of its four-legged residents. My granddaughter was fascinated by the llama. Of course, she liked the donkey, horses, and sheep too. 🙂 Side note: she’s a cat lover like her grandma. 😉
Since education is a big part of the Monticello experience, the HHF had period-dressed storytellers on hand.
Workshops were held throughout the day so attendees could further entrench themselves in seed-saving, botanical medicine, heirloom varieties, sustainable agriculture, organic gardening, edible landscaping, regional cookery, and other aspects of sustainable living.
I was scheduled to attend the Medicine Making 101 workshop but I lost track of time while having fun with my granddaughter and husband. Time evades me whenever I visit historical sites full of natural beauty, food, and friendly people.
If you ever get the opportunity to attend the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello, I definitely recommend buying the VIP tickets. The tent and the amenities it provided were a welcome respite from the heat. While I fed my granddaughter lunch, I was able to recharge with an ice-cold Pellegrino while my husband tried his first Virginia-made hard cider. The Beer and Wine Garden at HHF served beer, wine, and cider from locally grown makers.
At the end of the day, we were exhausted but only because we had such a great time. The food, drinks, vendors, storytellers, and staff made it a memorable visit.
The Heritage Harvest Festival was well-organized and family friendly. Clean bathrooms were readily available and there was adequate shade and seating. The grounds are hilly with a few dirt paths but it is definitely wheelchair accessible. We had little difficulty maneuvering my granddaughter’s stroller throughout the property. With plenty of activities for the kiddos and parents, the HHF was an enjoyable way to spend the day. I look forward to next year’s festival and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will be cooler.