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Lynchburg’s Monticello in miniature

Courtesy Lynchburg CVB

Poplar Forest, 10 miles west of  Lynchburg, looks like Thomas Jefferson’s well-known home, Monticello, in miniature.

Jefferson built Poplar Forest as a place to rest, relax and escape the pressures of public life. He stayed there several times a year, sometimes for a month or more.

The house, with floor-to-ceiling windows, alcove beds and skylights, is a perfect octagon, except for a long wing with an innovative flat roof that Jefferson added on the eastern side.

“About twilight of the evening,” he wrote, “we sally out with the owls and bats and take our evening exercise on the terras [the roof].”

In warm weather, groups can too.

“We can erect tents on the lawn for receptions,” said Octavia Starbuck, director of interpretation and education, “and sometimes on top of the wing. People can tour the house, and docents will answer questions.”

The Corporation for Jefferson’s Poplar Forest bought Poplar Forest in 1983 and began restoring it and its landscape to the way it appeared in Jefferson’s day. Work on the home continues.