In 1799, James Monroe and his family moved into Highland, their Albemarle "cabin castle," adjacent to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. Jefferson, Monroe's teacher and close friend, had previously urged him to move to the area to create a "society to our taste."
Today, guided tours of the fifth president's home are offered daily and explore Monroe's contributions to the early American republic over 50 years of public service. Set on more than 500 acres, the house, which includes a rich collection of original and period French and American furniture, is nestled along a ridge with a landscape preserved much like Monroe would have known it. Across the service yard, the reconstructed slave quarters stand alongside two original outbuildings.
People of all ages delight in strolling through the boxwood gardens, gazing up at the majestic 300-year-old Monroe Oak, and visiting with the resident sheep, chickens, and peacock that complete the bucolic atmosphere.
The Museum Shop features carefully selected Ash Lawn-Highland memorabilia, historical keepsakes, and an extensive line of books. Visitors can take home or share a piece of Virginia from the Artisans Room, which showcases locally handmade pottery, unique woodwork, fibers, stained glass, candles, quilts, leather goods, and jewelry.