Poplar Forest Tour: Register by April 16

On Saturday, June 18, 2011 Architects + Artisans will host a behind-the-scenes tour of Thomas Jefferson’s architectural masterpiece and Palladian retreat, Poplar Forest, near Lynchburg, Va.

Deadline for reservations for the tour is Friday, April 16, 2011.

Travis McDonald, director of architectural restoration at the estate, will offer a guided, room-by-room commentary of the octagonal-shaped main building, as well as its design and construction and that of surrounding structures.  McDonald was appointed to lead the architectural restoration of Poplar Forest when restoration began in 1989. He holds a master’s degree in architectural restoration from the University of Virginia.

Jack Gary, director of archeology and landscape, will lead participants through a tour of excavations and plantings at the Palladian villa.  Gary joined Poplar Forest in 2006, and has worked mightily to uncover and restore the estate’s important archaeological legacy. He received his undergraduate training in anthropology and history at the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in historical archaeology from the University of Massachusetts in Boston.

“We are pleased and delighted to offer this fascinating tour of one of American’s first modern buildings, designed by one of the nation’s most gifted architects,” said J. Michael Welton, publisher of Architects + Artisans and writer for a number of regional and national design publications.  “A+A has published more posts on Poplar Forest than any other topic, and still has barely managed to scratch the surface regarding its meaning and symbolism for architects, landscape designers and historians alike.”

Built between 1806 and 1826, Poplar Forest is the work of a master designer exploring both geometry and landscape as architectural elements.  By the time it was finished, Jefferson had already designed Monticello in Charlottesville, the state capitol in Richmond, two wings for the White House in Washington, and the campus for the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.  Poplar Forest served as his retreat from public life, and an agrarian estate on more than 4,800 acres of farmland near the James River.

The one-day motor coach tour will depart from a central location in Raleigh, N.C at 8 AM on the 18th, arrive at the estate by 11:30 AM, and return by 6 PM.  A light breakfast will be served en route, with lunch upon arrival.  Cost for transportation, meals and admittance is $62.00.

Seating is limited.  To sign up, click on the “Poplar Forest” box on A+A’s front page, send an email to mike@architectsandartisans.com, or call 919.562.1725.

For more on Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, go to:






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