Saddle up for Constitution Day


Have you thought about how you will travel to Constitution Day 2012? This week in our continuing series on Montpelier’s September 22 Constitution Day celebration, we will talk about an interesting way to travel to the festivities: the Liberty Ride.

James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, not surprisingly, purportedly named his favorite horse Liberty. Madison regularly surveyed Montpelier on Liberty, who had “grown old in his service.” Like many of today’s pets, Liberty was quite spirited. Our research team supplied the following description:

“[Madison's] … favorite horse ‘Liberty’ … well deserved his name;
not a gate which he could not open—nor, any outrage which cattle
could commit—was not … ascribed to ‘Liberty’ Mr. Madison, in
his humorous way, often repeated these amusing and generally
false tales of his disused horse, but never curtailed his freedom.”
[Mary Estelle Elizabeth Cutts Memoir II, [1849-1856],
Cutts Family Collection of Papers of James and Dolley Madison,
Library of Congress, Washington, DC.]

This year, a new event, the Liberty Ride, will take visitors on an 11-mile horseback and horse-drawn wagon ride to Montpelier’s Constitution Day celebration. The ride will begin at 10:00 a.m. at Oakland Heights Farm on Route 15 in Gordonsville, Virginia. Participants will meet at Oakland Heights at 7:00 a.m. The return trip will depart Montpelier at 1:00 p.m. The ride will take approximately two hours each way.

The Liberty Ride will have some special guests, too! James and Dolley will join the group in their carriage for the final part of the journey, leading riders to their beloved home. Also, Miss Rodeo Virginia 2012 Lindsey Harper, will mingle with riders throughout the day.

Liberty Ride tickets are $40 per entry (one horse and one rider or one wagon and two handlers) and $30 per wagon rider. Each ticket includes participation in the trail ride, a picnic lunch on the lawn of the Montpelier mansion, and a $5 discount on a future Montpelier visit. Individuals without horses may register as wagon passengers on a first come, first served basis. These openings are subject to wagon availability. Advance registration is required and may be completed on the Orange County Parks and Recreation website.
Proceeds will benefit the Orange County Parks and Recreation and Montpelier.

What are you waiting for? Saddle up and we’ll see you at Constitution Day 2012!










Montpelier Staff