UPDATED 4/17/12 at 3:30 p.m.: This year marked Thomas Jefferson’s 269th birthday. The post has been corrected to reflect that number.
“We thought it only fitting that we honor our former owner, Thomas Jefferson, on what would have been his 269th birthday, Friday, April 13,” says Debbie Land, general manager at the Natural Bridge. All are invited to the Natural Bridge Gift Shop lobby, from 1 to 4 p.m., for birthday cake; and at 2 p.m., a performance by the Rockbridge Youth Strings Ensemble, led by Julia Goudimova, in honor of Mr. Jefferson’s musical talents.
At 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m., visitors who purchase Natural Bridge admission will travel back to the year 1806 beneath the Natural Bridge and meet the guide from a local tavern who first introduced Mr. Jefferson to the immense natural wonder.
Jefferson purchased the rock bridge from the King of England in 1774 to protect it and ensure that people would have the opportunity to see the natural wonder he called, “the most sublime of nature’s works.” He erected a cabin with a guest room and a guest book for visitors to sign. Over the years dignitaries like Andrew Jackson, James Monroe and Daniel Boone visited and signed it. A replica guest book will be debuted, and as of April 13, visitors once again will be able to sign it, as Jefferson intended.
For more information on the Natural Bridge and to purchase discounted Natural Bridge admission go to www.NaturalBridgeVA.com; phone, 800-533-1410. The Natural Bridge, a National Historic Landmark in Rockbridge County, is at U.S. 11 and 130, just off Interstate 81, exits 175 and 180.
– Submitted by MaryAnn Puglisi