Thursday July 23, 2009
First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters, Sasha and Malia, toured the historic Monticello grounds on Thursday.
The home of Thomas Jefferson was closed earlier in the day. Tourists were told the closure was because a V.I.P. tour was taking place. A large crowd gathered waiting to see who the special guests were. Their questions were answered when Mrs. Obama and her family came out of the theater. The First Family waved to the crowd, and everyone applauded.
"It's like a once in a lifetime opportunity to be that close to the president's wife and their children," said Kara Karl, a tourist from Fredericksburg.
"Michelle Obama's definitely very inspirational," added Ash Byrnes, who was visiting Monticello from Washington state. "I'm kind of honored even to...be standing that far away from her."
Officials at Monticello were honored to have such notable guests, saying in an official statement, "We were thrilled to have them. We hope they had a good time. If any other members of the Obama family want to come in the future, we'd be glad to have them."
The motorcade, made up of a police escort and two large, black SUV's with tinted windows, exited the Monticello grounds just before 5:30 pm.
Before leaving Charlottesville, the family stopped at Arch's Ice Cream on the Corner, where they picked up some dessert and surprised the people inside the restaurant.
"You never really think that when you go to work...Michelle Obama's going to come in," said Carolyn Roney, who served the Obamas. "How crazy is that?"
Earlier in the day, the family visited Luray Caverns. In a release, John Shaffer, Director of Public Relations for Luray Caverns, writes, "We were thrilled the first family selected Luray Caverns as a visit to make during their summer break."
Luray Caverns is one of the largest and most visited caverns in the eastern United States.
After visiting the caverns, the family stopped for lunch at the Brookside Restaurant, also in Luray, at around 1 p.m. A restaurant manager says they were given just 15 minutes notice before the family came in, and says the family was very nice.
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