June 24, 2013
An Orange County man is changing the way you tour James Madison's Montpelier. Art Magner is lending his horses, carriage and his time to make a difference by offering wagon rides to all the tourists.
When you come to Montpelier, you're probably planning to tour the house, but now thanks to Art Magner, you'll be able to see a lot more without having to walk around the large estate.
Three days a week, Magner and his horses Prince and Jupiter maneuver this carriage taking dozens of tourists on a wagon ride.
"It gives the folks that visit here a way to see scenes and behind the scenes here at Montpelier that normally they would never see," says Magner.
Like the pony barn, which houses the education department or the famous Annie DuPont formal garden behind this wall, an area called the constitution village and more.
"He's a great story teller," says Julie Reed, Montpelier Director of Retail. "So he talks about the horses, he talks about the land, Art really adds to the Montpelier experience and he provides it in a way that reminds me of the 18th century way of life."
Kids along for the ride agree that having wagon tours makes the visit even more fun.
"When they go up the hills and they start running and you see all of the other horses," says Karlia Williams.
"Getting to see all the buildings and stuff," explained Daniel Yancey, when asked what his favorite part of the tour was.
Magner loves horses and enjoys giving people new experiences.
"We had a boy here a few weeks ago that was from a big city and he had never seen a horse before," says Magner. "He didn't know the difference between a horse and a cow and those are the things that touch my heart to give these folks the experience, especially the children."
Magner has only been a part of wagon ride tours for a few months at Montpelier, but it's something he plans to do for a while. He says the best part is having people see new and old sights on grounds, just in a different way.