Poplar Forest provided Jefferson with a calming atmosphere where he could do his favorite things like reading, thinking, and studying. He was able to write to friends and coworkers, run his farms, garden, and design the landscape and architecture on the grounds. Jefferson enjoyed family time and was able to have his grandchildren visit him at Poplar Forest. He created a library in his house that contained about 1,000 books in many different languages as he could read 6 languages. He kept a portable polygraph in the kitchen in order to copy letters and documents. He visited the home 3 or 4 times a year during all seasons ranging from 2 weeks to 2 months.
On the plantation, Jefferson had some slaves that were inherited from his father in law and some that were purchased. Slaves completed a variety of tasks on the grounds such as fieldwork, road building, weaving, blacksmithing, and gathering wheat. Jefferson sent slave children ages 10-16 to Monticello to learn about trade. Archaeologists have excavated 5 slave cabins. During the 53 years that Jefferson owned the land, many slaves were born and died on the property but the burial sites are unknown.