Friday, August 6, 2010


Thursday, August 6 - We drove a very short distance to Mount Vernon today. This is one on the few historical sites that charged admission...$7.50 per person. I believe this is because it is operated by The Mount Vernon Ladies Association, a private enterprise.

Marsha meets the first family.


Front of house.


Back facing the Potomac River.


View of the Potomac River from the porch.


Notice the lamp stands. These are all over the farm. They lit the way at night.


When George Washington lived here 1754 until his death in 1799, Mount Vernon was an 8,000-acre plantation divided into five farms. Each farm was a complete unit, with its own overseers, work force of slaves, livestock, equipment, and buildings.

The farm where Washington and his family lived was called the "Mansion House Farm." This is the part of the plantation that visitors see today. Washington developed the  property's 500 acres to create a fitting setting for a country gentleman. He designed the grounds to include a deep border of woods, rolling meadows, serpentine walkways, a pleasure garden, a kitchen garden,and groves of trees. Between the Mansion and the shores of the Potomac River lay an extensive park.

As nearly as possible, Mount Vernon was a self-contained community. Nothing was purchased that could be produced on site. Yet the Mansion House Farm was so well designed that the service lanes did not intrude upon the area reserved for the enjoyment of Washington, his family, and their many guests.

This home has been meticulously restored bases on a 1799 inventory taken at the time of his death. The Washington family continued to live here until 1860, when the estate and 200 acres were purchased by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association. Since that date, the private, not-for-profit organization has maintained and operated Mount Vernon for the benefit of admirers of George Washington. Tours are continuous. There are volunteers that provide informative stories and will answer questions in every room of the house and other buildings. Mount Vernon has been restored as a working plantation with workers dressed in period costumes.


George Washington died in his bedchamber on December 14, 1799 from respiratory problems brought on by influenza. In his will, he directed that he be buried at Mount Vernon. A tribute, which we were able to see, takes place at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Daily. No pictures are permitted when touring the inside of the house. What a shame…it is beautiful. The following pictures of the inside of the house are taken from the website. You take a virtual tour of the inside of the house by clicking here.


This room was beautiful. It is all green. George’s favorite color.


George and Martha’s bedroom. This is the bed were George died.


Now for our pictures.

Old Vault



New Vault. George is on the right. There are now 25 members here.


Near Washington's Tomb is a slave memorial  The original grave markers have disappeared over the years and the identities of approximately 75 individuals buried there are mostly unknown.



The gardens include a wide variety of flowers and trees. The Lower Garden, known as one of the most noteworthy Colonial Revival gardens in America, supplied fresh produce for the busy plantation. The fruit garden and nursery was used to grow cherry, apple, pear and other trees, as well as to experiment with new seeds and plants.



Nearly half of Washington's 8000 acres was native woodland in the 18th century. There is a quarter mile trail providing a glimpse of the wilderness that supplied firewood and lumber. This area also supplied wild game for the dining table and provided a source of entertainment and exercise for Washington and other avid fox hunters who visited the estate.

Washington's farming and fishing businesses required a wharf to transport goods by boat to Alexandria. The present day wharf was built in the 19th century and restored in 1991. Cruises are available daily. Where the wharf is now is not where it was located in Washington’s time. The hill was too steep to bring a carriage up. Look at the picture and image 10 miles to the right. That is where the original wharf was located.


Stable - Did you know that, among all of his other accomplishments, it was George Washington who introduced the mule to American agriculture?







Wash House - George Washington once compared his home to a "well-resorted tavern," referring to the large number of visitors that he and Martha entertained. One satisfied guest remarked that the Mount Vernon slaves, "took care of me, of my linen, and my clothes."


Martha Washington carefully supervised the preparation of the hams and bacon that were eaten by the Washingtons and their guests. Indeed, of all the food produced at Mount Vernon, Martha was especially proud of her hams.





Clerk's Quarters & Paint Cellar - General Washington employed secretaries and clerks to help with his plantation businesses. In 1799, Albin Rawlins, a clerk at the Mansion House Farm, lived in these quarters. Beneath the clerk quarters was located the paint cellar. Unlike today, paint was not purchased from a store 200 hundred years ago. Instead, dry pigments were ordered from as far away as London and mixed with ingredients such as linseed oils and water to create the colors you see on the estate.  Paint pigments were very expensive and were stored under lock and key to prevent theft.








Textile production was vital to achieving self-sufficiency at Mount Vernon. Washington practiced selective breeding of sheep to produce better quality wool, grew flax and hemp for making linen cloth and rope, and experimented with cultivating cotton and silk.



Mount Vernon's reconstructed Blacksmith Shop opened April 1, 2009 after years of research and archaeology.  In fact, the reconstruction is located on the site of George Washington's original shop, just 200 feet from the Mansion.  The blacksmith was critical to the operation of a large plantation.  Some of the projects were relatively mundane- making nails and hooks, mending well-worn pots and pans, and crafting shoes for Washington's horses.  But the blacksmith was also challenged by Washington to create a plow of his own design, and to make intricate parts for pistols and rifles.  If there was any time to spare, the blacksmith undertook small jobs from Washington's neighbors to increase the cash flow.



Because the Washingtons had so many dinner guests, the kitchen bustled with activity day and night. Baking, roasting, broiling, frying and stewing were all accomplished here, both in the fireplace and over piles of hot coals burning at several locations on the hearth. The kitchen was not attached to the house.



Also included on the grounds of Mount Vernon is the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center. This museum offers a memorable experience that spans George Washington's lifetime. It includes a comprehensive collection of objects in a state of the art facility. There are multimedia presentations detailing Washington's life. Together, 23 gallery and theaters show the real George Washington and his accomplishments. You can easily spend a couple hours here viewing the films and many actual pieces of Washington memorabilia.

Mount Vernon is very well done and worth every cent of the entrance price. We had a wonderful day visiting this home and the museums. We highly recommend a visit!

We still has more to share with you like the Air and Space Museum, Eisenhower building, etc. We’ll share these on days we are resting…don’t hold your breath. It may take awhile.

Next stop Williamsburg…Need to rest all day Friday for Marsha’ next site seeing tour…GEESH!

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you again real soon.

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