Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Day at Mount Vernon

Last Wednesday, Grandmom and I took the kiddos to Mount Vernon for a fun, fun tour of George Washington's estate.  When we set out that morning, we left home with one primary objective-- purchase tickets for, and subsequently participate in, the National Treasure tour.  (Several months ago, when we saw National Treasure 2:Book of Secrets I resolved to take my boys to Mount Vernon in the near future. I thought they'd thoroughly enjoying tracing Nicholas Cage's steps through the tunnels AND while there, learn a few fun facts, too.)  So.... this past week, Hubby was out of town on travel, Grandmom was here to help me stay sane, and the tour ended on October 31st... Wednesday was the perfect day to go!

The trip was a fabulous success!  The boys loved walking through the cellar (they recognized all the "hot spots" from the movie) and they also really enjoyed the mansion tour.  We timed it perfectly-- a five minute wait as opposed to the normal 45 or so.  While in the house (no photography allowed... bummer!) we learned that 45% of the home furnishings are the original pieces; the rest are all reproductions.  Washington's bed, which he had custom made to fit his 6' 2" frame, still stands in the bedroom he shared with Martha. The desk and chair he used throughout his entire presidency still sits in his private study.  A key from the Bastille gate still hangs in the main foyer.  Lafayette gave it to him ages ago with a note-- "from the son of liberty to the father of all liberty."  And Washington's rifle and shotgun still stand in the corner by his desk, likely where he kept them all those years ago.

This was my first trip to Mount Vernon; hopefully not my last.  Every aspect of our visit-- from the National Treasure tour to our walk through the mansion to our encounters with various and sundry employees (including characters in costume) to our trip through the museum-- was top notch.  We all enjoyed it so much that we hope to return in the spring.  We simply did not have enough time on Wednesday to see and do everything we would have liked.  So on a pretty day in April or May, we'll hop back in the car and head up the road towards the Potomac River to Washington's cozy little place (hee hee)-- it'll be well worth the wait!

The river side of the home~

The big tree in the background, the one closer to the middle of the photo-- it's a Swamp Chestnut Oak planted by Washington himself.  Only 5 original trees remain on the property; the other 4 are all Tulip Poplars, I think.
Washington's view of the Potomac River... can you imagine waking up with a hot cup of cocoa every morning on that front porch??
Washington's Riding Chair, and behind it, his sleigh.

The Lower Gardens

And lastly, a photo with Washington himself.  Well, sort of ~

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