After one of the snowiest winters recorded in history for the Washington, DC metropolitan area, Capital Semester students are looking forward to spending a day at historic Mount Vernon, home of George and Martha Washington, this spring.
Acquired by the Ladies of Mount Vernon, this historic site is open to the public 365 days each year. There are many things to see and learn about the way George and Martha lived. These include, touring the farm house they built and lived in, the Donald W. Reynolds Education Center and Museum with seven different theatres all dedicated to different aspects of their lives and home to George Washington’s dentures, the Gristmill where they turned wheat into Whisky, a private cemetery where they currently reside, a restaurant that will take you back in time with their homemade apple pie and spiced cider, and a guided boat tour up the Potomac River.
Visitors to Mount Vernon can enjoy a guided tour of the farm house George Washington inherited. In 1757, he renovated the house to create a 20 room, 2 ½ story mansion with a porch that extends the width of the house overlooking the Potomac. It is hard to find a more peaceful and serene place than sitting on President Washington’s back porch in a rocking chair overlooking the Potomac River. He also built over 12 outbuildings which are currently used for historic reenactment to give visitors an idea of how the people who worked for George Washington lived on the plantation.
DISTILLERY & GRISTMILL
What some people don’t know about our founding father is that he was not only a great commander in chief and leader for our country but also an innovative farmer and successful businessman. At the time the Distillery was built, it was the largest in America and produced 11,000 gallons of whiskey in its first year. The Gristmill on the other hand which produced flour and cornmeal used an innovate technique, powered by a 16 foot waterwheel which received the third patent awarded in this country, US Patent No. 3.
Mount Vernon is beautiful to visit in the spring, but I also recommend visiting for the various special events they hold on the weekends and in the evenings. It is also the perfect place to visit on Thanksgiving and during the December holiday season when the home is adorned with period decorations and visitors can enjoy candlelit tours. In fact, on October 3, 1789 George Washington declared the first Thanksgiving Day observed by the US government. It is this time of year that exotic animals such as camels and elephants can appear at Mount Vernon. Since there were no zoo’s for people to visit in the 1700’s, George Washington would pay to have animals shipped to his plantation from foreign countries to learn and study these fascinating animals.
One of the most popular tours at Mount Vernon held March through December is the National Treasure Tour which highlights items and places found at Mount Vernon that were filmed in the making of the action-packed movie, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets starring Nicholas Cage. Not only do you get the behind the scenes look of NT2 but you also get to experience the historical significance of these places from George Washington’s perspective. It’s the perfect blend of Hollywood and history!
DIRECTIONS (Public Transportation)
For those of you who do not have a car, Mount Vernon is easily accessible via public transportation. Hop on the metro and ride to the Huntington Metro Stop. From there you will transfer to the Fairfax 101 Connector bus which will drop you off right outside the front gates of the Plantation.
If you are interested in visiting Mount Vernon or want to learn more about his estate, click on the following link: http://www.mountvernon.org/.