Saturday, May 05, 2012

I Shall Not Tell A Lie

We had so much fun beating through the traffic on Thursday morning that we decided to do it again only this time we were off to visit George and Martha in their humble abode in Mount Vernon, Virginia.  The goal was to find that infamous cherry tree stump.

George Washington’s home was built in 1757 with Washington being the primary architect.  The property was made up of some 8,000 acres which was divided into five different farms.  George was quite an entrepreneur in that everything needed to sustain his farms was created right on Mount Vernon’s grounds.  Services and products from the various shops were sold throughout the local community.   Besides the farms, he built a gristmill to process his and his neighbors’ grain for exporting and a distillery for making whiskey.  He, also, engaged in a fishing enterprise on the Potomac River where “they” would process around 6,000 pounds of herring during each year’s fishing season. 

Of course, there was his military service during the French and Indian Wars, the five years of service as Major General and Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, a year of service in the creation of the Constitution of the United States, and eight years as POTUS (President of the United States).  While he was away from Mount Vernon managers oversaw the daily operations of the estate as well as the other farms and businesses.  Anyway, we won’t go any further into George Washington’s history here because if you’re into history you can just “Google It” or go to your public library.

Once we arrived at Mount Vernon, the first thing we did (or probably say the second thing we did ‘cause the first thing was to hit the restrooms) was to take in the orientation films.  We were greeted by George and Martha with two of their grand children (It’s all about grand children, ya know?).  The visitors center houses a beautiful stained glass window depicting the reading of the Declaration of Independence.  We watched a quick orientation film and then a very well done film documenting Washington’s Christmas day attack on Trenton, New Jersey. 


Next it was off to walk the grounds.


We began with the gardens.  There is what is known as the Upper Gardens which is primarily flowers and shrubbery.

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While the Lower Gardens are for fruits and vegetables.  George Washington was deeply involved in horticulture and finding better methods for gardening.

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Behind the Upper Gardens were some of the Slave Quarters.  Mount Vernon and the other four farms required over 300 slaves for operation.  These were the quarters used by single slaves.  Washington believed in keeping families together so there were family housing units located throughout the five farms as well.

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As stated before, Mount Vernon had all the various shops required to run the estate located right on the premises.  Here are pictures of the Shoemaker’s shop, the Spinning House, and the Blacksmith’s Shop along with the Salt Storage Shed and the Smoke House.

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And, of course, when George was away someone had to oversee the operation.  Here are some of the buildings that housed the shops along with the Overseers Bunkhouse and the Gardener’s Bunkhouse.  

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Next it was onto the stables where some of George and Martha’s rides were on display.  One was a Chair Wagon and the other a beautiful coach.

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Then we made our way around to the Washington tombs.  There is the old tomb where Washington was first interned upon his death at 67 in 1799, two years after serving as the first President of the United States.  His will had called for the construction of a new tomb which was completed in 1831 where the President and First Lady now rest in peace. 

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Finally, we toured the house itself.  No photographs were allowed inside, but here is one taken of the front and one of the rear of Mount Vernon.  A beautiful estate to say the least.  Fitting of a President.



The views from the porch on the back of the home are stunning.  George Washington wrote, “No estate in the United America is more pleasantly situated than this ….”.

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The next thing on the agenda was the Donald N. Reynolds Museum and Education Center.  Unfortunately our time was running out so we didn’t get to spend the time in the Museum that we would have liked.  There is so much to see and do in that center that it will require us to make another trip to Mount Vernon.  There are nine theaters and lots and lots of displays, including George’s wooden false teeth, on hand for viewing.  And, oh yes, we found that which we embarked on in the first place – a piece from that infamous cherry tree.


And before we leave you, here are some photographs of a model of Mount Vernon which include George Washington’s office and the Master Bedroom. 




We had enjoyable day at Mount Vernon and look forward to a return trip this coming fall.  Hope you’ve enjoyed our photographs and . . . .

May God Bless  - - - - - - - -

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