Thursday, September 30, 2010

Vacation 2010: Day 4 – Mount Vernon

IMG_0129 On day four we went to tour Mount Vernon with Alana, Mitch and Madison. We cut it out of our trip last time we were here because we ran out of time, but really wanted to go.IMG_0067 IMG_0070I am so glad we went.

We were not allowed to take pictures inside the house,  due to many of the original pieces inside the home, but we were able to take pictures outside, which we took full advantage of :) IMG_0081_bwSadly, Lexa pitched a fit on the second half of the tour, which didn’t bother us (or the tour guides) any, but probably did bother the 12-15 people that were in the group with us. IMG_0079_bwWalking around the grounds went much smoother, Lexie straightened up and we were able to see, the tomb where both George and Marth Washington are buried, some of the barns and the lower gardens, which I should just say is AMAZING – certainly an inspiration to a wannabe vegetable garden grower.

IMG_0140IMG_0134The Mount Vernon has a beautiful, hilly view over the Potomac River, a perfect spot for pictures.

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IMG_0100 IMG_0103 IMG_0105After we toured the grounds we headed towards the museum and shops. We skipped the museum (due to the kids) but made it to the hands-on history section for kids. Here the kids were allowed to play with a Mount Vernon Doll House (not an exact replica from what I could tell), dress up like the revolutionary time-period, do puzzles, color, and more.      

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This is the first introduction Treyton has had to American history and he really soaked it up. We’ve never talked about any history other than Biblical history, and I think this was a GREAT way to introduce American history to him. He is certainly intrigued and realizes that history is real, and not just stories that we read about. I actually picked up a couple of books in the gift shop that I am going to start reading to him to keep the ball rolling.

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Some of the things I learned from the tour:

~ George Washington was not only our first (and only unanimously) voted president, but a great entrepreneur and farmer. He extended his Mount Vernon estate from 2000 acres to 8000 in his lifetime. IMG_0138

~ Part of his entrepreneur ventures included at distillery where he made whiskey. His distillery made 11,000 gallons of whiskey a year which was the most of any distillery in the country at that time. He also ran a mill where he ground wheat, which he could then export.

~ George Washington had no children of his own (which I knew), Martha Washington brought in two step-children into the marriage.

IMG_0114~ Washington died in 1799. And is buried on Mount Vernon. He is not buried in the original location that he was buried at after his death, but in a tomb that he had instructed in his will to be built.   

~ Washington stood at 6’ 2.5” which was considered very tall for the time. The average height at this point in history was 5’ 8”IMG_0098 ~ Mount Vernon is a 21-room mansion, that originally consisted of 4 rooms and a foyer. George Washington continued adding to and building on Mount Vernon until he died.

~ Hospitality was a huge part of the social culture during the revolutionary time period, travelers would often stay in people’s homes along the route of their journey rather than inns (which were hard to come by). Mount Vernon housed over 677 guests in one single year. IMG_0066 copy~ Mount Vernon was built with wood, but covered and made to look like bricks.

~ Mount Vernon’s gardens are surrounded by brick walls. These walls were not merely for protection, but helped to keep heat in the garden, allowing vegetables to grow longer in the “colder” Virginia weather.

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(I love this picture of Madison, it looks like she is telling me, she has had enough pictures. In reality she was clapping, but still… cute)

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