What better way to understand the man behind the legend of General George Washington then to visit his beloved estate, Mount Vernon. Fifty acres open to the public to view and be swept back in time to the late 1700s. There is so much to see and the grounds are gorgeous.
First thing I did once I arrived in the early morning at Mount Vernon was take the Mansion tour. It is truly beautiful inside, and much of the detail was designed by George Washington himself. From these details, you can tell that Washington considered himself to be a farmer first and foremost, for the artwork and architectural designs focus on the daily life and activities of a farmer. After the tour, I wandered the grounds and explored the building. It’s like a mini village! There are salt houses, barns, different living quarters for the workers and managers, and a blacksmith. I also made sure to stop by Washington’s tomb, were I doff my hat to him with great respect. It was a great moment to stand there in front of him, him being one of my most favorite heroes and all.
After the long walk, I hopped on board a sightseeing cruise on the Potomac River. These are 30 minute cruises occur six times daily. I took The Spirit of Mount Vernon and would highly recommend it. It’s a beautiful ship. And while sitting on the upper most deck, you have a marvelous view of the Mansion.
Walking through the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center is like walking through George Washington’s life from his childhood to his death. There are 23 gallery and theatrical displays. The first of which almost looks like you’ve enter into a CSI episode – it was so cool! It explains how the various figures of George Washington on display, depicting different ages and events that occurred through his life, were created. The figures look so real, I almost expected them to be breathing each time I passed one. I also took the Presidential Oath, just for fun! The Museum also displays several artifacts and items that once owned by the Washington family and explains a little about his home life at Mount Vernon. They were the most beautiful treasures I’ve ever seen.
After having lunch at the Mount Vernon Tavern, it was off to the Distillery and Gristmill, which are 2.7 miles from the Mount Vernon Estate. The tour took us through the grounds as you learn about the process of producing flour and cornmeal as well as the precise details that George Washington designed himself for the Gristmill. In 1797, George Washington hired James Anderson, a Scottish farm manager, and was encouraged by Anderson to build a whiskey distillery adjacent to the gristmill (Smart man!). Today, there are five recreated stills and a boiler as the tour guide explains the steps and ingredients used to create Washington’s Whiskey. I couldn’t believe the process, and my mind kept drifting to my character, Joshua, from Death’s Island. If he were real and taking this tour, he would get a real kick out of this place.
Mount Vernon is amazing! There is so much to see and describe! Unfortunately, far more than I can even put into this post. This is definitely one site to see!