Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A visit to Mount Vernon, a national treasure


Mount Vernon
They call it a "privately-owned treasure" and no truer words were ever spoken. A trip to Mount Vernon is like taking a step back in time AND a step into the classroom. Whether you're interested in history, agriculture, old homes, Colonial living, gardens or Virginia culture, you will find it all at Mount Vernon.

George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of American forces in the Revolutionary War and the first President of the United States, called the beautiful estate of Mount Vernon home for more than 40 years. Situated along the Potomac River in Northern Virginia, Mount Vernon is actually the most popular historic estate in the United States, and has been toured by more than 80 million visitors.

A display at the museum.
An interesting fact I learned on my recent visit is that Washington's estate is owned by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, and is run at no expense to taxpayers. This private, non-profit organization does not accept government grants or tax dollars of any kind. That is amazing!

Another interesting component of a visit to Mount Vernon is that you can tour the main Mansion as well as more than a dozen original structures. Visitors can also see a working blacksmith shop and a working demonstration farm, as well as Washington’s Tomb where both he and Martha are entombed.

Alladin is on loan at Mount Vernon
through Christmas. George Washington
 paid to bring exotic animals to the
estate for his visitors.
There is also a Museum and Education Center that features 25 theaters and galleries. The center tells the detailed story of George Washington's life with more than 500 original artifacts, 11 video presentations, and even an immersion theater experience.

Just three miles down the road from the Mansion, is George Washington’s Distillery and Gristmill that have been reconstructed and are open seasonally.

Mount Vernon is an American landmark and a lasting reminder of the life and legacy of the Father of Our Country. I'm lucky that I live less than two hours away, but it is worth the effort to visit it no matter where you live!

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And I quote...

"[L]et us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor, and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died."
--Ronald Reagan at Pointe du Hoc, 1984