Wednesday, April 27, 2011

FINALLY! The Highly Anticipated Post About My Trip to Mount Vernon

"Outta my way, Martha!"
My favorite day of our recent trip to D.C. was the day we spent at Mount Vernon.  If you don't already know this about me, I love George Washington.  I was VERY excited to go to his home and do a little walkin' around where he did a lot of his walkin' around.  If you ever go to D.C., I strongly recommend taking a trip to Mount Vernon.  First of all, it is gorgeous, and the mansion is beautiful but way different than I expected, and the museum and educational center are fantastic.  And best of all, it's all GW all the time.  Heaven!  

The first thing we did when we got there is go on the mansion tour.  We couldn't take any pictures on the tour, but if you want to see it you can take a virtual tour at the Mount Vernon Website.  I loved being in the mansion, and what surprised me about it is the dichotomy between how grand it is, and at the same time how primitive it is.  If I was plopped down in 1780 to spend the rest of my life, I would lay down and DIE.  No running water, no indoor toilets, no electricity, no internet, no cell phones, no email, NO BLOGS, no ibuprofen, no diet coke, no refrigeration, no tempurpedic mattresses, no radio, no cars, no infrastructure, no civil rights (unless you had money, white skin, and a penis).  It must have been rough.  There is no way to fully appreciate how wonderful it is to poop in a well-lit, warm, pest-free bathroom that is stocked with toilet paper, and located inside your house; and then wash your hands with warm running water and soap that you didn't have to make yourself out of animal fat.  

The mansion was smaller than I always thought.  Washington spent almost his entire adult life adding on to it and micro-managed the renovations even during his time away fighting in the revolution.  I saw his presidential chair, his actual bed, a silly fan chair that he would sit in on hot days and push foot pedals to make a panel above his head fan him.

fan chair
I also saw the kitchen where the slaves prepared the food.  Oh my god, I would starve to death if my kitchen was like that.  Where is the microwave?  How could I make my Hot Pockets?  I can't imagine making any kind of food over a fire, unless it is hot dogs, and I don't think they only ate hot dogs back in the day at Mount Vernon.  

Cooking over a real live fire.  Just like camping.
After the mansion tour we walked around the grounds for a while.  There is a blacksmith shop that we walked up to and the person dressed like a real old-timey blacksmith said, "We're not open until 9:00!"  It was 8:58.  Blacksmiths were apparently real sticklers for strict time schedules.  

We walked around the front lawn.  It was so beautiful.

Did you know Washington threw a silver dollar across the Potomac right here?
He didn't.  It's a myth.  I can't believe you believed that!  Look how far it is!


After walking around the grounds for a while, we went to visit Washington's tomb.  I got a little misty. 

Then we visited the slave graveyard and memorial.  Again, misty.


After exploring the grounds and the gardens for a while, we headed to the educational center which was awesome.  They have done forensic reconstructions based on Washington's life-mask and a life-like bust, and have made wax figures of what Washington probably looked like at 19 when he was a surveyor:

Pretty nice duds for knockin' around in the woods!
At 45, during the Revolutionary War:

hubba... hubba
And when he took the oath of office:

No, not Rutger Hauer, George Washington!
After the educational center we toured the museum which has the original Houdon bust:

Houdon was a famous French sculptor that went to Mount Vernon to make a life-mask and bust of Washington.  He followed Washington around for a few days to try to capture the essence of the man, and when he saw Washington negotiating the price of some horses and the person quoted a price Washington thought was too high, apparently this was the look he got on his face.
It was the best day ever.  I can't wait to go back again!

3 comments:

  1. I hope Martha didn't mind you horning in on her too much! But thanks for the tour. This was a really interesting post!

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  2. Dana McKibbage WaldbilligApril 29, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    All I keep imagining is you walking around Mt Vernon going, "Why are all these people in my house?? Get out of here! MY house!"

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  3. That's a fantastic picture of the fan chair. Do you think I could use it to show people what I'm talking about on my own blog?

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