Mount Vernon

One of the most anticipated events of our vacation was a visit to the home of America’s first First Family, Mount Vernon!

It’s a huge place, with lots of things to see. You start out at the Visitors’ Center, where stained glass depicting major events from George Washington’s life immediately caught my eye:

You can also find a lot of quotes from Washington himself:

And there’s a dollhouse-style replica of the house…as it turns out, this was the only chance we had to see the Lafayette Bedroom, because the actual room was under renovation.

After we left the Visitors’ Center, we took a winding path that finally allowed us a glimpse of the house…it’s quite impressive!

We were a little early for our tour, so we admired some of the landscaping and formal gardens. Washington worked on the grounds himself, and was involved in planning the landscaping, as well.

We also took a look at the slave quarters. I appreciate the honest look at the history of the estate.

On the way to the tour, we admired the outside of the house. I especially liked the covered walkways connecting the different parts of the mansion.

We passed through the first building, which was the Servants’ Hall…not much is actually known about what this space looked like at the time of the Washingtons, and its plain decor reflects that fact.

The home was built in parts, so the first room of the main building (the “New Room” as Washington called it) wasn’t original to the home, but it was a gorgeous addition!

I love all the little details in old homes, like the color and pattern of the carpets and the artwork on display:

The closet under the stairs amused me!

They encouraged us to use the railing on the staircase…the actual, original railing that George Washington himself used!

We also saw the actual key to the Bastille, which was sent to George Washington by Marquis de Lafayette:

I am often astounded by the use of color when I visited historic homes. No matter how often I see how bright things really were (this green is the original color of the room), I always imagine historic locations to be dim and washed-out for some reason. Also, the ceiling is original…isn’t it beautiful?!?

There are several beautiful bedrooms in the home. Pictured here are the good guest bedrooms…I assume the previously-mentioned Lafayette bedroom is lovely, as well.

We saw the place where George Washington spent his last moments on earth. Following his death, Martha moved to an upstairs bedroom because she couldn’t bear to stay in the room where he died.

I really enjoyed seeing Washington’s personal office!

Of particular interest were the fan chair, and the desk with his eyeglasses:

The kitchen was in part of the house complex, and not simply an outbuilding, but it was, as was common at the time, in a separate building from the living spaces.

After we toured the inside of the house, we continued to walk the grounds. We looked into a few outbuildings:

And we came across the ice house:

And the beautiful Potomac views:

We even got to see a musical demonstration, which was really cool!

There is also a museum on the grounds. Here’s just a small look at some of the things we saw, including the original weathervane that graced the roof of the house (there is a replica on top today):

It’s amazing how you can see the layers of history!

We could have spent so much more time at Mount Vernon, because there’s just so much to see there, but I think we got a good overview with the time we had!

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