Monday, December 11, 2006

Mount Vernon, A National Resource

A few months ago, I posted about going to a Jazz Festival at Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate. In that post, I think I mentioned the fact that we go there every year as part of my birthday celebration. Well, you know that my birthday was last wednesday, so last friday, we went to Mount Vernon for our annual Candlelight Tour.

We had a scheduled arrival time of 5 P.M., so we didn't have a lot of time to fool around when I got home from work. Mrs Gunfighter had the day off, so she was pretty much ready right away. While Mrs G. went to pick up O from school, I climbed out of all my gear. I ditched my uniform and took off my patented Batman utility belt, and changed into jeans and a more comfortable belt, so that my holster wasn't digging into my side.

As soon as O got home and changed, we were out the door.

We live about 15 miles from Mount Vernon, which isn't far, but those of you who know about friday traffic in the DC area, understand that one little problem can wreck traffic patterns for hours! Luckily, our drive was uneventful, except for hearing a new version of "Holly Jolly Christmas" (I love that song! Susan... not so much).

Once we got to Mount V, we entered through the new museum that is onsite. We didn't have time to go through all of it, but I am really looking forward to doing so very soon.

We enterd the grounds of the estate, where staff members in period clothing (think 1797) served hot apple cider and these really great, thin ginger wafers, which Olivia loved (well, all three of us did).

We were in the second group called and began our tour with a docent, Stephanie, whom we were certain was rather new. Stephanie led us up the path to the mansion, pointing out items of interest and answering questions until we got to the front of the house, where we were met by Captain Posey, a neighbor of the General, whose home is 5 miles downriver (that was a near neighbor in those days!). Captain Posey explained that in 1797, a person needed a letter of introduction to be admitted into the presence of the great man, himself, and asked the group if we had such a thing. Well, luckly for us, a certain 8 year old girl that I know did, in fact, have such a thing, which had been given to her by the aforementioned Stephanie. Olivia presented the letter to Captain Posey, who bowed as he accepted it, and we were led into the mansion.

As we entered the mansion via the dining room, we were met by Lady Washington (played by quite the famous re-enactor) who talked to us for about 3 minutes (all in character, before we progressed throught the rest of the house. The house itself is remarkable in it's size, mainly because in today's era of McMansions, the Mount Vernon house isn't terribly large... but for 1797, it was quite the thing, I am certain.

After seeing the rooms, which included the room in which General Washington died, we went out through the study, where we were met by The General's secretary, Mr Tobias Lear (also played by a great, and familiar reenactor).

We ended the tour with a stroll around the grounds, on this windy, cold night, absolutely loving the stillness and the smell of the various wood fires that were burning in the fireplaces in the house, and elsewhere. We strolled past the greenhouse, the estate laundry, the slave quarters, and gardens before heading to the Mount Vernon gift shop/bookstore.

While in the bookstore, I showed some discipline and only bought one book (well, one for me and one for Olivia) while Susan bought three books (and one for Olivia).

If you've never been in that gift/book shop, you must go. You'll love it.

It was 7 P.M. when we finished and we were ready for dinner, so away we went, serene and happy.

Let me tell you something, friends. If any of you ever get to the Washington, DC area, you must take advantage of this place. Mount Vernon is a historical resource that is not to be missed. Truust me (and you know that your pal Gunfighter is trustworthy) when I tell you that if you have any sense of the historical, you will love Mount Vernon.

Don't miss it.

Those of you that live in this area... what are you waiting for? Close your browser and go to Mount Vernon. Now!




Janet M. Kincaid said...

It's been too long since I've been there and I need to go back. Perhaps I'll do that this weekend....

And those cookies Olivia really liked? The Martha Washington Ginger Cookies? I'll send you the recipe. My mother has it. She got it at Woodlawn Plantation and supposedly it's the same recipe Martha used when she was First Lady of Mount Vernon.

Tasha said...

My parents took me there when I was about Olivia's age, but I'd like to see it again from an adult perspective. Maybe Mr. Tasha and I will go this weekend, thanks for the idea!

Grimm said...

I am such a novice history buff but this is the kinds of things I love to see.

However, vacations are few and far bewteen, but I will definately make a push for this.

BTW, Don't hate me or anything but I tagged you for a meme. I don't have many friends, LoL!

Leslie said...

Sounds like a wonderful time!

I've never been to Washington D.C. but would love to visit.

Oh, and my favorite version of "Holly Jolly Christmas" is the one by Burl Ives.

Janet said...

Hmmm, perhaps I will have to take my Mommy there. You will be pleased to hear that I booked the last week in May and the first week in June for a long, leisurely visit to Maryland and Virginia with my Mom. Can't wait to see you again.

Anonymous said...

I lived in that area back in 1989-90 and lived right down the street from Mt. Vernon, though I never went on a tour and have regretted it ever since. Would love to come back and go on a tour. Thanks for sharing. I do have the Woodlawn Plantation cookbook that Janet was talking about. Thanks for the reminder Janet!

Lawyer Mama said...

I love Mount Vernon. I've been several times. I've never been at night though...