Virginia, Where We've Been

Mount Vernon

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Mount Vernon

Have you ever gone house shopping and after finding the perfect house, you never want to move again? You would want to spend all your time there to enjoy the beauty of the land and the company of the people who lived there. That was the relationship George Washington had with his estate at Mount Vernon.

Washington was a wealthy man, but he was also a man of duty and sacrifice. There was never a sunrise that came that found Washington still sleeping. When his country came calling, he was ready to answer. Serving to free his fellow countrymen from tyranny as a General in the Revolutionary War and later guiding the newly formed government in its infancy as its President, Washington held strongly to his convictions. Had he not been successful at winning the war, he would not only have lost everything he owned, but probably even his life. 

It was also for personal reasons that he took up arms against Britain. The goods he sold from his estate at Mount Vernon were being unfairly taxed and the goods received in exchange were shoddy. “British economic policies were causing Mount Vernon to lose money and were continually growing Washington’s debt.”

He longed for freedom, both for his country and his home. 

Although lawns are a common sight along the residential roads of modern suburbia, in Washington’s time a lawn was a show of wealth and luxury. Just as lawns need to be cut today, the grass in front of his estate also needed to be cut. Rolling a stone across the lawn, followed by a slash with the sickle, the lawn would have been tamed back to a short length. 

His back yard was even more impressive than the front. It was from here that Washington would spend his time enjoying the serene view of the Potomac River as it washed by on its way to spill out into the Atlantic. 

Ellie imagined Mount Vernon as her home, rolling down the grassy hillside to the shores of the Potomac.

The house itself takes on a look of being made out of stone blocks, but it is not. It’s actually wood that has been shaped at the edges to look beveled, then layered with a mixture of sand in the paint to give it a rough texture.

Inside the house there are several guest rooms as they frequently entertained. They were designed with French style decor and wallpaper patterns as was common in the era.

The key shown below was one of Washington’s most prized possessions. This key was presented to Washington by Marquis de Lafayette in 1790 after the storming of the Bastille in France. With the gates of the Bastille torn down during the uprising in France, they key was a reminder of freedom from tyranny.

I’m seeing a pattern here with green painted dining rooms in all the older houses we’ve been visiting. 

This was Washington’s study. His writing desk centered in the room with a foot controlled fan just above him. The other walls of the room were covered with his library of books. 

Washington refused a third term in office, returning home to enjoy his estate at Mount Vernon. Two short years after returning home, Washington became ill with a sore throat and just hours later, he was gone. The actual cause of his death is unknown, but it is supposed that he died of an infection of some kind that ultimately inflamed his airway and suffocated him. Below is the bed in which he died.

Washington is buried on his estate at Mount Vernon alongside his wife, Martha, who died several years later.

Not far away is a memorial for the slaves who worked at Mount Vernon. In his will, Washington wrote to free all the slaves upon his wife’s death. However, more than half of the slaves they were not legally allowed to free. For the full explanation on this, visit the Mount Vernon website. 

These are some of the buildings used by the workers at Mount Vernon.

One of those buildings was a smokehouse. 

This boat replica was built and placed here on the property as a look at the type of boats that would have been used by Washington in the Revolutionary War. They were flat bottom boats, especially useful in shallow water.

This 16-sided barn was one of Washington’s own design. It was a threshing floor where the horses would trample wheat as they walked in circles around inside it. This would help the wheat berry separate from the stalk.

And fall down in between the slats in the floor to be collected in the underground storage area below.

After touring Mount Vernon, there was a building on site that gave more information into the life of George Washington, through his early years as a surveyor, his early campaigns, his Presidency, and his death in 1799.



Joint Base Andrews, MD

There are a few military campgrounds around the D.C. area, but this one was the closest and at the right price. It’s actually the same base where Air Force One planes are located.

The FamCamp is situated in the between several holes on a golf course. There are plenty of trees around and out away from the golf course so unless someone hit a really bad shot, there’s not much of a chance of getting hit by a ball. 

The office used to be located at the FamCamp, but has since been moved to the recreation office. The building that used to be the office has a few pamphlets and an old foosball table (without a ball). There isn’t much else here for the kids to do, but there is a large picnic area behind our site where we were able to play some soccer. 

Starlink was a bit obstructed by the trees, but still gave us decent yet intermittent service. Verizon, however, gave us a poor signal (1 bar) and was slow.  AT&T came in at 3 bars and was decent with the cell antenna.