About 15 years ago, I was on a business trip to Washington D.C. and missed going to Mount Vernon, Virginia. Years later I finally made it there and it did not disappoint!!
Mount Vernon was George Washington’s home for 45 years. The grounds consist of the Mansion, Blacksmith Shop, Slave Quarters, Gardens, Pioneer Farm, Washington’s Tomb, Slave Memorial and Cemetery, Heritage Breed Animals, and the Wharf.
The mansion is furnished and decorated to look as it did in 1799, the year that George Washington died. We took a tour that showed a portion of the mansion with workers in period costumes that made you feel like you were back in those times.
The blacksmith shop and enslaved quarters are original and reconstructed buildings that display what life was like on an 18th century plantation. During the tour, slaves were only referred to as enslaved workers.
The Slave Memorial and Cemetery is a burial ground marked by a memorial honoring the lives and contributions of the enslaved people who lived and worked at Mount Vernon. The area is shaded by trees and an arch to the entrance to give the area a somber feeling of respect.
George Washington is buried alongside his wife, Martha, and near other family members in Washington’s Tomb. The current structure was built in 1831 and the original burial vault is located nearby. They were moved from the original vault due to overcrowding.
The Pioneer Farm is a 4 acre farm which demonstrates Washington’s innovative farming practices. This particular site has a replica of a enslaved cabin and a 16-sided treading barn. The horses would stomp the hay and the grain parts would fall through the holes in the floorboard to be gathered later.
As part of the property, there are four gardens, extensive forested areas and a greenhouse. They are divided in a upper and lower garden, a botanical garden, and a fruit garden. While at Mount Vernon, Washington’s passion was to experiment with different types of plants which provided food for the Mansion table and beautiful gardens to walk through.
By the Pioneer Farm, there is a wharf area where Washington had a successful fishing business. This was also the access for visitors to come to Mount Vernon for a visit with Washington. Sightseeing cruises are offered during the tourist season.
After visiting all the areas, there are two places to eat there. One is the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant where you can enjoy period food in a historic atmosphere and also you can visit the food court. As there is a lot of walking, there is a shuttle that will take you to the Pioneer Farm/Wharf and back. Below is a map of the property. Well worth the trip to Mount Vernon for a step back in time!!