Friday, March 23, 2012

Family Trip, part 4 (or Where We Visit Mount Vernon)

Another of our very favorite parts of our trip was going to Mount Vernon. Now, this is where I have to admit that I didn’t really remember exactly what the significance of Mount Vernon was before we were in Alexandria. (I know, terrible, but history is really not one of my strong subjects!) Once I read the blurb about it in the tourist guide we picked up somewhere I did remember a bit more, but still really was fairly ignorant about it.

(Don't you love that Aleah is holding George Washington's hand?!?)
So, for those of you who don’t know, Mount Vernon was the home of George Washington. It is where he grew up, and then where he raised his family (except of course when he was the president). I don’t really know how to describe what a wonderful experience it was visiting this incredible historic site. It isn’t incredibly flashy or fancy, doesn’t have any rides to go on, and doesn’t even have smoothly paved walkways to get from place to place. It does have gift shops (of course). It also has an incredible aura of the history that it holds.

We spent our time there starting in the visitor center where we attempted to watch a brief video on the life of George Washington, but some of our family got a bit overwhelmed when they showed some war reenactment scenes (probably didn’t help that we were in the front row…thanks Dylan). After that attempt we got our maps of the property, and headed out to explore.

We got to take a look in the many buildings that were on the property including the slave quarters, blacksmith shop, cook shack, livery and many more.

It is a very rural setting, considering it is so close to Washington DC. There are animals, gardens, and during the peak tourist season, they even have people reenacting what farming during this time period was like.

One of the things Aleah wanted to be sure everyone knew is that when she went to pet one of the sheep,
it turned around and started scratching its backside on the fence right in front of us. It was very funny!

We got to take a tour of the main house which is still basically left as it was when George and Martha lived there. Even the paint on the walls is the original colors still! You aren’t allowed to take pictures in the main house, so I don’t have any from in there (yes, I followed the rules). Apparently there are a group of women who own Mount Vernon and they want to protect the integrity of the home.

Climbing the hill by the river in the back yard of the main house

A huge old pecan tree in the back yard...very cool
The beginning of the melt-down
The big brother trying to help out. How sweet is that?!?
We walked down a fairly steep path and staircase to the Potomac River on which the property is located. It is an absolutely beautiful setting and the weather was perfect, if a bit windy.

For anyone who knows Dylan, this picture shouldn't surprise you...

It was somewhere around this point of our time there that Aleah totally melted down. She was tired, hungry, and didn’t see the importance of all those old buildings. Poor girl had hit the wall!

She and daddy went to the food court (yep, in the midst of all that history, they may not have had any rides, but they did have a food court!) while Dylan and mom went to the gift shops. Things didn’t improve significantly even with some food (that is usually a given in improving her mood!), so we arranged for our ride back to our hotel and headed home. Aleah fell asleep on the ride back, and then she and I took a nap in the hotel room while Dylan and Mike wandered Old Town, ate wings for supper, and sat down by the river for a long time. Not a very exciting afternoon/evening for me, but having a well-rested girl was worth it!
Remind me to tell you a little about our very own private driver we hired for the trip in another post. Ok, maybe we didn’t hire him for the entire trip, but we did have a great driver we ended up calling on multiple times during our week there since we didn’t have a car. Ah, the good life…
So, in a nutshell (or maybe a coconut shell since this is kind of a long post), that is our trip to Mount Vernon!

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