Personally, I blame my junior high social studies club. Yes, I was that much of a nerd. The club itself was great. We had to work the social studies fair and in return we took saturday field trips to historical sites in south Louisiana. It seems we always went to at least one plantation every trip. I never enjoyed the planation trips. Too much information about the decor and not enough about the history. Then, on my trips to Washington DC as both a student and a teacher, I felt the same way about the White House. I don’t want to see place settings; I want to see history. It’s really not the building’s fault, but more of how it is presented. There have been exceptions to this rule. Windsor Castle was an amazing experience. And Mount Vernon has always been an exception.
So on the Tuesday, known as Mardi Gras in God’s country, of our trip, we headed out to Mt Vernon. It might not be Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but it was the home of our first president. We plugged in the directions to our handy TomTom – great Christmas present by the way. We left after morning rush hour, so the traffic was not a problem. We were there in no time. This was Cristina’s first trip there, so I had been telling her it was going to be a treat. When we got to the front of the bowling green in front of the house, I knew Cristina was enjoying this house.
Before we explored the house itself, we explored the grounds. We took a walk to levee in the back of the house. The stunning panorama of the Potomac is always a site to behold. I had to take a phone call from my cousin to find out about the area, this being a business trip after all, so Cristina basically just sat down and took it all in. Looking at her look out at the beauty of the Potomac, I realized how perfect we are together. I knew that in her head it was the 1790s.
After I finished my call, we took in the scene together and then went into the house. We had read on one of the signs that the house was completely made out of wood, even though it looked completely made out of stone. Actually, when they painted the exterior they through sand on the wet paint to give it that stone affect. I told Cristina we have to keep that in mind.
Whilst inside the house, we were followed by some students who were here on a field trip. They were amazing with their questions about visitors to Mt. Vernon and transportation issues of the day. The chaperones were, on the other hand, annoying with their worrying about how the kids were behaving. Even the docents were stating that. America, the kids are all right.
We then took in the rest of the grounds which definitely helped us get our exercise in. The estate is enormous. While there are audio tours available, the signs themselves give a great deal of information on the running of the estate. Washington was an extremely progressive farmer. I know very little about farming myself as I’m opposed to waking up before the sun, but I walked away from the estate remembering a lot of what was taught to me in my eighth grade Ag class.
The end of the visit ends with a very informative Disney type exhibit on Washington’s life. While there is a museum for the adults, this is a great idea to get kids hooked on history. Upon leaving, our gps took us on a nice scenic drive along the Potomac.
We then met with Cara for a steak dinner since it was carnival and looking at neighborhoods and houses again. We found one she liked. I’m pretty sure that her and her husband will have many adventures from there.