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Mount Vernon - George Washington's Home

Basic Information

Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, is located along the Potomac River and about a ½ hour drive from Washington, DC. It is a historical and picturesque place to visit. Mount Vernon opens at 9:00 a.m. from November through March it closes at 4 o’clock the rest of the year it closes at 5 o’clock.

Admission is $20 for those 12 and above and $12 for children between 6 and 11. Children 5 and under are free. Military and veterans are eligible for a $6 discount. Admission is free for Purple Heart recipients.[i]

Besides the Mount Vernon estate there is a reconstruction of George Washington’s Distillery and Gristmill. This is 2.7 miles (5 kilometers) from the estate’s main entrance.[ii] The distillery and gristmill are fully functional and they put a batch of whisky on sale each year. As Pat Sajak says in Mount Vernon’s overview film, “Sorry, no free samples”. The tickets are $6 for those 6 and up.

If you are planning a visit check the website to see if any special events are planned.


[i] George Washington’s Mount Vernon, https://www.mountvernon.org/, last accessed 6/25/19.

[ii] George Washington’s Distillery® and Gristmill, https://www.mountvernon.org/the-estate-gardens/distillery-gristmill/, last accessed 6/30/19.

The Estate

Next to the front entrance there is the Ford Orientation Center. The center has brochures in numerous languages. There is a large, scale model of Mount Vernon’s Mansion. The Center has an auditorium that shows the film, “We Fight to Be Free”. The film is 24 minutes. It is initially set on the eve of Washington crossing the Delaware. The film flashes back to the French and Indian War where then Colonel Washington of the Virginia militia took command of the situation after British General Edward Braddock was mortally wounded.[i] The film is part of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association efforts to let people understand, besides being the first President of the United States, George Washington was an action hero.

There is usually a line to get into the Mansion. When entering Mount Vernon you will be given a time to enter the line for the estate. How long you will have to wait depends on the season. It is worth the wait. Near the Mansion there are smaller structures, including the women’s and men’s slave quarters. The rear of the Mansion gives a spectacular view of the Potomac River. The Mansion’s siding appears to be stone but that is an illusion. The siding is wood. A combination of sand and paint gives it the appearance of stone. The Mansion is 21 rooms of late 18th century elegance. An artifact in the Mansion is the key to the Bastille. Marquis de Lafayette gave George Washington the key after French citizens stormed the Bastille. The Mansion has a room named the Lafayette Room. The room has a portrait of Lafayette. George Washington commissioned the painting in 1779. Lafayette stayed in this room in 1784.[ii]

On the grounds there is the Old Tomb, where George Washington’s body stayed from December 14, 1799 to 1831. The New Tomb is the current resting place of George and Martha Washington. There is a daily wreath-laying ceremony at the New Tomb. There is a Slave Memorial in tribute to the enslaved people that lived and worked at Mount Vernon.

There is the Pioneer Farm that has livestock and demonstrations. There is a reproduction of George Washington’s 16-sided barn. The barn was one of George Washington’s farming innovations. It was used for treading wheat.

The wharf is where, for a fee, visitors can board a ship and take a short boat tour along the Potomac River.


[i] Sebastian Roché, who played George Washington in this movie, explained when filming he had to control his horse, while shouting out his lines through all the noise of a simulated battle. From this experience he could only imagine how difficult it must have been for George Washington in the actual battle.

[ii] George Washington’s Mount Vernon, https://www.mountvernon.org/the-estate-gardens/the-mansion/, last accessed 6/30/19.

Museum and Education Center

The Donald W. Reynolds Education Center tells about the life of George Washington. It highlights his first job as a surveyor, his actions in the French and Indian War[i], his business ventures, his heading the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War, and his role in forming the United States of America and being its first president. There is also an exhibit that tells of the lives of slaves in Mount Vernon. George Washington’s dentures are on display. They are not made of wood. Photography of the dentures is prohibited.

The center has films running in different places. One Auditorium shows a film of George Washington’s later years from Martha Washington’s perspective. There is the Revolutionary War 4D Theater. The film in this theater tells of George Washington’s military victories at Boston, Trenton, and Yorktown. A small section about espionage in the Revolutionary War shows a short film that portrays George Washington as a spymaster. The last theater before the exit is the Gay Hart Gaines Legacy Theater. This theater has a panoramic screen. The film plays “America the Beautiful” as it shows images of America. Historian David McCullough and General Colin Powell give the narration.


[i] This is also known as the Seven Years War.

The Exit and Beyond

There is a winding corridor to the exit. There are windows on one side. The other side tells the story of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association’s efforts to restore and preserve Mount Vernon and its view of the Potomac River. Past the exit there is a gift shop, a small food court, and the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant.

There is a shuttle bus from the main entrance to the distillery and gristmill. Visitors can also drive there. It is open from April to October. The mill includes a water wheel that is used to grind grain. George Washington’s distillery was producing almost 11,000 gallons of whiskey. He was one of the largest, possibly the largest, producers of whiskey in the country when he died. Five of Washington’s slaves; Hanson, Peter, Nat, Daniel, James, and Timothy made the whiskey.[i]


[i] George Washington’s Distillery®, https://www.mountvernon.org/the-estate-gardens/distillery/, last accessed 6/30/19.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Robert Sacchi

Comments

Dale Frasier on October 22, 2019:

I had been to Mt. Vernon quite a few years ago. However, after just reading Ron Chernow's book on George Washington, I'd like to go back again, as I think the visit would be much more meaningful.

Robert Sacchi (author) on August 06, 2019:

Thank you. Great research on your part.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on August 06, 2019:

Robert

Thank you. I read the article. Only thing was Jemima was a widow who's first husband was Jenkins, her Maiden name was Washington and she was George's neice.

Heres the link

https://www.geni.com/people/Jemima-Washington-Hebb...

Robert Sacchi (author) on August 05, 2019:

I just sent you a link in an email that mentions a William Hebb and some of his descendants.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on August 05, 2019:

Robert

His name was William Hebb. He's in the US History books as a Revolutionary war veteran.

Robert Sacchi (author) on August 05, 2019:

Seems this ancestor of yours was a very interesting fellow. You may want to consider a Hub on him.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on August 04, 2019:

Robert

Its another hobby of mine, but was sparked by my uncle when he was visiting Los Angeles in the 70s

He found an African American family with our surname, he wondered how they came to have the surname.

Three years ago I unlocked the mystery, and it related to this relative and him freeing the slaves his wife had from her first husband.

Robert Sacchi (author) on August 04, 2019:

Thank you all for reading and commenting.

Peggy Woods, there is a lot of history in Virginia. Virginia was settled over 400 years ago. When I visited Jamestown one of the staff referred to the Pilgrims as latecomers.

Shannon Henry, it is a wonderful view of the Potomac from Mount Vernon. They have added much more to it in recent years.

Lawrence Hebb, that is an interesting family story. I'm impressed you have knowledge of relatives from over 200 years ago.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on August 04, 2019:

Robert

Enjoyed the tour with you. I have a distant relative who went to the USA as a British soldier, but somewhere along the line he joined the Virginia Militia and served under Washington. Later he married the President's cousin and they lived in Virginia, so reading about the house was like was really good.

Shannon Henry from Texas on August 03, 2019:

I was maybe 13 when I visited Mt Vernon. I remember enjoying it and would like to take my kids to see it someday. I'd love to catch a view of it from the river. That looks gorgeous and I know I've never seen it from that view...not even in pictures until just now.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 26, 2019:

Thanks for your detailed visit to George Washington's home. You are fortunate to live close to so many historical sites. Thanks for your photos and descriptions. I would enjoy seeing this in person someday. In the meantime, you have expanded my knowledge.

Robert Sacchi (author) on July 06, 2019:

Liz Westwood - update on time cards. I went there today, July 6, 2019. When visitors enter they get a time to enter the queue for the Mansion. I have updated the hub accordingly. This keeps the queue length down, but the visit to the Mansion is a queue. Photography inside the Mansion is prohibited. This moves the crowd quicker but there is no opportunity to capture your memory. Wheelchairs are available for free. You have to leave your driver's license, and pick it up when you return the wheelchair.

Robert Sacchi (author) on July 03, 2019:

Thank you for reading and commenting. George Washington became a slave owner at 16. In his will he gave his slaves their freedom. He got into many business ventures. Mount Vernon gives a 360 view of George Washington's life.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on July 03, 2019:

Interesting to note that George Washington owned slaves and made whiskey. I love heroes to be also men living ordinary lives just like us. I would love to visit this place.

Robert Sacchi (author) on July 01, 2019:

Thank you all for reading and commenting.

FlourishAnyway - Yes, if you haven't been there since before 2006 they certainly have added a lot to Mount Vernon.

Liz Westwood - I don't think they have time cards, but the queue moves quickly.

Lora Hollings - Yes, the objective of the renovation was to portray George Washington as the action hero he was.

Asad Dillz khan - I'm glad you found the article interesting and informative,

Pamela Oglesby - Mount Vernon is in the DC Suburbs There are tour busses that go there so it is worth it to see where and when they are running.

Dolores Monet - Usually it takes at least a generation for people to realize the importance of a place. Ford's Theater for a time was a vacant lot surrounded by four walls.

Doris James MizBejabbers - One thing about visiting historic places is you can learn things they don't teach in history classes.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on July 01, 2019:

You have renewed my desire to visit Mt. Vernon. Thanks for including all the beautiful scenes. It makes the article come alive. The dry presentation of U.S. history to children when I was young was not very enticing. It is todays writers who make George into an exciting living figure, not just a picture in a book.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on July 01, 2019:

The best thing about a visit to Mt. Vernon is that you get a real feel for George Washington. He becomes a real human being instead of just a historical figure. I was shocked when I learned that by the end of the 1800s, Mt. Vernon was in sad disrepair. I am so glad that it was saved.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 01, 2019:

I would love to visit George Washington's home, and I am not sure why I never made it there as I have done a lot of traveling. I didn't know all that whiskey was made there. I appreciate all the details you provided and the pictures.

Asad Dillz Khan from United Kingdom on July 01, 2019:

A great informative and amazing article! This historic home is express by you very well.... I like this article a lot! Excellent Job!

Lora Hollings on June 30, 2019:

After reading your wonderful article on the beautiful and historical home of George Washington, Robert, I will definitely have to put this on my list of places to visit. I also would love to take a ride on the Potomac River and see Mount Vernon from this perspective. The films at the museum and education center sound like they make Washington come to life and show us the amazing contribution this heroic man made to our Nation. Thanks for this great article.

Liz Westwood from UK on June 30, 2019:

This is a very informative and well-illustrated article. You mention a queue to get into the mansion. Is it possible to get timed tickets for entry or is there no way of avoiding a queue? It looks like an extremely interesting place to visit.

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 30, 2019:

I haven’t been there in a very long time and it seems like they’ve added some exciting features. This makes me want to go back this fall when the weather is much cooler. Great article! I’d like to see the 16-sided barn and the key.