Monday, April 19, 2010

With One Foot in the New Milinium the Other Slides Back to the 1700's

An Afternoon At Mount Vernon
Friday morning dawned bright and beautiful, what a great day for an adventure!

Michael and I headed north towards Mount Vernon, Virginia.

The home of our first President

George Washington.

We arrived and parked in a lot that was over flowing…

I have no idea why

I would have thought the beautiful home and grounds

of one of “our” most historic figures

would not be covered with tourist on this warm spring day…

I rather enjoyed the dream of walking right up,

maybe being introduced as welcome visitors,

sitting for a “spot o’ tea” ,

then taking a personally guided tour of the grounds…

Hey, a woman can get caught up in her day dreams..especially given a couple hours between point A and point B..

So, Cousin George wasn’t there to greet us

and Martha offered us no tea..

While walking along the actual grounds and along the same hallways,

while running your hand over the very same banister

that once felt the warmth of their hands long ago …

if you just barely squinted your eyes and cocked an ear

you could just almost “hear”

the rustle of a many layered dress as

Martha would have passed this way…

or maybe even the far off whispered sound

of a General’s voice

as he arrived home

coming through the door…

So we did not sit for tea,

all the same I truly enjoyed our time at Mount Vernon.

We began our visit in the Orientation Center

viewing Mount Vernon in miniature .

.a one-twelfth scale exact replica of the mansion

with 22 rooms containing

hundreds of tiny objects

including oil paintings, china, books,

and more than 100 tables and chairs.

A little girls (or an older gamma’s) dream come true …

except it was out of reach behind glass!

While there we watched an 18 minute “action adventure” film

which introduced us to the young Washington

who was to become

“The Father of His Country”.

then upon leaving the the center

we walked upon the grounds that

oh, so many years ago the Washington’s called home.

Mount Vernon

sits upon a gently sloping hill beside the Potomac river..

sporting a long porch on the rivers side

to sit in the shade and catch an afternoons pleasant breeze.

After leaving the kitchen we quickly headed in the direction

of the “Old Vault”

that first housed the earthly remains of our first president..

In his will George made arrangements

for a new burial tomb to be built..

knowing that erosion would ill afford

a good resting spot for him and his prodigy

at the present site of the old tomb.
The new tomb was finally constructed in 1831,

where the Washingtons remains rest today.
From there we headed out

by way of the Museum and education center…

Here, we were also not permitted to take pictures

and this area was being watched over

by some extremely serious looking

security guards..

Didn’t help matters when Michael said rather loudly..

“Hey Donna here’s you a good picture of the copula and dove weather vane..”…

Well, that big guard furrowed his brow,

set his jaw and leveled a very hard look at me!

Needless to say ,

I took no “accidental” pictures in the museum!

Some facts below I have found on a most wonderful web site

from Mount Vernon

and would highly recommend you

spend some time navigating among its pages

for an in-depth look at the life and times of

George and Martha Washington and of Mount Vernon…

On this web site I have also found a “Virtual tour” of the mansion..

Please, click on this site and enjoy a tour…

we were not allowed to use our cameras “inside”

except for in the visiting servants quarters and the kitchen.

and the couple of times my camera “accidently clicked”

while hanging around my neck the pictures

it produced were mainly

different parts of the nice lady standing in front of me…

Be sure and watch for the key

hanging downstairs on the wall between

the bedroom and dining room!

It is the very key of the Bastille

,a present from General Lafayette in 1790.

It is said that Pres. Washington was so proud of this

that he hung it there on the wall

and there it has been ever since!

On the floor above,

the very bed he slept and perished on

can be seen in his bedchambers

…upon his death..

the room was closed and

Martha moved to another bedchambers

on the next floor up…

(so they said was customary of the times.)

Washington greatly expanded his Mount Vernon plantation. He increased the acreage from 2,100 to 8,000, rebuilt the simple farmhouse he inherited into a 2-1/2 story, 20-room Mansion, and designed and built all 12 outbuildings.
Washington chose to aband tobacco farming around 1765, ending his economic dependence on English agents to sell his tobacco and giving Mount Vernon greater autonomy and self-sufficiency. His main crop became wheat, but he experimented with over 60 field crops. Fish from the Potomac was also an important source of food and cash.
Increasingly conscious of the injustice of slavery, his will freed the 122 slaves that were in his posession at the time of his death. He trained slaves as gardeners, shoemakers, carpenters and weavers to help prepare them for their freedom.
Creative and persistent in solving problems, Washington overcame the poor soil at Mount Vernon by starting an innovative plan of crop rotation (switching crop type every year) and mulching, which made his farmland able to sustain its yields. He also introduced the mule to America in a successful effort to find an animal better suited to farm work than the horse.

If sometime in the future,

you should find yourself in the neighborhood

stop by and give the Washington’s a visit!


Patriots' Day

April 19th

The battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy (present-day Arlington), and Cambridge, near Boston. The battles marked the outbreak of open armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in the mainland of British North America.


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