Mount Vernon, located in Alexandria, Virginia, was the home of George Washington and his wife, Martha, from the time they were married in 1759. It was well-known that both George and Martha loved this plantation and both of them have their final resting places on the property.
George Washington, the nation's first president, grew his estate, which sits on the Potomac River, from 2,000 acres to an impressive 8,000. He lived and worked at the plantation and in 1799, he died in one of the bedrooms of the mansion.
In 1858, the Washington family sold the property to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, and it was opened to the public in 1860.
Today, the public can visit this historic property and tour the mansion, the gardens and grounds and several outbuildings. The 21-room mansion features original furniture and many personal items owned by the Washington family. The home appears as it would have in 1799. An accurate representation was possible because experts worked from an inventory of items in the home that was written at the time of George's death.
Some of the personal items include a chair that was used by George Washington during his presidency and a key to the Bastille that was presented to him by the Marquis de Lafayette.
The many outbuildings include the kitchen, slave quarters, greenhouse, gristmill and stable. There is also a distillery where more than 11,000 gallons of whiskey were produced in 1799.
Visitors can also explore the gardens, visit the tomb of George and Martha, where a wreath is laid each day, or visit the Slave Memorial. There are many farm animals on the property and visitors may bring their leashed dogs.
For a look deeper into the life of George Washington, visit the The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center and the FordOrientation Center includes dozens of exhibits and theaters that providegreat detail into the life of the first president of the United States.Included are videos produced by the history channel and more than 500genuine artifacts.
One visitor from Louisiana said the history alone makes it worth a visit. "The history is outstanding - you can actually feel it! The grounds are stunning and the house itself is well-preserved. Just to know you are standing or walking in exactly the same place George Washington did is fantastic,'' she said.
Another visitor, from New York, enjoyed her visit, but recommends against the candlelight tour, at least for first time visitors. Because Mount Vernon strives to maintain the grounds as they would have been in 1799, there is little outdoor lighting. She wasn't able to see as much as she would have liked and planned to make another trip during the day.
Many visitors said they have visited more than once, and visitors should plan on spending several hours to be able to see a good portion of what Mount Vernon has to offer.
Mount Vernon is open to the public every day of the year, including Christmas. There are special programs throughout the year. Be sure to check for updated pricing and a current schedule of events.