January 4, 2018

It's All About Washington

By Rosemary

While we were in the Washington DC area, we took a day trip to Mt. Vernon, George Washington's home.

Some former residents greet us at the visitor center.

We enjoyed a tour of the mansion. Unfortunately, photography is not permitted inside.

George Washington slept here. He also died here.

Some materials, decorations, and furnishings dating back to George and Martha's lives are still here. In other cases, careful research has been conducted as the basis for restoration and refurbishing.

Surrounding the main house are smaller buildings which were used as work spaces or housing.

Living quarters for Albin Rawlins, Washington's clerk and business agent.

In the blacksmith shop, tools are still made to be used as they were in the past.

George Washington was a wealthy farmer who owned slaves. Although there is some evidence that, with the passage of time, he began to think that the practice of slavery should be ended, he did not attempt to end, or even phase out, slavery during his lifetime. In his will, he left instructions for his slaves to be freed after Martha's death. She freed them prior to her death, not out of kindness, but because she was concerned for her own safety.

The bunkhouse for enslaved women.

Livestock similar to those of Washington's time are still kept here.

The large estate includes some attractive walking trails through the woods.

There is also a museum and education center with exhibits about Washington's life, the American Revolution, presidential history, and this history of Mt. Vernon. One of the stranger items on display is a set of George's famous false teeth.

Another historical site in Virginia is the town of Alexandria, which is just across the Potomoc River from Washington DC. The popular Old Town area has a waterfront, historic buildings, museums, monuments, restaurants, shopping, brick sidewalks, cobblestone streets, and the occasional gas lamp.

"The Shipbuilder" was donated to Waterfront Park by sculptor Michael Curtis in 2004.

Historic homes and public buildings in Alexandria have been preserved, restored, and registered. Many buildings date back to the early and mid 1800s and some were built in the late 1700s. George Washington once owned a house here, but it is long gone. Some residents have furnished and decorated the interiors of their homes to look much as they did when the houses were new.

A statue entitled "Appomatox" was placed here in 1889 by a group of Confederate veterans, in honor of their fallen comrades. The bronze statue, which was modeled after a painting by the same name, portrays a lone, unarmed soldier gravely contemplating the battlefield. Although the Alexandria City Council voted last year to relocate the statue (it is in a busy intersection), it is unclear how - or whether - that will be accomplished.

Alexandria is not far from the city of Arlington (where we stayed) and Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery covers 624 acres and is the final resting place for over 400,000 veterans and family members.

An honor guard keeps watch at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Among the notable people memorialized here is Admiral Richard E. Byrd, famous for his many feats of navigation and exploration.

President Kennedy is buried here, alongside his wife and two children who died as infants, in a special area marked with an "eternal" flame. JFK's brothers Robert and Edward are buried nearby.

More of the things we saw in the D.C. area will be covered in the next post.

Note: We were here during the first half of November.

We love seeing your comments on the blog. To leave a comment, please click here.

No comments >>

Post a Comment

You can comment using your name without including a URL if you wish.

Comments are moderated, which means SPAM COMMENTS ARE NEVER PUBLISHED. Your comment will appear as soon as it is approved by the moderator. Thanks!