Best time to go: 02/16 - 07/07
If you’ve ever wanted to step into the pages of Southern Living and leave your messy life behind, Mount Vernon (just a half hour drive south of Washington, DC) is your secret portal.
Julia and I went down the day after President’s Day weekend. Admission was free, so we had to arrive by 9:30a to get a parking spot (Mount Vernon opens at 9). Before our tour of the house, we peered into the dollhouse in the visitor’s center.
Also in the visitor’s center is a recreation of the towns and wilderness that formed the backdrop of Washington’s life when he was away from Mount Vernon. There is also a stunning “4D” film that compresses Washington’s entire revolutionary experience into 20 minutes. My favorite part of the film was the crossing of the Delaware, which is enhanced by a machine that drops real snowflakes onto the audience.
From the back porch, we enjoyed the same view of the Potomac that Washington experienced in his day, and then took the long walk down the hill to the wharf where goods grown and produced at Mount Vernon were loaded onto ships for trade with the Colonies.
Because we were there on an open house day, there were a number of special events, including readings from Washington’s favorite play (Addison’s Cato), a Punch and Judy show, and a rousing performance of colonial violin and cello by the Sons of Liberty.
Reenacting the life of George Washington
I can’t close without mentioning the magic of meeting George Washington, played by the inimitable Dean Malissa. A world renowned historical actor, Malissa always makes you feel welcome at Mount Vernon. If you stay a while, he might also inspire you to look beyond your political party and consider the original American values that unite us all.