Mount Vernon and Washington DC

Just outside Washington DC

on the outskirts of Washington D.C tucked away on the banks of the Potomac River in Fairfax County Virginia is the former residence to the first President of the United States George Washington. This palatial planation is known as Mount Vernon. The plantation grounds had been in Washington’s family since 1674. George Washington resided at the estate with his wife, Martha Dandridge Custis Washington. The location was a great vantage point at the time, the mansion nestled atop a small hill offered wonderful views of the Potomac River, just outside Alexandria Virginia and having Maryland just on the opposite of the river. As you can image back in the 1700’s the river was a great avenue for shipping in its time. In 1739 the Mount Vernon was expanded upon and continued under George Washington’s supervision in 1754, 1761 George Washington became the sole owner of the estate.
When George Washington acquired the estate, it was known at the time as Mount Vernon, it was then called Little Hunting Creek Plantation. It was changed to Mount Vernon in honor of Vice Admiral Edward Vernon by George Washington’s older half brother, Lawrence Washington. George Washington retained the name Mount Vernon when he inherited the property.

The Palladian style mansion

It was built of wood between 1758 and 1778 by George Washington. When you approach the home from the bowling green, it appears to have a brick like exterior. This is actually a mixture of mud and sand! At the time, the outer wood structure was sculpted with the mud and sand mixture, made to look as if it was a brick or stone building. There was previously a small home on the site, built by George Washington’s father Augustine Washington between 1726 and 1735. George expanded on either side of the smaller home to create a grand estate. George Washington kept the planation as his country home until his death in 1799. The deed to the land flowed down through several generations of the family after George Washington’s death and its upkeep declined due to lack of funds to maintain it adequately. That was until 1858 came around and The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, a philanthropic organization, acquired the planation around the time of the American Civil War. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association recognized the historical importance of Mount Vernon and saved it from ruin and Mount Vernon was restored.

Mount Vernon was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960

It is still owned and maintained by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. Each day of the year, including Christmas, New Years and Thanksgiving the public is allowed to tour and experience the property. It’s not widely known but allowing the public to see the estate dates back 200 years to George Washington himself. In 1794 George Washington was quoted in saying, “I have no objection to any sober or orderly person’s gratifying their curiosity in viewing the buildings, gardens about Mount Vernon.”

Having taken many tours myself of Mount Vernon

During holidays and different festivals, I will admit that Christmas is my favorite time to visit the property. During Christmas they open the top floor, the attic, to the public for about 30 days. This is the only time of year that the public is allowed in the attic. After George Washington’s death it is widely known that Martha moved to the attack where she spent the remainder of her days.

Today you can still visit the Washington Family Tomb

Where both George and Marth are entombed. Located behind the Washington’s crypt is a small gravesite of rough 30 different burial plots. You can spend some time sitting on the back porch of the mansion overlooking the sweeping and breath taking views of the Potomac River.