Good day lovely Readers! Felicity, Elizabeth, some family members and I had the great pleasure of visiting Mt. Vernon and paying our respects to our first president and founding father, George Washington. Mt. Vernon was passed down through the Washington family since Washington’s great grandfather.
Washington loved Mt. Vernon so much! He inherited it from his half brother, Lawrence Washington.
Sometimes, when he was in the midst of camping out on freezing cold forts and shivering with his men on the eve of battle, he would let his mind escape and would dream of his plans of expansion on the Mt Vernon mansion.
And expand it he did. He purchased many acres of land to grow crops and added the two colonnades that connect the two single story buildings on either side that the slaves worked in; the slave hall and the kitchen. The slaves were the ones to complete the expansion of the house and work in the fields.
He also built a porch which was a new fangled thing at the time. Washington would often sit and have tea with guests and enjoy the peaceful, picturesque view.
The colonnades provided even more of a sweeping view of the Potomac river and created a ‘Mansion Circle’ giving the house a very grand look.
George Washington never truly considered himself a war hero, and never desired to be president. In his heart, he was a farmer. He started, as many Virginians do, planting tobacco.
(tobacco leaves, hanging from the roof to dry. Sorry it’s so blurry, it was so cold it was often hard to get my camera to focus!)
But when his crops continued to fail, he switched to different crops such as cotton, wheat, and corn and he also built a gristmill and distillery that aided him in income. Despite that, Washington was nearly always hurting for money. However, people that visited him would never have guessed that. He lavished his guests with hospitality.
He even rented a camel for 18 shillings to entertain his guests once! It was mentioned in his account book and that’s all we know about it, but every year at Christmas time you can visit Aladdin, the camel at Mt. Vernon!
Unfortunately, this was the only photo I could take of the inside of house. (They didn’t let anyone take photos inside.) But one room that really surprised me was his bedroom. In paintings I’ve seen of Washington on his death bed in his bedroom, his room is portrayed as dim and gloomy and death-like. Probably to impress the gruesomeness of his death. He went out riding, making hist usual stops around the plantation. He mainly road on horseback around Mt. Vernon, but sometimes he would ride in a single seat carriage:
It was a particularly cold day and it was snowing and hailing. He had been running late (something he almost never did) and ate supper without changing out of his wet clothes. The next day he woke up with a terrible sore throat. The cartilage near his voice box got inflamed and swelled up so it was agonizing for him to swallow and breathe. The doctors didn’t know what to do so they bled him. Martha asked them to stop at one point, but Washington said, ‘No, do more!’ They took 5 pints of blood! That obviously greatly contributed to his death.
When we visited, it was a very very cold day, but full of sunshine and blue skies and the bedroom was bright, and cheery, and full of sunshine.
It was even brighter than this pic above.
Washington’s tomb is tightly secured because in 1830, someone tried to decapitate him and steal his skull! The attempt did not succeed.
So many Americans look at Washington on the dollar bill, or learn just the facts about his life and what he accomplished and they leave with this view of Washington as a statue rather than a human with feelings, hopes and dreams. Mt. Vernon itself is confirmation of one of his dreams. He was able to see this house as he designed it to be. One of my favorite stories of his, is just before he permanently moved in to Mt. Vernon from being president. It shows his love for his country and its people and the people’s love for him:
On his last day in office as president, he left his presidential building for the last time and walked to a hotel. Thousands of people followed him silently, just quietly escorted him. And when he turned around to look at them at the doorway of his hotel, he could not stop the tears from pouring.