Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Day At Mount Vernon

Last Monday my daughter Rhea and I were both off from work so we decided to go to Mount Vernon,  the plantation home of the first President of the United States, George Washington. We had planned to see this very historic site since we got here in Virginia, but took us all these years before we finally found the time to go. The Estate is located along the banks of Potomac River and just about ten miles from my home. It is a self contained community with it's own grits mill, winery, blacksmith shop, etc. Everything they needed, they produced and processed.  One of my favorite parts of the mansion is the back porch overlooking the Potomac river. 

It was a great feeling to be in a very historic place like Mt. Vernon. Although I learned American History in my college years, the only thing I knew about George Washington then was that he was the first American President and was responsible for the surrender of Gen. Cornwallis that lead to American independence from England. But by going to Mount Vernon and actually walked in his yard and saw his mansion, his huge farm (8,000 acres and 316 slaves!), his vehicles and everything around his mansion, I had a grasp now of how he lived and how hard life was then even for a rich person like him, much more for ordinary everyday people especially the slaves. I can't imagine travelling from Virginia to pennsylvania (160 miles more or less) even on a horse carriage like he had in a very rough road. Much more that I can't imagine fetching twenty to thirty buckets of water just to wash a load of laundry. Slaves assigned in the wash house must be one of the hardest tasks.  It was such a tough life. It made me appreciate more the things and comforts that we have now.

I want to share some of the photos that I took but please bear with me if they are not really good. With the number of tourists there and the very limited space that I could move to get a good angle just to get rid of many distractions as I could was such a challenge. And it was one o'clock in the afternoon when we started the tour so I also had a hard time with the lighting. It was an educational and not a photography tour for me so I didn't worry about these technical stuffs so much.

the front gate of the mansion

back porch of the mansion

view of Potomac River from the back porch

the passage connecting the kitchen to the mansion

the blacksmith shop

the paint cellar

the smoked meat from wall to ceiling in the smokehouse

the buckets
the lard
animal fat
the laundry essentials

the clerk's quarter

The Paddock

the entrance to the slaves' burial site

the tomb of Pres. George Washington

It was a quality time for me and Rhea. Not only that, we also learned more about the history of this great country we now call home. We plan to see another historic place the next time we are both off from work. We don't have to go far and we don't have to spend money. "Historic Virginia" is a place to be if you like history. And many of these places are within ten to thirty miles from our home. We are blessed to be here.

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