February 15th, 2009 – by: diisha392
George, Martha, Washy, and Nellie
We started our morning by crossing the Woodrow Wilson Bridge into Virginia. We followed a scenic road along the river that led to George Washington's beloved home. We had a little difficulty at the traffic circle to look for parking but quickly figured out where we needed to go. From there it was a short walk to the entrance. Once past the ticket booth, lifesize statues of George, his wife Martha, and two of their grandchildren greeted visitors. We started to look at the stained glass window displaying scenes related to Washington's life and a large representation of his house but then hurried into the theater to watch an 18-minute video on his life prior to the presidency. A few background shots of Annapolis looked familiar but I knew I had seen that site somewhere else.
front of mansion
On a hunch I stuck around for the credits; the building interior I had recognized was from Williamsburg
where I had toured for the first time five months ago. Unfortunately, the theater funnels visitors out to the path leading up to Mount Vernon itself so we were unable to go back and look more closely at the stained glass and dollhouse. A small drum and fife corps played a cheerful tune as we rounded the bowling green in front of the home. We lined up for the walk through tour. It started in a small side building connected to the main building by a porch. The first room inside the main building was the dining room, painted in the traditional green of such rooms from that era.
Not quite as traditional were the decorative elements based on farming motifs such as the scene carved over the fireplace. We detoured out on the back porch which was lined with rocking chairs. (Which weren't too inviting in the colder weather!) Back inside we were in a hallway that opened onto four rooms. One room held a harpsichord that had been played by Nelly, Martha's granddaughter who grew up in Mount Vernon. Another room was a small bedroom. Having visited before and remembering the visit (unlike me), my parents pointed to the large key in a glass case in the hallway. It was the key to the Bastille, a gift to Washington from Lafayette. We then headed up the staircase to the second floor. Four bedrooms branched off of this landing.
I liked looking at the embroided bed coverings in these rooms. One room held a crib that had cradled Martha's grandchildren. We also saw the master bedroom a little farther down the hall. This was where Washington died. After his death Martha had the room closed and moved to a smaller room upstairs. While the move was not unusual for the time, it also showed the love the couple shared. We headed back downstairs, this time by way of a tighter stairwell. We saw an office before heading outside onto another porch which led to the kitchen. Done with the tour, my parents looked at the line for the tour and noticed how short it was. So we hopped back in line for a second walkthrough of the house! Visiting the building a second time actually was pretty nice; the guides shifted posts, so we heard different information in the rooms plus we had the opportunity to see details we had missed the first time.