Today we went back into Virginia to visit Mount Vernon the family home of George and Martha Washington. Well I learned something new right away, we walked into the visitor center and there were a set of life size bronze statues of George, Martha, and their grandson and granddaughter. I had never heard of children of George Washington – I would have thought that I would have heard about them somewhere in the history. Well it turns out that George did not have any children, however Martha had some from a previous marriage, hence the grandchildren.
In 1787 Mount Vernon encompassed just over 8,200 acres housed an active farm that included a large garden, fruit trees, and about 3,000 cattle. Evidence that George Washington considered himself a farmer is well documented in the history and the in the mansion at Mount Vernon. The historic site is now only a little over 500 acres but has a wide variety of sights to see. In addition to the mansion and tomb of George and Martha there are a number of out buildings, ice house, gardens, fruit tree groves, and trails that can be explored. We took two tours during our time on the grounds, the standard mansion tour which takes you through a number of the rooms including the large dining room which was larger than most houses of the day, and bedroom George Washington passed away in 1799.
We also took an hour long ‘National Treasures’ tour. The movie ‘National Treasures 2’ had a number of scenes filmed on the grounds and in the basement of the mansion. It was very interesting to see and learn how some of the scenes from the movie were shot. In addition we learned other interesting tidbits about the Washington’s and life at Mount Vernon at the time they lived there. For example in addition to being known as the father of our country, George Washington is also the father of American Foxhounds. Washington breed English Foxhounds with French Foxhounds he received from the Marquis de Lafayette starting the breed of American Foxhounds. Although it was a bit disappointing to learn there is no secret tunnel leads from the basement of Mount Vernon to the George Washington Parkway. Now I wonder if the cavern full of gold show in the first movie really existed.
Prior to leaving Mount Vernon we stopped at the Mount Vernon Food Court to get some personal pan pizzas from Pizza Hut. Perhaps Mount Vernon has stepped to far into the present times.
After we left Mount Vernon we went back across the Potomac into Maryland to visit Fort Washington. In 1809 Fort Warburton was completed on the shores of the Potomac River downstream from Washington D.C. In 1814 the fort was destroyed by its own garrison to prevent the advancing British forces that marched overland to burn Washington D.C. from taking control of it. Twelve days later the Secretary of War ordered construction started on a new defensive post. In 1824 Fort Washington was completed.
Over the years the fort adapted to the changing times. In 1875 large guns were moved to the fort. Then in 1891 steel guns in concrete embankments were constructed. Prior to World War I the fort was downgraded to harbor defense and the large guns were removed. The fort was used as a staging area for troops being sent to France during World War I. During the Second World War the fort served as the U.S. Army Adjutant General’s School. In 1946 the fort was turned over to the Department of the Interior and was made a park having never been shot at.
And now for the Pirates part of the day. While driving back to our RV in College Park, we decided to stop and watch the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Overall the movie was good, not as good as the first three, however it does end a way that there can be another follow on.