Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon--note the scaffold in the front--they are painting the exterior.

Years ago, Karen, our oldest sister, made it a goal to visit as many Presidential homes as she could. We thought that was a great idea! We jumped on the bandwagon. To date she/we have seen the homes of: Abraham Lincoln (3x), James Garfield, William HenryHarrison (2x), Benjamin Harrison, Andrew Jackson, Dwight Eisenhower, and now George Washington (3x). Since we've seen some multiple times and many more not at all, we're thinking maybe we should step it up a notch. We've been distracted by our visits to "celebrity homes" for example, Graceland, Biltmore, The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms, The Dana-Thomas House and Casa Loma. Clearly, as a family we enjoy touring notable houses. However, considering our goal to visit all the Presidential homes was made and begun something like 20 years ago--our record in that particular enterprise is not impressive.

Tuesday's sightseeing visit was to Mount Vernon. Judy and I took Allison there for the first time last August. That visit was notable for the fact that Judy didn't go in the house because she was unwell from heatstroke. My memories of the occasion center on the pathetic text messages I kept getting on my cell phone as Allison and I completed the tour while she was recovering in an air-conditioned restaurant with a bottle of water and a snack. I realize I sound unsympathetic, but we waited a looong time to get into the house for our tour and she kept texting, "Where are you?" which does beg one to wonder how impaired she was. Where did she think we were? Judy and Jeri then visited Mount Vernon last fall while I was working. This year Karen, Allison, Judy and I visited there because Karen hadn't seen it yet. Amazingly, we all saw and learned new and different things. Also, happily we got our money's worth for the year long passes that we purchased. Yep. Frugal--that's us.

The rear of the house with its impressive piazza--as Washington referred to it.

The house is currently and constantly in a state of renovation and restoration. During today's visit the shutters were off the front of the house and they were painting the exterior. Big preparations are in process for a grand re-opening in October when they unveil a huge complex/museum/orientation center. The impressive thing about Mount Vernon is that it is run entirely on private money and what The Mount Vernon Ladies Association can earn or raise. No federal or state money is involved.

The exterior is wood--made to look like brick and requires constant maintenance.

The ground slopes down toward the Potomac river from the piazza and the views are spectacular. Today was cloudy so the river was grey. What was lost in sparkling views of the water was gained in tolerance for the heat. In spite of the lack of sun, it was still very hot and humid there. If one is strolling casually, that's not a problem, but many of the paths on the estate are steep, so going to the Tomb, the Memorial to the Slaves, the pier, or the extensive gardens is not for the faint-hearted or out of shape.

See. A hill. A steep hill.

Day three of sightseeing is completed and all parties ended up hot, sweaty, and footsore. After dinner at a Red Robin, a Bridezilla dvd marathon followed. The nice thing about vacation is that you can do whatever you want. Tomorrow, I want to rest.

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