They call it a “privately-owned treasure” and no truer words were ever spoken. A trip to Mount Vernon is like taking a step back in time AND a step into the classroom. Whether you’re interested in history, agriculture, old homes, Colonial living, gardens or Virginia culture, you will find it all at Mount Vernon.

George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of American forces in the Revolutionary War and the first President of the United States, called the beautiful estate of Mount Vernon home for more than 40 years. Situated along the Potomac River in Northern Virginia, Mount Vernon is actually the most popular historic estate in the United States, and has been toured by more than 80 million visitors.

An interesting fact I learned on my visit a few years ago is that Washington’s estate is owned by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, and is run at no expense to taxpayers. This private, non-profit organization does not accept government grants or tax dollars of any kind. That is amazing!

Another interesting component of a visit to Mount Vernon is that you can tour the main Mansion as well as more than a dozen original structures. Visitors can also see a working blacksmith shop and a working demonstration farm, as well as Washington’s Tomb.

One of the most memorable rooms on the tour is the Washington’s bedroom where he died from a throat infection on December 14, 1799. If you want to read more about the treatments he received (pretty atrocious by today’s standards), you can click here.

george washington's death

There is also a Museum and Education Center that features 25 theaters and galleries. The center tells the detailed story of George Washington’s life with more than 500 original artifacts, 11 video presentations, and even an immersion theater experience.

Just three miles down the road from the Mansion is George Washington’s Gristmill, a beautiful structure that has been reconstructed and is now capable of producing 5,000 to 8,000 pounds of flour and cornmeal a day. A Distillery, which produced nearly 11,000 gallons of whiskey in 1799, is open seasonally and continues to produce small batches of spirits.

Mount Vernon is an American landmark and a lasting reminder of the life and legacy of the Father of Our Country. I’m lucky that I live less than two hours away, but it is worth the effort to visit it no matter where you live!

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