On Saturday morning we rented a car and drove to beautiful Mount Vernon in Virginia! I had previously thought that it was Just the house, and that was all there was to it, but boy, was I wrong! The property was originally 8,000 acres and, today, 500 acres are preserved along the Potomac River.
Us girls with some beautiful Azaleas on the way in
A huge model of the house
(I was bummed to later find out we couldn't take any photos inside the mansion)
The gardens were gorgeous... bear with me, I love flowers - feel free to skip ahead :)
I do love a good bug on a flower photo ;)
They also had quite a few vegetables growing in the gardens!
There are pansies Everywhere here!
I loved the shape of these!
These hedges were trimmed into intricate curly ques
A view of the house right before our tour started
Look at their view out the backyard!
(They used the river to export all of their crops, mostly wheat)
Looking back at the rear of the house
A carriage like one they would have used
George Washington's grave
George and his wife, Martha were buried here together
He left specific plans in his will for where he wanted to be buried on the property and how it should be constructed. No one read this until he had already been buried, so they had to build it and then rebury him here
Some women washing wool recently sheared from the sheep here on the farm, spinning and embroidering with it
Look at all the pretty colors they have dyed it using flowers and vegetables
This was George Washington's innovative, 16-sided barn
Inside, an acre's worth of wheat would be spread on the floor, and horses could tread in a circle, knocking off the wheat kernels...
which would fall through the cracks to the floor below and be collected
This small house was home to a family of eight slaves
A peek inside (there was also a loft above)
Some of the many wild strawberries we found!
Philip and I and a pretty bridge
A further back view of the beautiful house
The kids and Washington's head
(It was so bright, you can't see the detail here)
This is what it looks like
I hadn't previously known this about Washington, DC and thought it was very interesting
After leaving Mount Vernon, we drove down the road to George Washington's Distillery and Grist Mill.
In the gift shop, we found this book:
As a young boy, George Washington used to copy these out, as he was learning to be a gentleman
We thought it would be good content for our own kid's cursive writing exercises :)
Just down the road is a historically accurate reconstruction of Washington's Mill and Distillery that is included in the price of admission to Mount Vernon. They completed excavations to identify the exact locations, wall thickness, construction techniques, etc. to guide the reconstruction. The structures of the millworks are self supporting inside the building and not attached to the walls which prevents the vibrations from the mill from destroying the building.
Explaining the components of the mill
Milling some Virginia corn
The automated sifter in action, they sell the cornmeal in the gift shop
Huge gears, it was really loud
After the mill we headed for the Distillery
Part of the copper ware that is hidden in the completed boilers
Showing the full first floor
They do everything by hand two months a year to produce spirits using the same recipes as George Washington used. The grains are ground in the mill and brought over to this building. The coils are cooled with water from the creek and they don't use any pumps or other mechanical equipment to mix/transfer liquids or move solids around.
We then made the drive further south in Virginia to Fredericksburg to visit Joe and Angela and to see their brewery, Maltese Brewing Company.
It has a firefighter theme and Caleb and Leo had a great time trying gear on
I Love this flag made out of firehose!
Moriah in full gear
...and the marshmallow firefighter, Caleb :)
Group shot before heading to Joe and Angela's house for dinner