Thursday, April 04, 2013

Virginia, USA: George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate

Mount Vernon near Alexandria, Virginia, was the plantation home of George Washington, first president of the United States. The estate was owned by the Washington family (beginning with George's great-grandfather John Washington) since 1674. It was inherited by Washington when his half-brother died in 1752.

The highlights of any visit to the estate are the wooden mansion built in the Palladian style, its construction personally overseen by Washington between 1757 and 1778; and the family crypt where George and Martha Washington are buried.

When you purchase your ticket, whether online or at the ticket counter, a time to enter the mansion line will be printed. Make sure to be in line at your designated time. During spring, summer and holidays, you might have to wait for two hours before you can enter the line (so best to purchase online and arrive a few minutes before your line up time). It's also best to visit in the afternoon since most school tours happen in the morning.

Unfortunately, taking photos is not allowed inside the mansion. The house had been restored to how it would have looked in 1799, the year Washington died. But everywhere else, it is encouraged. Among the interesting items inside the house are the key to the Bastille given to Washington by the Marquis de Lafayette, and the chair used by Washington during his presidency. Make sure to see the spectacular view of the Potomac River behind the house.

Mount Vernon is open 365 days a year. Depending on the season, it opens at 8 or 9 a.m. and closes at 4 or 5 p.m. Tickets cost US$17 for adults, US$8 for ages 6-12, US$16 for 62+ and free for children 5 and under.

How to get to Mount Vernon
Take the Metro Yellow Line to Huntington Station. Exit at Huntington Avenue and take Fairfax Connector Bus No. 101 (Fort Hunt Line) at Huntington Station. It's a 20-minute ride to the gate of Mount Vernon.

Driving directions to Mount Vernon are available in their website. You may also opt to join the Grayline Bus Tours from Washington, DC which includes other DC attractions.
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