It's day two and we are off! The overnight bags are packed and we head off to Washington D.C.
Our vehicle is a very comfortable Expedition- two people to a row, great air conditioning (which we definitely need- it's over 95 degrees this day and very humid), and full of every electronic entertainment device known to man. The hour and a half ride is once again full of breathtaking scenery. As we near Washington D.C., I am freaking out just a little. I have always wanted to visit the places that I am about to see- and I am finally here! We drive past several landmarks- and Ryan points them out as we zoom past. I try to get a glimpse through the trees of everything that is being shown to me- and I feel a bit anxious because I can't see them as well as I would like. Everyone in our group has been to these places at least once- and their comments and enthusiasm just feed into what I am already feeling.
By the time we arrive at Mt. Vernon, I can hardly contain myself. In fact, I think my first words upon stepping out of the car were, "I am so freaking excited!"
Last month we took our kids to Cancun and visited Chichen Itza- which is a place that Erik had wanted to visit for many years. He was like a kid in a candy store that day. He was fascinated with everything he saw and wanted more. He was thrilled to be there. The rest of the family thought it was cool, but it was hot and very humid and we had spent the day on the tour bus getting there, and after you have seen a few ruins, they all start to look the same. But Erik could have stayed all day- he wanted to take picture after picture so he wouldn't forget one thing.
Being at Mt. Vernon was my Chichen Itza. I could not believe I was actually there. In the very place I had read so much about. About to enter the home of George Washington, first President of the United States. Freaking excited.
We first walked through a couple of museums and learned much about the people whose house we were about to enter. George and Martha Washington were amazing people. They loved each other deeply. I was a bit upset at first, by the fact that shortly before she died, Martha burned all of the letters that George had written to her over the years of their marriage. But then Tiffany said something that made me look at it in a whole new light. She said that she was "proud of her". They were private people and she must have known that those letters would become something of great interest to people once she was no longer around to protect them. So she made sure they stayed private. I can only imagine what they must have contained. But she made sure they were only seen by her- as they were meant to be.
Mr. Washington was humble and good- deep down to his bones, good. He was an inspired leader. He was courageous. And he had really bad teeth. That was something that I had never thought of before. I guess having been a dental assistant, I find teeth fascinating and there was much said about his teeth in the exhibit we walked through. It talked about how he had much trouble with his teeth over the years. Dentistry was not a sophisticated practice and so to cure a tooth ache, teeth were pulled. By the time Mr. Washington was sworn in as our nations first president, he only had one natural tooth left. By his second term as president, he wore a full set of dentures.
Mount Vernon- as you first see it.
As we walked toward their estate, after having learned much about them at the museums, my heart beat faster as we came into view of their home. And what a home it is. 9000 square feet! It is very lovely, and has been restored so beautifully. Great care was taken to make it appear just as it did when the Washington's lived there. The first impression upon stepping inside is how brightly colored it is. George was the decorator, which was customary for the day, and he liked things colorful. Bright green adorned the walls of the dining room, bright blue in the formal living room. Gorgeous! The decor was very elegant, the wood work was so detailed and the artwork on the wall was masculine, but thoughtful.
As I walked though each room, touched the very handrail they held on to as they ascended their staircase, I thought about the visitors who surely must have been in their home. They were very rarely ever without a visitor to entertain. Especially after President Washington was 'retired'. It was told to us that often times visitors would just show up unexpected- just to see this great man. The Washington's were good people.
The view from the back porch!
Walking through the estate- sitting on the back porch, looking at the view of the Potomac River that they saw each day, seeing some of the trees that George himself planted, seeing their final resting place, listening to Erik and Ryan making up their own George Washington quotes, taking picture after picture so I wouldn't forget a thing, made for a very enjoyable day.
The good people who brought me here!
I left there with a painting of their home so I will never forget, a book about George and Martha Washington, and many memories that I will treasure forever.
The Washington's final resting place.
There is much more to share about this day.....I will post about it next time.