Monday, September 28, 2009

Mt. Vernon Redux

It's been nearly thirty years since my last visit to George Washington's estate. Friday I drove my college roommate and her French visitors down to experience the place. I knew about the new memorial to mark the place were GW's slaves had been buried, but I had no clue about the three year old visitors' center and small museum.
Not sure who designed it, but I like it. It fits in well with the rest of the buildings, yet has a modern, light presence. A marvelous scale model of the main house is a feature we particularly appreciated. It's sides were open so that each authentically furnished miniature room was recognizable.
I suppose it's a good idea to orient people before they see the house and out buildings. We were herded into an auditorium to watch a film about GW. The opening was narrated by none other than Pat Sajak looking and sounding perfectly goofy in colonial garb. Following that was a melodramatic reenactment of parts of GW's life.
We were then ushered out into blinding sunlight to hike up a brick path to the main house. The line waiting to get into the house was too long, so we walked the counter-clockwise path toward the house and stopped in the gardens.
Along the way, we marvelled at the enormous trees, many of them labeled and wired to protect from lightning strikes. Some had been planted by GW himself. The gardens were still producing lettuces, rosemary, eggplants, peas and more. We then took a breather on the river side porch before heading out.
A flock of Canada geese adroitly flew out over the river then landed on the lawn, enthralling a class of adorable third-graders. Adults snapped dozens of pictures.
Walking through a phalanx of magnolia trees, I spotted one I'm sure had been spliced onto an elm trunk. It's not the best picture, but can you see what I mean? If you click on it, you can get a bigger view. What do you think?

1 comment:

Two Shorten the Road said...

Thanks for the review! Steve and I used to be members at Mount Vernon and we used to visit pretty regularly. I've been wondering about the renovations. Not sure about Pat Sajak, though! Weird!