Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mount Vernon - Virginia

Our last day here was spent at George Washington's home, Mount Vernon.

Our visit started out with a a short film on George Washington's life. We tend to see him in stone or on paper, so it was surprising to me to see what a charismatic and strong man he was. After a lengthy wait in line, we toured the mansion's first two floors, which is decorated in what I would call simple elegance. In one year's time, they had over 670 overnight guests.

There are numerous outbuildings for view including the smokehouse, shoemaker's shop, wash house, and slave quarters.

There is a substantial museum, including this life size, mounted George Washington,
this replica of Martha Washington's wedding dress and slippers,

and George Washington's infamous dentures (which it is forbidden to photograph) that are made of lead and rhinoceros teeth.

We heard a talk by an actress playing the part of Claire, Martha's dearest slave. We learned that George Washington was liked and respected by most of his over 200 slaves. He had a unique, four-tiered method of discipline. The first tier was reward, the second was demotion, third was flogging and fourth was being sent to the Virgin Islands to work in the sugar cane plantations.

We also got to visit with an actress playing the part of Martha Washington. This was very informal... sort of like joining her in her sitting room for a chat. She was charming and engaging, so he learned a lot of historical tidbits, like the fact that all her children pre-deceased her, and she and George raised the two youngest grandchildren as there own.
Tomorrow, we'll be heading home. I have a special treat for myself planned for about half way home, which I'll share on Monday.


blue note said...

did you know that patsy bowen, from north walpole, was the tailgunner on the enola gay? he changed his name after the war as a result of the notoriety.

Aunt Becky said...

That looks fun as hell. Next time you need to bring me!

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