At the plantation, there are demonstrations of 18th-century life, including blacksmithing, wheat treading, sheep shearing, plowing, cooking, textile processing. Also some of the outbuildings are very interesting.
The Gardener's House was built in 1776 as a "hospital for the sick". By 1793, this was designated as a residence for the gardener. In 1799 the gardener was a young bachelor named William Spence, who had been recruited fro Scotland.
The Shoemakers's Shop made shoes for the nearly 100 slaves. Every field hand received one pair of shoes each fall. In 1799, the enslaved shoemaker was Billy Lee who learned his trade after seriously injuring both knees. The shoemaker also fixed saddles
George Washington was very interested in the gardens around the house. One visitor remarked, they were "wonderful in appearance, exquisite in their perfume and delightful to the eye..."
Now, there is a Garden and Landscape Tour (free with general admission) which is a 45-minute guided tour that examines Washington's design for the grounds at Mount Vernon and visits the gardens he created, Some of the original trees are still standing, Offered at 11:00 a.m. every day, April – October (schedule may vary).
You can also walk around the grounds while waiting for the time of your tour
Adult (ages 12-61): $17.00
Youth (ages 6-11): $8.00
Senior (ages 62-over):$16.00
Mount Vernon was George Washington's estate and home with his wife Martha for more than forty years, and it is here that he died and is buried. And its location just 16 miles south of Washington DC, it is quite easy to visit. When purchasing your ticket ($15), you will receive a timed entry for when you can tour the mansion. On a busy day, this wait can be an hour or more. But there's plenty to do while you're waiting. Take a stroll through the beautiful grounds and see the fruit, vegetable, and flower gardens. Visit Washington's tomb, the old vault where he was originally buried, and the slave quarters. And be sure to check out the heritage breeds, including pigs, chickens, sheep, and steer. You can also get a great view of the Potomac River from behind the mansion. When the time comes, there will likely still be a line and it may take a bit to actually get into the mansion and slowly walk through. Employees are situated throughout to share some of the history of Washington and his estate and answer questions. Unfortunately, you're not allowed to take pictures inside the house, but definitely check out the rather crazy paint colors in some of the rooms.
You have to get a ticket to see the mansion. Your able to walk through it, but only the same pace as everyone depending how many are standing in line. They have folks stationed in each room that explains all the details and the furnishings. What is nice you are able to see the first floor and the second foor too. The folks stationed in the different parts of the house are so friendly and will try to answer any questions you may have. Make sure to step outside around the back porch and sit in the rocking chairs. Beautiful view of the river and you get to experience what the Washington Family and their guest enjoyed.
April through August, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
March, September, and October, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
November through February, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Seniors ages 62+ $14.00
Youth ages 6-11 $7.00
Children under 6 FREE
Discounted military tickets are available through ITT offices only.
Please note that visitors younger than 16 must be accompanied by someone 16 years or older.
Annual Pass (unlimited daytime admission for one year)
Add a guidebook to an annual pass for just $5.00
You can even purchase tickets online.
The plaque reads:
"Near George Washington's tomb you see the burying place of his slaves containing 150 slaves."
Visitor to Mount Vernon, 1833
Many African Americans free and enslaved who worked at Mount Vernon from the 1750's into the 19th century are believed to be buried near here, according to early visitor accounts, oral tradition, and a surviving circa 1860 map. Amoung them is William Lee, George Washington's personal servant during the Revolutionary War, who was granted freedom and an annuity in Washington's will. West Ford (1784-1863), a freed slave who was hired by the Washington family in the 19th century, is also thought to be buried here. The Mount Vernon Ladies Association sought Ford's advice in the early restoration of the estate. Today, a memorial stands at the center of the burial area, serving as a testament to the hundreds of slaves who labored on Mount Vernon's grounds and lay in unmarked graves.
This was really cute and everyone was so fascinating by her. She sat and shared such delightful stories about her and the Washington family. Make to see her.
Performances held at the Greenhouse daily, 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m., & 3:30 p.m.
George Washington died in his bedchamber at Mount Vernon on December 14, 1799. In his will, he directed that he be buried at Mount Vernon. He also selected a site for a new brick tomb to replace the original burial vault which was deteriorating. The tomb was completed in 1831, and Washington's body was moved there along with the remains of his wife Martha and other family members. Tribute at the Tomb ceremonies take place 10am - 2pm, April - October.
Everyone waited in line patiently and everyone were so very quite to show respect to those who are resting here.
Washington's farming and fishing businesses required a wharf to transport goods by boat to Alexandria. The present day wharf was built in the 19th century and restored in 1991. Forty minute sightseeing cruises are available seasonally. Tickets may be purchased at the Ford Orientation Center or aboard the boat.
The plaque reads:
The Upper Garden includes a wide variety of flowers and trees, boxwood planted in Washington's day, and a few vegetable beds.
The Lower Garden supplied fresh produce. English boxwoods were planted in 1786. Vegetables and herbs are grown in the beds today, as well as cherry, apple, and other fruit trees.
The Fruit Garden and Nursery was used by Washington to experiment with new seeds and plants before using them elsewhere on the estate. The gardens and its protective fence made it an ideal site to grow tree-ripened apples, pears, plums, peaches, and cherries.
George loved to experiment. Along with his gardeners, they would test their horticultural skills by growing plants exotic to Virginia. The Greenhouse provided warmth during the winter months, which allowed them plant and grow semi-tropical plants such as coffee, orange, lemon, lime, sago palm, and aloe. They would be transplanted into huge tubs during the summer months.
On the other side of the Greenhouse contains several living quarters, where a slave tended the fire to keep the Greenhouse warm, so they lived in the Stove Room.
Before the greenhouse, Washington studied designs, before finally adapting a design he liked from a similar structure in Baltimore, Maryland. Sadly, in 1835, the original Greenhouse burned down, but this one you see now was rebuilt in 1951.
Visionary Farmer ~ I hope someday or another, we shall become a store house and granary for the world. George Washington 1788. While the world remembers him as a great military and political leader, George Washington would have told you he was first and foremost a farmer. By the Mid 1760s - more than decade before the Revolutionary War - Washington had switched his main cash crop from tobacco to wheat. He knew that wheat did not deplete the soil as quickly as tobacco and had economic advantages as well. Because the British did not regulate the sale of wheat as closely as tobacco, he had more markets in which to sell his wheat for great profit.
Washington used the most modern scientific farming methods at Mount Vernon. He introduced an innovative seven year crop rotation plan and experimented with soil enhancers to increase the productivity of his fields. He acquired the most modern farm implements and began a progressive system of livestock management.
He divided his Mount Vernon estate into five farms. The Washingtons lived on the Mansion House Farm, and the other four farms were for agricultural production. Each of the four outlaying farms was home to between 40 and 80 slaves, who worked from sun-up to sun-down six days a week to implement Washington's visionary ideas.
In 1771, Washington opened a merchant mill. He transported wheat and corn grown at his famrs to the mill for grinding into flour and cornmeal. He sold these products as far aways as Europe and the West Indies. In 1797, Washington further expanded and diversified his farming operations by constructing a distillery next to his mill.
Although Washington loved the life of a farmer, his motivation went far beyond personal satisfaction and profit. He believed that American exonomic success lay in the nation's ability to produce agricultural products that cound be sold around the world.
If decide to hike up or down to the lower farm area, the trail has all kinds of educational plaques along the way. The trail is a little steep, but not bad.
The plaques reads:
A Forest Medicine Chest
Trees, shrubs and herbs found in the forest provided medicine for 18th century households. Many of the treatments were developed by Native Americans and passed down to the colonists. The bark of witch hazel shrubs was blended in a poultice to reduce inflammation. Sassafras bark was used by both Native Americans and colonists to treat fevers and a variety of other ailments. Settlers turned to a perennial herb known as bloodroot to treat warts and skin cancers. Roots from the yellow dock plant were used as a laxative and to treat blood diseases.
Disappearance of the Amerian Chestnut
Since the middle of the 20th century, the American chestnut has all but vanished throughout the eastern United States, due to a chestnut blight. Today, secientists have made some progress in developing a blight resistant chestnut tree, and experiments are currently taking place at National Colonial Farm, located direstly across the Potomac River from Mount Vernon.
During Washington lifetime, the following animals lived in the forest on his Mount Vernon estate: American Bison, Black Bear, Timeber Wolf, and Passenger Pigeon. Which of these animals still lives in these forest today? For the answer, proceed to the next sign post.
The plaque reads:
Had you entered this room one evening in 1799, you might have encountered ten to fifteen females slaves and perhaps their children. The women's lives were defined by work. They lived close to the Mansion, where a few were house slaves, and to the outbuildings, where others sewed clothing, cooked, or did laundry for the Washingtons. Some of these women were single, while othrs had husbands living elsewhere. Some of the women who lived hre included:
Sall- House Maid
Lucy and Delia -Knitters
Betty Davis and Delphy Judge -Spinners
The plaque reads:
".....a glass of wine and a bit of mutton are always ready, and such as will be content to partake of them are welcome those who expect more will be disappointed..." George Washington to George William Fairfax June 26, 1786.
As was common on Southern plantations, the kitchen was built as a separate building from the Mansion. This distanced the Washington family and their many guest from the kitchen's unpleasant smoke, heat, noise, and smell. The kitchen was a very busy space, and enslaved cooks Nathan and Lucy, as well as numerous scullions, worked seven days a week preparing meals for the Mansion's tables. In 1799, Mrs. Forbes, the white hired housekeeper, lived in the rooms above the kitchens, where she could keep a close watch over the running of the household.
The plaque reads:
"The family vault at Mount Vernon requiring repairs and being improperly situated besides, I desire that a new one of Brick, and upon a larger sclae, may be built at the foot of what is commonly called the Vineyard Inclosure..." The Last Will and testament of George Wahington, July 1799.
George and Martha Washinton along with twenty other family members were orginally interred in the old vault. In accordance with his will, Washington directed the building of a new tomb. The Washingtons were removed to the New Tomb in 1831.