Exploring and Learning at Mt. Vernon

We checked the final activity off of our must-do-before-we-leave-Northern-Virginia list, Mt. Vernon. For anyone who is a little rusty with American History, Mt. Vernon is the home of George and Martha Washington that sits above the Potomac River downstream from Washington DC.  We have attended many events as a family and as a couple over the years on the grounds and it never gets old. This last time we did the full loop from the museum, through the house and out buildings, to the tombs, down to the pioneer farm and back up through the gardens. 

The house tour itself is not stroller or even little kid friendly for the most part. Don’t let that deter you. Looking up from the front green you get a beautiful sense of the place. Kids can run along the green or the side paths, skirt around the buildings and get the view from the houses back porch. There are so many little places to explore that we find something new every time. One of Quenton’s favorites is the woopsy wall. From the house you do not see it. The brick wall is built into the field such that is keeps animals away from the house but does not obstruct the view. And if you don’t know it’s there you would have a bit of a tumble… woopsy!On the way down to the warf, waterfront and pioneer farm you walk through a forest. Lots of nature to discover including these interesting lichens pictured below. The cacophony of bird and animal sounds today was impressive as the beginnings of the cicadas sing away.  It is strange yet somehow comforting to think of all the people who have wearied these paths before us, including our first President. The placards interspersed give you a feel for the events and people you are walking among.  

The pioneer farm included lambs, sheep, pigs, chickens and a very special pair of oxen this day. Buck and Ben are yearling bulls learning to pull on a yoke. The employees working with the oxen, and all around the grounds, are in full costume which lends to the atmosphere. They use the tools and techniques of George Washington’s time as best as possible and are always happy to chat about what they do. Quenton got to ask many questions about the oxen. We all came away from the experience with a sense of awe regarding the patience and work that goes into training farm animals.  We hitched a ride on the free shuttle back up to the museum from the farm. We had not planned the ride but are glad we did it. Our driver was gracious enough to point out a lot of behind the scenes activities transpiring as we made our way on the back road. The most impressive of which was pulling of wood from the wood shed for building projects. Wish we had gotten a picture of it. 

I do so love Mt. Vernon and so do the kids. Something for everyone and a good dose of history to immerse yourself in. We will miss the experience until the next time…. now on to more packing. Movers arrive in T-minus 7 days.
–If you would like to follow our family adventures please scroll down and hit the follow me button at the bottom of the blog. Thanks!–

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