Taking a trip to George Washington’s Mount Vernon is like taking a trip back in time. A great sense of history washes over you as you begin to walk the grounds and learn about the key moments in the life of our nation’s first president. Set on 500 acres, the scenery alone, including the gardens and view of the Potomac River, is worth a visit to Mount Vernon.
The mansion is the highlight for most people. Everyone wants to see inside the house where General Washington lived. When you buy your tickets, you’re given a time to line up for the mansion tour. After standing in line for about 10-15 minutes, it was our turn to step through the mansion doors.
As you walk into each room, a staff member explains what the room was used for and talks about the decor. You’re also free to ask questions. They do keep you moving along though.
All the furniture and decor throughout the house is replicated to look exactly like it did back in mid to late 1700’s. Some are the original pieces. You learn all sorts of fun facts about the mansion, like even though the exterior appears to be stone, it’s really wood, with sand thrown on wet paint to give it a stone texture.
Near the mansion are a few dozen outbuildings you can peek your head into (blacksmith shop, servants’ hall, coach house, slave cabins, etc.). It’s fun to sit on the back porch staring out at the Potomac River and imagine the sort of entertaining that went on more than 200 years ago on the property.
As you wind your way through the grounds, you’ll also come across the tomb where George Washington is buried alongside his wife, Martha. Other members of the Washington family are also buried there and it is a very historic, but somber, part of the tour. At the tomb are photographs of visits by more recent presidents who paid their respects to their predecessor.
In addition to the mansion and grounds, there is an impressive Museum and Education Center with cool displays, short movies, interactive touch screens, etc., to help people learn all about George Washington. I really enjoyed the short movie highlighting the love story between George and Martha Washington. There are also numerous authentic artifacts owned and used by Washington himself and the museum is on par with many larger museums in the D.C. area. They also have a special Hands-On History Center, offering crafts and storytime for young visitors.
I brought my 7-year-old son, 4-year-old daughter, and almost 2-year-old son. My oldest son loves history so he was very interested in learning everything he could about Washington. My daughter was also very interested. They enjoyed making a tricorn hat at the education center. General Washington loved animals, so you’ll see sheep, hogs and other animals at Pioneer Farm. My toddler got a kick out of seeing all the animals. Mount Vernon has adventure maps for school age children, with a special prize if they complete the puzzle. Even though my preschooler can’t write, she enjoyed walking around looking for the answers.
Depending on what time of year you visit, there are various events and demonstrations, and special programs to celebrate the upcoming holiday season. Visiting the beloved home of our nation’s first president with my husband and children was such a special day. We will be back!
George Washington’s Mount Vernon is open 365 days a year. Winter hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours at other times of the year. It’s located at 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway in Mount Vernon, VA. Single-day tickets are $17 for adults, $9 for children ages 6-11, and free for kids 5 and under. Yearly passes are also available.
• Appealed to my children 4
• Appealed to adults 5
• Would visit more than once 5
• Child appropriate content 4
• Overall rating 5
All ratings on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being highest.
Meet the Reviewer!
Pamela Prado is a former TV news anchor turned stay-at-home mom in Northern Virginia, with a passion for social media. If she’s not rushing her kids to acting/modeling gigs or taking them to dance, soccer or baseball, she’s heading out to explore the rich history of the Washington, D.C. area.