When we had kids, we wanted to share our love of history with them. Long before we started homeschooling, we loved packing everyone up and heading to a fun destination to learn about history. Now that we are homeschooling, these trips have become even more important.
Thanks to my husband’s conferences, over the last 12 months, we’ve been able to visit:
- Memphis, Tennessee,
- Boston, Massachusetts,
- Atlanta, Georgia, and
- Arlington, Virginia
This week, in conjunction with The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, I’m participating in a 5 day blog hop. My topic–historic field trips. For at least three days this week I’ll be sharing our historical adventures over the last year, writing about some of the best historic sites we’ve seen.
Up first for today, Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home. We visited Mount Vernon on a windy, chilly March day. We were given a ticket with a specific time to visit the home, and then we were free to roam around. There are three distinct attractions at Mount Vernon: the home itself, the grounds, and the museum.
Mount Vernon–The Home
While waiting in line, we noticed that the outbuilding walls felt like sandpaper. Turns out, Washington wanted everything to look like it was made of masonry, but he used wood. He had the wood notched to look like large bricks, and then they added paint and sand to give the texture of cement. Quite an ingenious idea!
The attendant said that in the early spring, about 3,000 to 5,000 people come to Mount Vernon daily. During the summer months, that number can swell to 8,000. In one year, Mount Vernon receives more than 1 million visitors!
Unfortunately, the tour of the house was a disappointment. Because there are so many people going through the house, there is no one to offer a guided tour. Instead, tour guides briefly tell you what each room is (shouting, “This is a guest bedroom”) while you continue shuffling forward in your place in line. There really isn’t time to stop and look at anything or ask many questions. Our tour of the home was over in about 10 minutes. However, we were allowed to see the bedroom Washington died in.
Bookworm (9) and I wandered the grounds for quite some time. Mount Vernon is still a working farm, so to speak, so there were horses and sheep grazing in the fields, and the gardeners were clearing the garden in preparation for planting. I would love to come back in the summer to see everything in bloom and growing.
Our favorite part of the grounds was visiting George and Martha Washington’s tombs. Washington loved Mount Vernon and requested to be buried there. Martha followed him in death less than three years later, and together, they rest on the grounds.
We also enjoyed seeing how different life was in the late 1700s when Washington owned Mount Vernon. The smokehouse was larger than any I had ever seen. Because the Washington’s entertained so many guests, over 150 pigs were processed every year and prepared at the smokehouse. Martha Washington loved to give hams as presents at Christmas time.
After visiting the house and grounds, Bookworm and I decided we had time to check out the museum. What a fantastic find! This was our favorite of the three attractions at Mount Vernon.
We watched several short films on Washington’s life and his relationship with Martha. The museum guides visitors from Washington’s childhood, to his early military career, to his relationship with Martha, to his role in the Revolutionary War, to his rise to our nation’s first President, to his retirement shortly before his death.
This museum is highly interactive. We viewed one short film about the Revolutionary War, and as we sat in the theater, our seats shook as the cannons fire. When the screen showed Washington in the snow, “snow” fell on us in the theater. What a great way to bring history to life! This feature was hands down our favorite at Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon was a fabulous place to visit, and I highly recommend it to anyone. As it so happens, we were studying the Revolutionary War at the same time we visited Mount Vernon, so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect!
Have you been to Mount Vernon? If so, what was your favorite feature?
For more fun blog hop topics, check out these bloggers:
Guiding Light Homeschool ~ Homeschooling with Excessive Energy
Lextin Academy ~ The Homeschool Dad, CEO
Ladybug Chronicles ~ Organizing Your Home and School
Through the Calm and Through the Storm ~ Homeschooling Thankfulness
Tots and Me ~ Making Geography Fun
AdenaF ~ Mnemonics
Homeschool Encouragement ~ Lego Learning
For Him and My Family ~ Record Keeping