He had wooden teeth. He chopped down a cherry tree. He couldn’t tell a lie.
Ask an American whom that describes and the resounding answer is: “George Washington.” Nevermind that his life may be summed up as much by myth as fact: America’s first President is also the first historical figure many children recognize.
To get the facts straight about George Washington, there’s no better place than beautiful Mount Vernon. Located just 16 miles south of DC, this historic home is filled with informational exhibits, interactive tours and artifacts from the Washington family.
Mount Vernon was George Washington’s home for more than 45 years, passed down from his great-grandfather. During his residency, he expanded the home from seven rooms to the large building it is today. Archaeologists and historians have carefully reconstructed and renovated the home (both inside and outside) to resemble its 1799 appearance, the year Washington died.
The new Ford Orientation Center and Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center are great places to begin your visit. Among 25 theatres and galleries, the story of George Washington (the man and the myth) unfolds. Exhibits trace his life from a young man to the Presidency and beyond, including personal artifacts and documents.
The best way to see Mount Vernon, especially for first-time visitors, is through at mansion tour. A docent will explain the history of the house and its restoration, as well as important items in the Washington family collection. Outside of the mansion are extensive gardens, planted to look the same as in Washington’s time.
Along the way, meet performers taking on roles of real life residents at Mount Vernon. From slaves to the President himself, you never know who you’ll bump into.
Movie buffs need to save time for the special “National Treasure Tour,” which shows locations where filming of National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets took place and reveals the true history behind these locations. Tours are conducted daily and book quickly, so reserve your spot early. This requires a separate ticket from the general Mount Vernon admission ticket.
Can’t make it to Mount Vernon anytime soon? Take a virtual tour of the mansion.
Click here to see the entire “While You’re Here” series with even more DC travel tips.
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