“No estate in United America is more pleasantly situated than this. It lyes [sic] in a high, dry country 300 miles by water from the Sea and…on one of the finest Rivers in the world.” -George Washington to Arthur Young, 1793
Built on a promontory overlooking the Potomac River, Mount Vernon was the home of the United States’ first president, George Washington. Over time, Washington himself expanded on the home and the residence was the backdrop against which some of the most dramatic moments in the formation of the nation played out. It was also a working farm and the location of George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill. Today, Mount Vernon is every bit as bustling as it was in the 18th century and, just as it was then, it is so much more than a mansion.
While the 21-room Mansion is the centerpiece of the estate, showcasing what life would have been like at one of the largest and most esteemed residences in colonial America, the Mansion is only part of the experience. There are 500 acres for visitors to explore that include gardens, the fully restored gristmill and distillery, and the farm where visitors can see cows, chickens, and sheep, heritage breeds that would have been raised when Washington lived. The historic area offers many ways to experience the past, from interacting with costumed interpreters and watching live demonstrations to stepping inside a replica slave cabin or one of more than a dozen historic outbuildings where enslaved people and tradespeople engaged in work such as tool and textile making.
Because so much of the estate is outdoors—and you can buy a ticket just to explore the estate without entering the Mansion—it is a relaxing place to spend an afternoon simply strolling and absorbing the historic atmosphere. The estate is dog friendly, too.
When you visit, will you take advantage of the adventure map and take the kids for a scavenger hunt across the estate? Or perhaps visit the interactive museum and education center to trace Washington’s life through exhibits, a 4D Revolutionary War film and the Be Washington Interactive Theater? Maybe you want to enjoy a specialty tour, like the National Treasure: Book of Secrets or Hamilton the Musical tours?
Because there is so much to see and do, the best place to start your visit is the Mount Vernon website, mountvernon.org, which offers suggested itineraries depending on how much time you have to enjoy the estate and is the place to purchase tickets in advance. The website is full of useful tools and information including details on the many events hosted by Mount Vernon. Consider timing your visit to coincide with one of the following upcoming events:
August 6: Purple Heart commemoration day
September 10: The Patriot Run
September 17-18: Colonial Market & Fair
October 7-9: Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour
October 22-23: Fall Harvest Family Days
October 29: Trick or Treating at Mt. Vernon
November 11: Mt. Vernon Salutes Veterans
November 25-26: Mount Vernon by Candlelight
Complete your visit with a delicious meal at the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant (or grab a quick bite at the Food Court), and select from exclusive Mount Vernon wares such artisan woodworking crafts, jewelry, and reproductions from the museum collection, at the estate shop.
The entire estate is made possible by private contributions and there’s no better way to ensure the legacy continues than by becoming a member. Membership in Mount Vernon offers many perks including discounts at shops and restaurants, free estate admission and Mansion tours, and discounts to selected events, programs, and lectures.
Mount Vernon is within easy driving distance of Baltimore but allows you to travel back centuries in time to experience from many perspectives what life was like at the most preeminent home in colonial America. To begin your journey into history, visit mountvernon.org.