George's House and Garrett's Tavern
Trip Start Jun 22, 2010
9Trip End Jul 09, 2010
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We learned there is much more to the estate than we realized, which may be why it is the most visited historic site in the United States. Charter bus after charter bus drove in while we were there. Over 80 million visitors have walked the grounds of Mt. Vernon, which would not have been preserved had it not been for the Mt. Vernon Ladies Association, which was formed to purchase and preserve the estate in 1860. The Ladies Association raised $200,000 (yes, that is 5 zeros) in less than a year to purchase the estate from the Washington family in the year 1860
Washington was not only a general, a statesman, and a surveyor (at age 19) but was also an astute businessman who worked tirelessly over a half a century to expand his estate to 8,000 acres. He farmed 3,200 of those acres, making the most of his land by employing crop rotation. When fish spawned in the Potomac each year, his servants would haul in 1.5 million fish in a period of six weeks. Some were salt preserved and stored in ashes to feed his family and 300+ servants he had by this time. The rest were sold with the profits being funneled back into his estate.
Today, some of the land is still farmed using methods authentic to George's day. No tractors! Everthing is worked by horse and plow. We visited the farm, where we met Henryetta, one of the plow horses. Jonathan's favorite part was "helping the pilgrims dig potatoes". He and Charis both helped dig potatoes and quickly became experts at identifying the rotten, squishy ones. We all had a big laugh when Henryetta turned to work a row of potatoes and graced us with not one but several large expulsions from the south end. Charis exclaimed, "That horse tooted!"
While we were farming, Garrett and Justice took a special tour, National Treasure, Book of Secrets
We lunched at Mt. Vernon Inn--the food was superb! Then it was time to deliver Justice and Garrett to the People to People World Leadership Forum. We were starving by the time we drove through rush hour traffic to our hotel in the Foggy Bottom area of DC. We strolled (quickly) into Georgetown to scout a place for dinner and would you believe we happened upon Garrett's Restaurant and Railroad Tavern?!! Well, we just had to eat there! Again, the food was great and our waitress even took our pic and sent us home with a souveneir for Garrett.
It was a full day and we had a great time!