1 On another day of our trip, we visited the Washington Monument. It stands east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial. This is the grand view from the top. https://www.nps.gov/wamo/index.htm
2 The nearly two-minute elevator ride ends up 555-feet above the ground. This stunning monument, commemorating George Washington, and made of marble, granite, and bluestone, is the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk.
3 From this angle - a view of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial
4 And, from here, a view of the White House
5 Here are Jude and Truman as we rode to the top of the Washington Monument. They really enjoyed every moment of the trip - I think it was one they will remember forever.
6 The next stop was The United States Capitol - the seat of the United States Congress, and the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. We had a lovely tour with Steve Livengood, Chief Guide and Public Programs Manager of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society. He showed Jude and Truman a statue of Helen Keller. https://www.visitthecapitol.gov
7 This is the plaster model for the Statue of Freedom, which was used to cast the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol Dome.
8 This star on the floor of the Capitol rotunda marks the point where the four geographic quadrants of Washington meet. It is directly over the crypt.
9 This is the House of Representatives Clock. Originally installed over the north door of the House Chamber, this clock is now displayed in the U.S. Capitol's crypt. Its gilded oak case is crowned by a bronze eagle and flanked by bronze Backwoodsman and Indian sculptures.
10 The Apotheosis of Washington is the fresco painted by Greek-Italian artist, Constantino Brumidi, in 1865. It can be seen through the oculus of the dome in the rotunda.
11 This is a view of the ornate ceiling, chandelier and decorative walls of the National Statuary Hall, a chamber in the United States Capitol devoted to sculptures of prominent Americans.
12 The restored Old Senate Chamber was the legislative chamber of the United States Senate from 1810 to 1859 and served as the Supreme Court chamber from 1860 until 1935. It is now preserved as a museum and for the Senate's use.
13 And, on the floor, a bronze plate marking the location of Abraham Lincoln's desk - one of eight similar markers placed on the floor of National Statuary Hall.
15 The National Archives Museum has wonderful learning labs for children. Here are Jude, Truman, Patty and their teacher for the hour.
16 We took a private tour in the National Museum of American History. It is a very interactive space and learning facility. Here is Truman playing "captain" of the Thomas E. Moran "tugboat". http://americanhistory.si.edu
17 The children played in the "Spark Lab", where young museum visitors become inventors using science, technology, engineering, and math, with art and creativity.
18 They also saw Abraham Lincoln's hat, which is at the museum for a limited amount of time.
19 A display of presidential street signs
20 We also visited Jose Andres' new casual restaurant called Beefsteak. It serves a vegetable-focused menu of grain and vegetable bowls with a variety of toppings. They come in biodegradable containers. http://beefsteakveggies.com.
21 And off to Mount Vernon - the plantation house of George Washington and his wife, Martha Dandridge Custis Washington. Joining me for the ride are President and CEO of Mount Vernon, Curt Viebranz, our tour guide, Gail Cassidy, the children's nanny, Patty, and Alexis and the children behind me.
22 The estate is situated on the banks of the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia, near Alexandria, across from Prince George's County, Maryland.
23 George Washington oversaw all the aspects of the landscape at Mount Vernon. He redesigned the grounds surrounding his home, and made it less formal, more natural - more like the style of 18th century English gardens. The views of the Potomac are so beautiful.
24 The Washington family had owned land in the area since the time of Washington's great-grandfather in 1674.
25 Washington reshaped walks, roads, and lawns, cut vistas through the forest, and planted hundreds of native trees and shrubs. A carriage road encircles a grassy bowling green in front of the home's entrance.
26 The Mansion is 11,028 square feet with two and a half stories and a full cellar. Mount Vernon is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is still owned and maintained in trust by The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, and is open every day of the year. https://www.nps.gov/nr/
27 The Mansion is built of wood in a loose Palladian style, and was constructed by George Washington in stages between 1758 and 1778. The principal block, dating from 1758, is a two-storied corps de logis flanked by two single-story secondary wings, built in 1775. These secondary wings, which house the servants hall on the northern side and the kitchen on the southern side, are connected to the corps de logis by symmetrical, quadrant colonnades, built in 1778.
28 In addition to a second story with dormers, the main house has two large chimneys piercing the roof.
29 The current property consists of 500 acres. The main buildings, including the house, are near the riverfront.
30 This is an "overseer's quarters". Because of George Washington's busy schedule, he relied on overseers to help manage his estates. These workers received about 130-dollars a year, plus "board, bed lodging and washing".
31 This is the "spinning room". Washington practiced selective breeding of his sheep to get the best quality wool for the linens.
32 Textile production was vital in achieving self-sufficiency at Mount Vernon.
33 After he retired from the Presidency, George Washington hired a clerk to act as a business manager. This was the "clerk's quarters".
34 Painting the Mansion was a constant and labor-intensive process. Paint was expensive in the 18th century, and was imported in powder form. In this "painting cellar", it was then hand-mixed with linseed oil before use. After use, it was stored here for safekeeping.
35 This is the "smokehouse". In order to preserve meat, it was salted and kept in the smokehouse where it dried for four to six weeks. Then it was hung up over a smoldering fire pit to dry the meat some more and prevent future spoilage.
36 This "riding chair" is similar to what George Washington received as a young man. They are more compact than four-wheeled coaches.
37 This is similar to one of several horse-drawn vehicles Washington owned. It is housed in a "coach house".
38 In 1781, Washington's wooden stable burned down. He designed and built this wooden structure the following year.
39 This is a room in the "gardener's House". The gardener played an integral role at Mount Vernon. Washington wanted someone who was knowledgeable and who knew how to work in a greenhouse, a hot house and how to raise things in hot beds. In return, he was provided with a nice apartment.
40 The "gardener's house" included a furnished separate bedroom.
41 This is called the "smoke room". Hot air from this stove would help to heat the greenhouse and protect precious citrus trees and keep other tropical plants in good shape.
42 This was the "slave quarters", where enslaved house servants, skilled craftsmen and laborers slept. 10 to 20 male slaves of varying ages slept here - sometimes two per bunk.
43 We toured some of the rooms in the Mansion as well. This is the "new room", about 37-feet by 28-feet large with 16-foot ceilings - a room full of color and possessions.
44 The room is filled with beautiful antiques and paintings.
45 And, ornate marble fireplaces.
46 The bedrooms often had fireplaces to warm the cold winter Virginia evenings.
47 This is Washington's study at Mount Vernon.
48 The original kitchen was built in 1775 as a separate outbuilding to reduce risk of fire to the main house. Martha Washington is said to have supervised the bread making.
49 Thirty-percent of the spring visiting population at Mount Vernon is made up of eighth grade school children. In this photo, I am standing with a group of students, and their teacher, from California.
50 George and Martha Washington were originally interred in this "old vault" until Washington's request to be buried in a new brick tomb be completed. The first couple was moved to the new tomb in 1831.
51 We also visited the final resting place of George Washington. His last will outlined his desire to be buried at home at Mount Vernon.
52 George Washington died in his bedchamber at Mount Vernon on December 14, 1799. Today, the gently wooded enclosure that surrounds the Washingtons' final resting place is a lovely, fitting space to pay homage to the Father of Our Country and the first First Lady.
53 A closer view of the tomb
54 This is a view of the garden at Mount Vernon, which was used to grow the household's vegetables, fruit and other perishable items.
55 The children loved walking through Mount Vernon's farm. They are quite fond of farm animals, and wanted to visit every one of them. Here is Alexis with Jude, Truman, and their new equine friend.
56 Mount Vernon was home to many sheep in George Washington’s time. His flock number ranged from 600 to one-thousand sheep. They provided wool for clothing and blankets, and manure for crop fertilization.
57 Jude was a very good bottle feeder.
58 And, so was Truman.
59 Today, Mount Vernon raises Ossabaw Island hogs. Ossabaw Island hogs come in a variety of colors – gray, black, red, tan and even spotted. Listed as “critical” with The Livestock Conservancy, Mount Vernon has been breeding the Ossabaws for more than 20-years.
60 Here I am with the crew at the Mount Vernon Estate farm.
61 In the Mount Vernon Theatre, we visited "Martha Washington" and listened to her interesting stories and lessons of life as our country's first First Lady.
62 Jude and Truman were very interested in talking to her and went right up with their questions.
63 This is the Knot Garden with tight growing boxwood squares and flower knots. It was so beautiful.
64 The ha-ha wall - named for the surprise a person got on suddenly coming across it - had one sloping side and a stone- or brick-faced wall. They were used to separate the working farm from the pleasure grounds that Washington created for his family and guests. The animals would be contained within the ha-ha. Here are Alexis and my driver, Rock, enjoying the views.
65 Jude and Truman still had lots of energy after our tour - thank goodness for these beautiful and expansive lawns where they could play.
66 Here are Truman and Alexis looking out the window at the Washington Monument.
68 Ravioli was definitely one of our choices from the menu - it was another great meal. Stay tuned to my blog, I will soon share photos from our visit to the White House!