Mount Vernon

I haven’t been to Mount Vernon since… well, the last time I was there I didn’t have a digital camera. My mom and I went sometime when the gardens were blooming and it was lovely and I always meant to go back. But you know how it is with cool places that are like 40 minutes from home – you never go there because you could go anytime.

But Gloria and Mike decide to go and we went along with them and Stephanie and Mat to check out what Christmas is like. The gardens are obviously… wintery. BUT to make up for that, they have a CAMEL. Meet Aladdin:

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He is there because apparently back in the 18th century, George Washington paid an exorbitant (for the time) amount of money to have a camel at Mount Vernon at Christmas once because camels are exotic and how else are you going to see one? They are apparently quite hearty in cold weather with nice, shaggy coats and this one was also extremely pleasant-tempered. Apparently camels are generally pretty nice unless mistreated and they also can remember people for long periods of time. This one was as happy-go-lucky as camels get. He was also happy to see the guy that feeds him and talks about him. This guy said that Aladdin had indeed remembered him even though it’d been a while since the previous time he’d been his caretaker.

He certainly had no problem going right up to people and being petted. It was kind of fun!

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He liked this baby:
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Right. So here is Washington’s house. It’s quite nice.
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And you couldn’t beat the gorgeous view of the Potomac River!
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Yep. Wouldn’t mind having a porch like this!
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No pics inside the house, and the tour shoves you through rather quickly, but it was still cool. We got to see the upper floor of the house, which is normally off limits – and of course the room where Washington died, and his private study, etc.

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Two carriages that are just a chair bolted to a wagon! The one in front is repro, but the one in back is actually 18th century:
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George Washington (and later Martha Jefferson) was entombed here for a while until their final resting place was finished.
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This is where they are now:
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Here is a monument on the grounds to the slaves that worked at Mount Vernon.
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On a less somber note, here is a weird (if practical) vending machine down by the dock – you could get rain ponchos, kleenex, tylenol, and dramamine:
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The Atlantic Ocean is thataway!
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Sheep:
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Lotta kale:
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This guy reeeeally wanted the grass outside his pen.
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The round building is a special wheat threshing building of Washington’s design:
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Repro slave cabin:
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Pretty stark contrast to the main house.
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Pano!
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Group selfie:
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Wintery gardens:
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They had a chocolate making demo going on near the gift shop, which I did not photograph. We were able to sample the drinking chocolate though which was delicious.

Also, they had a former White House chef selling a cookbook. He had a pot of the best leek, fennel, squash soup (more savory than sweet, which I like) which sold him a cookbook. We made the soup for Christmas and it was really good. I want to read the book because half of it is his experiences cooking at the White House. He was there for Bush, Clinton, and W. (And was there for 9/11 which was interesting.) I skimmed but haven’t read the whole thing.

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