Mount Vernon is probably one of my all time favorite places to go. It’s the home of George Washington, and is located south of Washington DC. One reason I love Mount Vernon so much is because I like and admire George Washington… a lot. My kids all tease me that I would have married George Washington if I’d lived during his time. But Martha was the perfect wife for him—and I wouldn’t trade Sterling for George.
Mount Vernon is a great place to visit, whether you love George or not. My favorite time to visit is spring or fall, but I’ve been there in all seasons. Our last visit was at Christmas, which was a first for us. I’ve wanted to go during the Christmas season for a while, since that’s the only time of year (starting the day after Thanksgiving through January 6) that they open up the 3rd floor of the mansion, to see the rooms where Martha lived after Washington died. I was happy to finally get to see them, and despite the crowds there, I took a few moments to look out the little round window, see the front lawns of Mount Vernon, imagine it as it must have been long ago, and take in the experience.
To start your day at Mount Vernon, purchase your tickets to see the grounds and, of course, the mansion (George Washington’s home). With your admission ticket, you will receive a timed ticket for the mansion tour. My ticket time determines how I plan my visit at Mount Vernon. (I like to plan on about four hours for my visit.) If my mansion tour time is in less than an hour, I will head toward the mansion, going up the left side of the path that forms an arc around the mansion. Then I’ll visit all of the attractions on the left side (if you are facing the mansion) before my tour. If my tour is over an hour away, I’ll usually head down to the farm first and see that area of the grounds, stopping by the gravesite of George and Martha along the way. For your mansion tour, you can always be late, but they will rarely let you go early—so don’t waste your time by getting in line too early.
Make sure you spend some time sitting in the chairs in front of the mansion, taking in the view of the Potomac. Also make sure you leave plenty of time (at least an hour) at the end to explore the museum. They have some great exhibits and movies to help you learn more about Washington. Also note that there is no food allowed on the grounds of Mount Vernon. So, for this picnic loving family—we’ll usually picnic once we leave, on the tables or ground outside, and if we’re not done with our visit yet, we’ll go back in.
Take a look at the map before you go: