Summer is a time of year many of us generally seek activities outdoors, but when the temps start to soar, it’s great to have indoor options, too. So, when one place offers both at once and makes for a fun and interesting visit for the whole family, even better.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the historic estate of the nation’s first president, is just that place. Located right on the Potomac River in Northern Virginia, the attraction is perfectly situated to enjoy a nice day outside, with numerous exhibits, demonstrations, events, and scenic views along the beautiful grounds. But there is still plenty to explore inside when you want to take a break from the heat or rainy weather.
Out & About at Mount Vernon
Walking around the grounds of Mount Vernon is like taking a little trip back to Colonial days, with many of the estate’s original structures still standing or reconstructed and set up just as they would have been in the 18th century. Along with Washington’s Mansion, you can see the blacksmith house, stables, spinning house, homes of enslaved people, plus several more outbuildings. Four gardens are also open for visitors to tour, showcasing the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables that were grown there as well as lovely areas full of plants enjoyed during after dinner strolls. A four-acre working farm, complete with heritage-breed animals, is also part of the outdoor offerings. And not only can you tour, peer into, and walk among these sites, you might also encounter people who operated them and knew George Washington through Mount Vernon’s interpretive character programs.
A whole museum and education center on the estate brings history to life through modern installations, exhibits, and interactive features. There are elements that appeal to all ages, with large recreations of scenes from George Washington’s life, artifacts from Mount Vernon’s storied history, audio and visual displays that provide background and details on colonial life, and high-tech theatres that offer unique, interactive experiences. Also inside is a food court, so you can really make a day of it and include a bite with your visit. (And for a meal that takes you back into the more tranquil atmosphere of the 18th century, the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant is right next door.)
The next big event at Mount Vernon is the annual Colonial Market & Fair — and it’s one to mark on your calendar. Over the weekend of September 17-18, you can experience a lively re-created, early-American marketplace with demonstrations, crafts, and entertainment. It’s a great time to take in the sights and sounds of Mount Vernon as its 12-acre field is filled with colonial artisans selling traditional handcrafted food and wares. Colonial music transports you back to the 18th century as expert artisans demonstrate period crafting techniques, and there are opportunities to chat with them, too. Plus, the rest of the estate is still open to tour!
To see what else is coming up at Mount Vernon, including special tours and big events, check out the calendar. And when you plan your family’s visit, be sure to use the promo code KIDFRIENDLY and save 20% on admission: Buy Tickets!
George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Where: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway | Mount Vernon, VA
When: Daily, 9am – 5pm
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