This is an amazing place. I was so pleased to learn so much about the younger George Washington. In our formal education systems, we seem to learn about George Washington as the impressive General or as the first President of the United States. Seeing this home along with the impressive grounds and visitor made him more human and nuanced. If you plan on visiting Mount Vernon, don’t plan to do anything else for the rest of the day. We basically closed this place down. By time you do the home tour, visit the grounds and then hit the visitor center (don’t miss the 4D movie, awesomeness), your day will be done. That doesn’t include the grist mill and distillery which are a little further down the road.
But it gets better. The day we were there George Washington’s personal physician, James Craik was on the grounds. The man who interprets his doctor was very knowledgeable. We were able to ask all matter of questions regarding George Washington’s health. I was particular curious on how our first President died. He was able to explain the infection and how there was no way to treat it. He explained the process of bleeding, enemas and leeches and other treatments that were used.
There were people over different parts of the grounds who could explain functions on the farm. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association runs this property. They make note that they are very deliberate in the use of language. They used the term ‘enslaved people’ rather than ‘slaves’ as a way to “emphasize their humanity, rather than a status imposed by others.” I very much appreciated that this association does not gloss over the importance of enslavement to his farming success.