The most impressive 18th Century estate museum has got to be the home of our first president, George Washington. Mount Vernon began as a rather modest home for a dignitary into one of grandeur by the time of Washington’s death. His favorite place to be, Mount Vernon tells a great story of the Washington’s. George and Martha were opened their home visitors from around the country and sometimes the world. But running an army and then a nation took Washington away from his home far more than he would have liked. During the eight years of his presidency, Washington only visited Mount Vernon a total of fifteen times.
Today, Mount Vernon looks much like it did when Washington entertained his guests (which was a lot, he complained that at times if felt as though his home was more like a hotel). The estate was always owned by the Washington family and turned over for historical preservation in the 1800’s. The exterior of the home was constructed of wood, but sand was mixed into the paint to give it an effect of stone. Painting the home and all of the fourteen out-buildings on the estate was a continuous necessity and Washington had a storage building just for paint. Stables, barns, a smokehouse, and a replicated “necessary room” are a few of the surrounding buildings that Washington had built to create a beautiful estate and one of the most impressive 18th Century homes in the country.
Washington was a private man who more than not found himself entertaining guests for sometimes months at a time. He had additions added to the home as the family needs and desires changed. His office and sleeping chambers were separated from the rest of the house and it was uncommon that anyone besides he and Martha were allowed into them. Today, located in his office are both the desk and chair that he used in New York as president along with the trunk that accompanied him throughout his travels during the Revolutionary War. Standing on the beautiful veranda and looking out over Mount Vernon, imaging the thoughts and decisions that must have crossed Washington’s mind becomes almost effortless. The home tells a great deal about George Washington, not only as a president, but as a man.