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Our Honeymoon

Day 6 - Mt. Vernon

Thursday morning we got our rental car and headed south towards the Historical Triangle. With only a little bit of driving in circles we managed to find our way out of DC and into Virginia. Then with only a little bit of backtracking we managed to get on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the "scenic" route to Mt. Vernon. (With no trees in bloom, and a muddy Potomac, it wasn't exactly scenic.) We arrived at Mt. Vernon just in time for a light fitful rain to start its game.

Slave quarters and overseers quarter (easy to guess which is which between bunks and tables with benches versus free-standing bed and personal pantry and ovens):

The greenhouse was heated during the winter by this really cool huge fireplace with flues stretching under the floor of the greenhouse:

The Spinning House, Kitchen (I wonder if those are the same fake carrots as when I came here in 1992), Storehouse, Paint Cellar (?!) and Smokehouse:

In the Stable was an old riding chair (in the back) and a modern recreation. It looks like a rocking chair with the rockers replaced with a frame and two wheels! This particular riding chair belonged to Washington's friend Thomas, Lord Fairfax.

We got pictures of the Mansion on the way in and on the way out. But as we snaked through the inside there wasn't really time to see it all, let alone take pictures with the press of people behind. You can see the line of people to go inside the Servents Hall and Mansion below:

Mike took a couple photos of the view of the Potomac from just outside of the Mansion:

Down the hill a bit is Washington's Tomb. We got there just as the Tribute at the Tomb ceremony was finishing. Also at Mt. Vernon is a replica of the Commander in Chief flag that Washington flew as he led the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War.

On the way out Mike made me stand still long enough to take a picture with the Mansion in the background. I was cold and had done the smart thing of packing my rain jacket and wearing my leather jacket. (Hey, the weather was fine in DC that morning.)

From Mt. Vernon we headed to George Washington's Gristmill, the reconstructed mill and distillery from Washington's estate. The reconstruction was only just completed in 2007, and there were still some liquor law issues being worked out to allow them to sell the whiskey onsite. The tour starts in the gristmill, which is a fully functioning mill (you can actually buy flour ground in the mill).

The photos below show the stream leading to both the gristmill and distillery, the internal water sluice and water wheel in the mill, the gears connecting the water wheel to everything else, the grain hopper that feeds grain to the millstones, and then the flour sifter below the millstones. It's a really cool system that automates the entire process, powered by the water wheel. Mike took some good movies of the milling, but we haven't yet figured out how to effectively post them.

The tour then moved from the gristmill to the distillery, which is also fully functional.

Inside the distillery Mike was really excited to see all the parts of the process. Here you see the malting barrels and pot stills, and a really happy Mike:

The museum above the distillery had a display including historical Mt. Vernon Whiskey bottles and modern day bottles, as well as bits and pieces of original items discovered during the archaelogical exploration of the site. There were also recreations of bedrooms for the master distiller and assistant:

By the time we left Mt. Vernon heading south, we knew that we would not be able get to Jamestown before the end of the day, and only hoped to drive by Yorktown. Then we hit the rush "hour" traffic south from DC. We had not accounted for that! The 2.5 hour drive down to Jamestown/Williamsburg took 4 hours.

When we finally got to Williamsburg we checked into our hotel and then walked to Chowning's Tavern for a late dinner (Wonderful Meal #10) with a backdrop of colonial tavern life and entertainment.

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Photos taken by Mike (except one taken by Maya)