Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens
If you have only a few days in our nation’s capital you may not have time to visit Mount Vernon. However if you have a spare day we recommend this historical site. Touring takes nearly a whole day. The 30-acre plantation includes a four-acre colonial-style farm site where visitors can view costumed interpreters using 18th-century farm methods and tools, and see hogs, mules, horses, cattle, oxen, and sheep (though this is not a petting zoo).
The tombs of George and Martha Washington are here and visitors can see a working blacksmith’s shop and a 1770 grist mill and rye distillery 3 miles away (you’ll need a car). Historic interpreters are stationed throughout the estate and mansion to answer questions and give visitors an overview of the property and Washington’s life.
One of the major attractions is the $110 million, state-of-the-art visitor center, with its several real-life models of Washington based on forensic and computer-modeling advances, videos, 23 galleries of artifacts, and interactive exhibits.
Tours of Mount Vernon Estates
There are a number of special tours, some seasonal, such as landscape and garden tours; a 30-minute “Slave Life” tour of slave quarters, workplaces and burial ground; a behind-the-scenes mansion tour; a “National Treasure” tour, which highlights places used in the filming of the movie; and even a tour that focuses on the dogs of Mount Vernon.
Most tours are $5, some are free of charge. During the holiday season, the decorated mansion’s seldom-seen third floor is open to the public with dinner by candlelight, but not surprisingly, these reservations are very popular, so plan well in advance. Also note that there are a variety of package tickets that add on a brief river cruise, audio tour, discount at the shops and more.
Gray Line bus tours has two package tours: a 4-hour version which includes a visit of Old Town Alexandria ($55 adults) and a 9-hour version that includes stops at Arlington Cemetery and some of the memorials ($85 adults).
More Information on visiting Mount Vernon Estate:
Location: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy./George Washington Pkwy., Alexandria, VA. Mount Vernon Estate is about 16 miles south of Washington.
Getting there: The best way to reach Mount Vernon Estate is by car as there is no direct Metro to Mount Vernon Estate. Best Public Transport Option: Take the Metro (Yellow Line) to Huntington Station. Exit at the lower level of the station (Huntington Avenue) and take the #101 Fairfax Connector bus (Fort Hunt Line) to Mount Vernon Estate. The bus stops right at the gate of Mount Vernon Estate. It is a 20-minute bus ride from Huntington Station. For more information contact WMATA .
Contact information: call 703-780-2000 or check the website of Mount Vernon Estate.
Admission: $17 ages 12–61; $16 seniors age 62+, $8 children ages 6–11, free for children age 5 and under.
Important Notes: Advance tickets are timed.
Opening hours: While Mount Vernon Estate is open 365 days, opening hours vary and some tours may be closed seasonally. Contact Mont Vernon Estate Check to confirm opening hours and tours during the days of your visit.
Mount Vernon Estate is one of the many attractions covered in The Unofficial Guide to Washington D.C.
Credits for pictures featured:
Mount Vernon Estate: By Martin Falbisoner (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
George Washington’s tomb at Mount Vernon: Photo taken by myself Harald Klinke – 10/10/05 via Wikimedia Commons