October 2, 2018
Cherry Hill Park has a lot of sites and amenities. It is the closest campground to Washington DC.
I had a great night’s sleep. I checked the distance to Ronald Reagan National Airport. Google Maps told me it was 20 miles and I should allow 45 minutes to get there. My first thought was that Hank and I were going alone, so this time must be wrong. Ha ha ha. I hate city traffic and MD/DC traffic is a zillion times worse.
We (Hank and I) arrived at Reagan National with 30 minutes to spare before my friend Sharon’s plane was to arrive. The plane ended up arriving early, but alas, Sharon spent that time and more getting her luggage and figuring out where to go for me to pick her up. I love cell phone parking at airports!
We drove through the airport a couple times before figuring out how to exactly LEAVE the airport. I wonder is Sharon was concerned about my ability to get her anywhere. I told her that I had seen a sign that Mt. Vernon was only 14 miles away and maybe we should head there while in the truck. As we were driving there was a brief discussion about which president had called Mt. Vernon home. We also commented that when we had visited in years past (not together) that we didn’t recall Mt. Vernon being so close to DC. As we are driving it does not appear that we are in the wilds. Then the gal on Google maps tells us to turn right and our destination is just down the road. YIKES! We were directed to Mt. Vernon apartment complex. Oh, you can’t even imagine how dumb I was feeling. Well, if you know me well, you may be able to imagine. I am sure Rachel would have had a HUGE laugh!
To our relief we were only a short distance from the real Mount Vernon.
Let me back up a minute. I very seldom watch the news or the weather. Sharon is the kind of friend that calls and asks if Rachel is okay when there is a storm down her way, or calls me in Iowa to make sure I am prepared for the tornadoes heading my way. What tornadoes????? ha ha Fifteen minutes later the tornado siren is blaring in the campground. It didn’t hit our area. (I should pause here for kudos to Gretchen. She always kept me posted on BIG news events so I didn’t look like an idiot when people were discussing currents events.)
So, a week before our rendezvous she says it is going to be chilly in DC and to be prepared. Of course I was prepared ….. I travel with ALL of my clothes. Okay, all this to say that it was hot as blazes as we walked around Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington.
The grounds are beautiful and have many exotic plants. We went on a mansion tour. The main house has AC and heat, but they were added relatively recently to help preserve the tour guides and the artifacts in the house.
Can you even imagine life before indoor plumbing, electricity, furnaces or air conditioning??? I start to sweat and have the urge to pee just thinking about it!
This is Martha Washington. She talked about her life with George. She is in her late 30s in this setting. She spoke as if George might come walking in the door at any time. She answered questions about the time period, politics and so much as if we were really in the time period. When a child asked about the tea party she answered about taxes and people being angry, but she knew not of what the girl was referring. (It hadn’t happened yet.)
This is our guide. No pictures were allowed to be taken in the Big House. This is the kitchen. All of the plantation workers were referred to as enslaved people. What is the difference between enslaved workers and slaves?
The Mount Vernon Women’s Society bought the plantation off of a descendant of George’s and worked had to raise money, restore and run the plantation as a historical monument. When these gals later found out the some kind of factory was buying the land across the Potomac they raised money, petitioned and the huge amount of land became government property to never be built upon.
This is the view of the Potomac from the back porch of the mansion. In the way distance on the left you were able to see bits of DC.
This is Sharon sitting on the porch checking out where we are headed next on the property.
When we walked in to the Visitors’ Center at the entrance to the grounds I saw a young girl with a property map that looked different than the one we had been given. As I peered over her shoulder I saw that her map was in sections and looked like a treasure hunt for clues around the plantation. She told me that she had gotten it from the front desk. I went and asked for one.
The clue hunt map led to different buildings and you had to discover a secret word about each. A letter from each of these words was used to answer a final question about George Washington. The map said that once completed it could be turned in at the VC for a prize. We had trouble with number two and I quizzed several people before we figured it out.
So, I approach the VC desk (Sharon is lagging behind because she has deduced that the hunt may have been for CHILDREN!) and hand our map in to the gal. She looks around. I wonder what for. Then she asks where the child that completed the map was????? I was indignant. I wanted my, oops … our prize. She stamped the map completed and told me where to go to claim my, oops … our prize.
The prize was a squished collector’s penny, but one edge was bent. I asked for an unbent penny and was told they were all in that condition. The gal even showed me the box of pennies.
FIRST … in Iowa our penny squisher machine NEVER turned up the edge of the penny and SECOND … was the gal so frightened by my demand for a prize that she felt compelled to prove they were all bent. Need I mention that Sharon was NOT standing close by during this encounter.
It was a great first day of our sightseeing, but we were pooped. Of course, we would say Mt. Vernon many times as I thought I was directing us in the right direct during our sightseeing.
If defacing money is illegal, why do the Army Corp of Engineers facility in Iowa and Mount Vernon have the penny squisher machines?
Why was Washington DC changed to DC?
I have so many questions!!! Good thing Sharon has lots of answers!!