George and Martha Washington would be pleased with today’s Mount Vernon. After all, they loved entertaining in their Virginia home. So much so in fact, that George’s letters indicate he and the Mrs. rarely dined alone.
Martha must have been a hearty woman. She played hostess with the most-ess to a virtual who’s who of 18th century celebrities. Being one of the Founding Fathers, first President of the United States (POTUS for short cut lovers) and Revolutionary War Commander-in-Chief does a good bit for one’s popularity. Mansion records indicate that as many as 600 guests a year visited while the Washington’s were in residence.
George’s passing on December 14, 1799 did not stem the tide of visitors. Our gracious first First Lady received them all until her death on May 22, 1802. Then, driveway traffic changed considerably and Mount Vernon began a slow slide towards decay and ruin. Thankfully, Mount Vernon was rescued and saved for us all by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union in 1853.
After a bit of sprucing up, the doors to Mount Vernon opened to the public in 1860. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association boasts that 85 million have seen the mansion since.
Today, Mount Vernon remains a working farm. Generous grants and donations fund events and exhibits year round.
It is a privilege to be able to sit on George and Martha’s back porch and enjoy the same view of the Potomac River they shared. The Mount Vernon Ladies Association wisely purchased acreage surrounding the estate on both sides of the Potomac River. From wine tastings to educational programs for students, there is something for everyone at Mount Vernon. The mansion is available for tour 365 days a year.
George lived long enough to know that the nation’s capitol would be named for him. We can also thank George Washington for choosing the elegant designs and architects for our White House and U.S. Capitol.
George and Martha Washington are buried side by side on the estate.