Friday, July 2, 2010

Mt Vernon the Home of our First President

I can totally understand why George Washington loved his home. The aspect from the front veranda is spectacular. This is the view of the front. The fronts of colonial homes typically faced the river. Why? Because river travel was easier than road travel.

When you walk from the ticket booth you are really walking up to the back of the house. Still impressive but notice the small doors. One doesn't spend a lot of money on places in or around the house where guest are not allowed.

The bottom floor is the pubic space. It is fancier than the upper floor, the family space. You don't have to provide fancy modelings, murals, and mantels for family. Just like the front of the house has all those tall columns and the back of the house is all flat and boring (I say that like I could ever afford something half as nice).

The house started out as just the middle section. Pretty much the area where the cupola is or the five windows in the middle of the top floor. When George (George and I are on first name basis. You don't do the research on Founding Fathers that I have and not feel like their best friend) inherited and after the Revolutionary war was over he expanded the house on both sides.

Kitchens were almost never inside the house. Most were attached with a breezeway. Kitchen fires were always a threat. One could not be too careful.

Big open fireplaces provided plenty of space to cook a variety of dishes. Dutch ovens on stands could cook a stew or bake biscuits. By moving coals under the stand and piling them on top of the lid you could cook by convection. The small oven on the right side was used to bake bread. Chances are Martha would never come into this building. She would have supervised the housekeeper who would relay messages to the cook.

The long pole like things that are stored over the fireplace are spits for meat. They were attached to a mechanism inside the fireplace than a small child would turn the handle slowly.

As I walked through this small building all I kept thinking about was how I could work in this space. It's pretty big. You don't have to do too much to the floor to keep it clean. Who mops brick? I've never had much trouble cooking over an open flame, whether that is a modern gas range or a campfire.

(Okay, where did the picture of the pantry go? Damn Blogger! It was there last night.)

The pantry space is fabulous! It is below ground level so it is naturally cool. It could use a few more shelves. I think instead of dead birds hanging from the hooks on the ceiling I think I'd add hanging baskets. Notice the flagstone floor instead of the brick that is in the kitchen. There is enough space between the rocks that drippings (ewwwww..) can drop down and be absorbed.

There you have a little of Mt. Vernon. If you ever get a chance to visit pay a little extra to take the boat cruise on the Potomac. The views are unrivaled.

Happy Friday and Happy Independence day. Wow! You would have thought that I had actually planned to make some sort of fourth of July celebration with this post. Yeah, right! Like I plan that far in advance.



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  2. I've been there it is incredible just knowing your standing in GW's home. I hope you and JR have a fantastic 4th. Cheers Michele!!

  3. Wow!
    How many days did you have to sight-see? I have maybe 1 1/2 days since we have a wedding to attend on one of the evenings. I want to see as much as possible, but my parents are pretty insistent on the main DC mall area. I would love to fit this in!

  4. Might want to add an "L" to the grounds described for general viewing. ;)

  5. Where is the TV? Microwave? That place sucks. ;)

  6. Oh thanks for posting this. Ilove history and I would love to see Mt Vernon, but this virtual little tour is the next best thing. I saw his birth place as a kid in VA but we didn't get to Mt Vernon.
    Enjoy your W/E!

  7. Very interesting!!! Loved walking through it with you!

  8. I saw on the news today that they just started distilling whiskey at Mt. Vernon. Apparently George had one ofthe largest distilleries in the US back in his day.

    It is a beautiful place...built by slaves. I love the history.

  9. Beautiful, I'd love to visit it one day.