Ed had Monday off so we decided to brave the chilly weather, the goose droppings and the free-admission-Presidents'-Day crowds to go visit Mount Vernon (which would normally cost our family $30.) We pumped up the double stroller tires, packed a bag with snacks and mittens, and set off. We did sit in a little traffic to get in, but snagged one of the last parking spots before they put up the LOTS FULL signs. As we walked in Ed said the last time he came here was on a high school choir trip to DC in ninth grade. For me it was in 2000 when my college roommate Jen came out for Dave & Michelle's wedding. Jen was an enthusiastic 6th grade teacher so after the wedding she insisted on visiting historical stuff like Mount Vernon and Williamsburg. I mostly remember the heat, the crowds and the ice cream.
But this time it was a great family outing. Crowded, yes, but we kept things moving. We saw General Washington himself several times but the girls were too shy to go meet him or have a picture taken. We skipped the mansion with it's winding long line to get in, and instead peeked in the storehouse and other outbuildings. We explored the gardens, the animal pens, and paid respects at George Washington's tomb. When the sun came out it was a beautiful day, but when the clouds rolled by it was downright nippy. Ginger lost steam about the same time I did, but Hazel and Ed were tireless explorers, and the fresh air and charming scenery did us all good.
In fact, not only were admission and parking free, we actually came out ahead. By the gardens, this troop of marching Masons stopped to give each of the girls a gold George Washington $1 coin, and on our way out through the gift shop we were handed two complimentary Dove dark chocolate bars - big ones - with fancy Mount Vernon wrappers. Not bad, not bad at all.
Here are some shots taken by our budding photographer Hazel: