George Washington is one of my favorite men in the history of the world. I love him for shaping this amazing country I live in, but to tell it true I never knew too much about him aside from legend. The tale of the cherry tree with the words ‘I cannot tell a lie’ and something about wooden teeth would always be my first thoughts. So on a recent roadtrip around Virginia, my first stop was Mount Vernon [3200 Mount Vernon Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA 22121] to find out more about the founding father of my nation, and see how he lived.
We planned to get in as early as possible to avoid the crowds, which was very nice because towards the end of our visit we noticed a lot more people around. Upon purchasing our ticket we were given a time for the house tour. We explored the grounds until then. We took the woodsy path down to the river.
Checked out the various farming spots which had guides dressed in period wear along with information about tools and methodology used.
Then to the tomb where George and Martha Washington are buried, which was very surreal.
Lastly we visited the upper and lower gardens which were lovely, and popping into the little air conditioned shop was sweet relief during a serious heatwave.
It was finally time for our tour of George and Martha’s gorgeous home on a hill overlooking the great Potomac River. It was nice to have a guide because we learned so much about their life together and interesting facts about the house itself.
My favorite room was their bedroom. I never knew the story of how George died. He always considered himself a farmer first, and at 67 he was out in the fields on a slushy winter day. He felt sick and by the next day his throat closed up with an infection. One of the most powerful men in the world died of something we would have gotten a simple anti-biotic for today. Shocking. Martha never slept in the bedroom again. She burnt all of the letters of correspondence between them, they had a private relationship.
After wandering around the extensive grounds and taking the tour, we were ready to head into the museum. It was a lot bigger than I had realized! Copious amounts of information about George,
his family, Martha and her family,
and the Revolutionary War. My very favorite exhibit was a timeline on George’s dental hygiene, circling around the centerpiece: his dentures.
The myth of his wooden teeth was debunked for me (they are actually made of human teeth, ivory, brass, and steel), and I was delighted to know that he didn’t have poor dental hygiene, he actually tried to take really good care of his teeth and it is documented that he bought toothbrushes. Try as he would to take care of them, he lost his first tooth in 1756 and the subsequent almost every year. Sadly, it is why he didn’t smile often. I feel so enlightened finally have visited Mount Vernon, it was a great interactive and interesting estate, which gave insight into the life of America’s first president. This was the first stop on our roadtrip around the state, but when we returned it was still one of places I was most excited to tell my friends and family about. I still haven’t stopped talking about all the things I learned about George and Martha, and the estate piqued my interest to find out more.