Monday, June 14, 2010

Mt. Vernon

As always you can go to the Flickr page for more photos.

Every semester, Dr. Spalding organizes a group outing. There a couple of various locations that the group has gone in the past. This is usually a place a little bit outside of DC that we might not get to if we were going on our own. This year we went to Mount Vernon in Virginia. This is where George Washington used to live and is buried alongside his wife, Martha.

We met Dr. Spalding, her husband (also Dr. Spalding) and her two kids at the Pentagon City Metro stop bright and early. Carlos, Jenny, Isaac, Angela, Ben, and I climbed into her car and a brand new rented minivan to drive over to Virginia. It was about a half hour to forty-five minute drive, it was a very scenic drive down the George Washington Parkway. There had been some predictions of rain for the day, but it turned out to be a Once we got there, we watched an introductory movie that talked about George Washington’s life and the history of the grounds. Our first stop walking around was the house where George Washington and his family lived (in the picture above). There was quite a long line to get into the house, but some “contemporaries” of George Washington kept us occupied as we waited (pictured below).

We walked through the bedrooms of George Washington, peered into his kitchen, saw the view off of the back porch and went through the slaves’ quarters. Dr. Spalding’s husband, who has done some work with Mt. Vernon, explained to us that much of the furniture and the foundation was showing signs of aging, so a couple of years ago they decided to install air conditioning. There had been debate over whether or not to do this, because of concerns that the air conditioning might upset the “originalness” of the building. However, it was determined that the benefits of the air conditioning would outweigh the negatives.

After seeing his house, we decided to go grab some lunch before exploring the rest of the grounds. We were given two $10 vouchers. We had to spend exactly $20 or else we would not get change, so it was a challenge to make sure that we got exactly $20, and several of us ended up with food to take home. We then went and toured some of the other areas of the grounds. Washington, in addition to leading the Continental Army and the country, was a farmer, who came up with some innovative new farming techniques. There was an area dedicated to demonstrating some of those techniques and included animals and vegetation. Our last stop was at the museum. The museum was organized to go through Washington’s life from the time he was born to his death. It featured many wax depictions of him (pictured with Isaac above), some videos and interactive exhibits. Our exit out of the place was slightly delayed by a landing helicopter, but Dr. Spalding’s kids were very excited to see it. The group ended up getting dropped off in Old Town Alexandria. It turned out to be a great little place, with a small town feel (kind of like the Village in Claremont). We walked to the water and stumbled upon this guy. He played some Bach as well as the national anthem and God Bless America for us. Overall, it was a great trip, and probably one of the highlights of the semester.

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