On any given day you are most likely to find us communing with the gnomes and the fairies Under The Old Oak Tree

Friday, June 3, 2011

Simple Joys: A Very Special Place

George Washington's home Mount Vernon is a very special place for our family.

When DH and I lived in Maryland pre-child we visited it several times a year and we had our wedding reception at the Mount Vernon Inn.  We have have had lunch there on our wedding anniversary every year since then.  W has developed his own special attachment to Mount Vernon as well.  It is where we go to visit the animals and experience a more rural atmosphere in the middle of the DC suburbs.

One big positive from our recent move is that we are close enough to Mount Vernon now to visit frequently. Daddy and I each got an annual pass from the Easter Bunny and it is free for W.  The house is lovely, but we rarely go inside unless we are taking company to visit.  Instead, we head straight for the animals.

And then take a little walk down to the Pioneer Farm.  Yesterday, was a beautiful warm, but not hot day and the farm was the most active we have ever seen it.

This tree is on the way to the farm and we always have to stop and explore.

 This was the scene we saw as we entered the farm.  Could it be anymore  beautiful?  
It really felt like stepping back into the 18th century!

 My suburban kid turns into quite the country boy here exploring the gardens and fields and pastures.  It is his favorite place!


W was very excited to finally find his lamb friends again.  
They had not been out for public viewing the last few visits before this.
They are really growing but still so, so sweet!

This haystack was a cause for much excitement yesterday.  
W recited Little Boy Blue over and over. I think he really wanted to go sleep under it himself 
until they started loading it into the ox cart! 

We also got lessons yesterday on the 18th century methods of cultivating wheat.  
I can't imagine hoeing wheat fields like this all day by hand.  Such hard, hard labor.

 The threshing barn which was designed by George Washington is such a neat thing.  Wheat harvested from the fields is place on the floor and horses run over it in a circle.  The kernels of wheat fall through the floor the a chamber below where they can be gathered and taken to the mill.  They tell me they will be threshing later in the summer. 

Of course all of the back breaking labor on a farm like this would have been done by slaves.  
There is a slave cabin, garden and chicken coop at the farm as well to show what their living conditions would have been.  It is easy to think of this place as this ideal country setting, but it is important to remember that there was a real human cost involved as well.

W loves that this is a places where he can ramble and explore.  It is a place where he is learning on his own from what he experiences and sees; where the wool we felt and knit with comes from and how our food from vegetables to wheat is grown and processed.  Our current living situation is such that we do not have the space to do these things ourselves (though we try to do what we can by growing a little garden on our balcony and grinding our own wheat etc.)  I am so grateful to have a place like this nearby.  It connects us to our history, our cultural heritage and to the traditional processes needed to support life.


  1. Thank you for the sweet visit 'home'... my husband and I grew up in Northern VA and have visited Mt. Vernon often.

  2. That's really funny that you moved to the DC metro area from Richmond, we moved to Richmond from DC. My daughter was born in DC and then we moved to NOVA because we thought it would be a better place to raise a child and eventually to Richmond. I miss DC but not too much of NOVA perhaps Old Town from time to time, but there is so many wonderful things to see in do in DC I am sure you guys will have a wonderful time in your new home.

  3. Seeds, That is funny. We moved to Richmond from suburban MD and then here to NoVA. The DC metro area's okay but I'm really missing Richmond. We only lived there two and a half years but I have deeper roots there than any place else I've lived. It took me a little while to find my niche in Richmond too and it was a place of incredible personal growth for me. I'm sure there's lots in store for me here. I just have to give it some time.

  4. what a fun place to visit with all those adorable animals

  5. Thank you for sharing this. It makes me miss "Old Virginia." I worked as a nanny in Annapolis and my ancestors came from Virginia in the 17the century as well, so I feel quite a special affinity with this part of the country. After I moved back to Michigan in I took several trips to MD/DC/VA, the last one being in 2007. A trip to Mt. Vernon was always a highlight!


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