What is Christmas to you? Do you choose to celebrate it or another such as Hanukkah our Kwanzaa? Regardless of your choice, there is something magical about seeing a piece of American history decorated in holiday garb.
Mount Vernon is the home of George Washington. Opened in 1757, this beautiful structure has been around for 256 years. For most, seeing something that old (unless you’ve been to Europe) blows your mind. When you fly into DC, the trained eye can see the clearing; however, it’s difficult for most, as the plantation sits 10 miles from the nearest highway. A winding road, known as the George Washington Parkway, takes you through Old Town Alexandria, over 495, past beautiful mansions, along the Potomac River–and then you see it.
Like most colonial homes, the surrounding grounds encompass more than just the home. Mount Vernon in particular includes a distillery, where you can buy specialized whiskey that’s only released in limited quantities at certain times of the year (yes, there is a waiting list). Additionally, there sits a gristmill, a colonial restaurant and various shops. Although you understand that visitors want to take a piece of history with them, one also realizes how majestic our first president’s home truly was. With candles, wreaths and Christmas trees galore, the song “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” isn’t far from thought.
Nonetheless, the most beautiful aspect of the entire ordeal is that during this special time, you can view the house either during the day or at night. Of course, Christmas lights sparkle just a little brighter underneath the open night sky.
P.S. Beginning this year, the city of Alexandria is offering its downtown trolley to bring visitors from Old Town Alexandria to Mount Vernon! Even if you are coming from DC, take either the yellow or blue line to the King St. metro stop, exit the metro and an orange trolley will whisk you away to this historic destination.
Photo courtesy of mountvernon.org