Here’s how our nation’s capital looks if you climb to the top of the Washington Monument. It’s… monumental. I love the architecture and the way it’s been laid out. It is a pity that the ranks of the public servants have grown so much in recent times that certain government organizations no longer fit into the buildings originally designed for them. While some growth is understandable, there’s real, lasting value in the idea of a lean, simple government and a republic, not a democracy, as the US of A was originally created.
We visited Mount Vernon, George Washington’s own estate near Washington, DC, this past summer. If you don’t live in the DC area, you don’t necessarily get to appreciate one of the grand gestures done to honor George Washington’s memory, namely that of building a parkway (named after him) that starts right at the gates of his estate and becomes a major thoroughfare that winds its way parallel to the Potomac River, through Alexandria, past the Ronald Reagan National Airport, through DC, and upwards, past the CIA Headquarters, right to I-495. Getting to his home becomes a pleasurable drive on a scenic parkway for the DC area driver, particularly those who are traveling South from DC and Maryland.
The location for Washington’s farm, and particularly his mansion, couldn’t have been chosen better. Even today, the view is spectacular, and one can only imagine what the surrounding area looked like during his time, unspoiled by modern “advances” and urban planning. An aquatint from Francis Jukes, done in 1800, gives us an idea, though I have a hunch he embellished things a bit.
Ligia and I visited Mount Vernon on two occasions, and took plenty of photographs each time. I picked the best ones from both sets and published them at my online photo catalog. There are 70 photos in the Mount Vernon set there, and all of them are available in HD (1920×1200 pixels, 16:10 aspect ratio). I selected a representative sample of those photographs for you to see right here. The gallery is shown below.
I hope you enjoyed the photos, and that you will find time to go visit Mount Vernon if you’re ever in the DC area. I for one am heartened to see that we are still paying respect to one of our nation’s founders and our first president, even in these very unpatriotic times, when we are getting involved in wars that our founders would have nothing to do with, and when fear-mongering has taken the place of freedom, and liberty, and justice for all.
One bit of advice: if you’re planning to visit the estate multiple times, get the yearly pass. It pays for itself in just two trips. We’re glad we got it. Our third visit, if we should go again, will be free.
More information about Mount Vernon can be found directly on the estate website, or at Wikipedia. Google Books also lists two books on Mount Vernon. The first is called “George Washington’s Mount Vernon – At Home in Revolutionary America“, and is written by the Dalzell brothers, and the second is called “Mount Vernon: Washington’s Home and the Nation’s Shrine“, by Paul Wilstach and Henry Saylor. The great thing about the two books is that they can be read online in their entirety.