Mount Vernon, another Quilt Shop, and a little “Normal” Shopping

Mount Vernon

Today we left both Maryland and the Delmarva Peninsula to travel back to Virginia and one of its most prominent and world famous stately homes.

I am talking about Mount Vernon, of course, George Washington’s plantation overlooking the Potomac River a little southeast of the city that carries his name. Unfortunately for George Washington, warfare and his political duties prevented him from spending much time at Mount Vernon with his wife Martha and her two children from a previous marriage.

The Washingtons

This must have been hard considering the beauty of the main building and its surroundings.

Like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington was also a slave owner. Because there were a lot more tourists at Mount Vernon than at Monticello, we felt that we got a better impression of the bustle Mount Vernon must have witnessed as an active plantation.

Main Building

There is a lot to see at Mount Vernon: several farm buildings, one of them being the dwelling of the overseer, who appears to have owned a gorgeous wholecloth quilt:

Overseer's dwelling

You can also visit George Washington’s tomb:

Washington's Tomb

And a plantation would of course not be a plantation, if it didn’t have an extensive vegetable garden:

Vegetable garden

Actually, we were not the only visitors who very much enjoyed the neat flowerbeds and still lush green plants. Carola first heard the fairly loud smacking noise coming from a row of lettuce. And then we saw this guy who had a definite lack of table manners:


The rather sizable groundhog soon got tired of being stared at (and most probably also of women shrieking “Look at this, isn’t he cute!”) and departed into the hedge.

Because we hadn’t realized that there is a nice restaurant at Mount Vernon, just behind the gift shop, Carola and I lunched in the food court. Here, only fast food is served, but as a matter of fact, it was surprisingly good. The gift shop really is fantastic and I would need to hire a cargo ship to bring home with me all the books and gift items I would love to own. Sometimes the limitations of air travel are a good thing. ;-)

After our visit to Mount Vernon, there was an almost unanimous decision to skip the George Washington Memorial Parkway in favour of a quilt shop in Fairfax. Paul, our driver, was also much in favour of going to the quilt shop because he thought going over the Memorial Parkway on a Monday afternoon could only have been the idea of a lunatic (which would be me, naturally!).

Although we hadn’t told the shop owner we were coming, she and her personnel remained calm and friendly when we started to tramp through the small rooms that were filled to the brim with fabrics, notions, patterns, and books.

After almost two hours at the shop, we were glad to go to our next hotel. The 2008 trip stayed here and therefore knew that one of America’s largest shopping malls is close-by. So a group of die-hards banded together to be driven the short distance with one of the hotel’s shuttle buses.

As we were not the only ones who had this idea that evening, we decided – in a very European and non-American way of thinking – to walk instead. We survived! I am sorry to say that this was certainly not thanks to the pedestrian lights that seemed to be there just for the sake of having some. A background in athletics, preferably sprinting, would have been advisable to enable us to cross a street in one go instead of two... ;-)

The Group

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