I mentioned before that we went to hang out at some of George Washington's old stomping grounds between Christmas and the New Year.  While my kids were busy trying to roll into the Potomac, I took some pictures.

Mt. Vernon is one of my favorite places in the D.C. area, though it had been a long time since I had been there.  Washington basically had four different farms and did different stuff on each of them.  You can go through the house and see a lot of his actual things, which have been recovered and returned to the estate, but no photography inside so you'll have to do the virtual tour if you want to see it.  If you go during certain times of the year, you can also go up to the third floor, which they don't let everyone do.  I've managed to do that twice, but there is only one single-file staircase, so you have to get pretty chummy with the strangers coming down as you are going up and vice versa.  I prefer a butt-to-butt technique, but not everyone follows that logic and it gets... weird. 

Washington's grave:

Interesting side.  Washington did not want a monument for himself.  So that giant Washington monument downtown?  He would have never gone for it.  Before he was even elected President, Congress planned one but when he became President, he scrapped the plans for that one, saying funds were simply not there and he did not want the nation to spend the money.  Which is true, the country was suffering budget questions even then, but I've also read some theories that suggest he would have simply hated the fact that so many Washington Monuments exist..  He just wanted to be buried here at home and simply, on the land that he was always trying to return to. 

Nearby Washington's grave, is this tree with brick inside its knothole.

I was fascinated by this and when I got home, did a fair amount of Googling Googleing searching the internet and finally learned that that's probably not brick.  This was a common style of filling a wound in a tree.  They would use pitch or tar to seal the wound and then after applying the patch of pitch they would gouge in the brick lines with a chisel before the pitch hardened.  I have no idea if that is correct or not as I only found one fleeting reference to this in the comments section of some website, but it sounds plausible.  So I'm going with it.

I like to sit on the back porch of Mt. Vernon and look out over the Potomac taking in pretty much the same view George and Martha would have enjoyed after dinner in the evenings.  Of course, back then, I'll bet there were a lot fewer chairs on the porch. 

This photo comes from Declan McCullagh Photography's website; I would never have been able to ask all the tourists to get up for a photo.
These photos, however, are mine: