Upon arriving at Mount Vernon, we promptly parked in the designated area (no charge) and attempted to find our way to the house. The signage was defiantly lacking on the direction to take so we followed the masses (hoping they knew where they were going) The grounds before the gate already presented itself as well maintained. We pre-purchased our tickets on line before the visit which made the transition through the gate very easy. You enter the property directly into the education centre, there is a small gift shop, self guided tapes and a video in this area that can be picked up and enjoyed and then you are "released onto the grounds". The signage on the grounds themselves are much more then in the parking area, plus you get a map at the beginning. We started our tour in the upper garden and greenhouse area. It was lavish and lovely and very enchanting to believe that you were walking on the same paths that George Washington walked on as well. This garden was well maintained and beautiful. The Lady Washington gift shop was there as well. You could shop there, but then you are stuck carrying all your goods through the grounds (which are vast) so beware. we continued on to the blacksmiths shop, which had two men giving a wonderful lesson on the importance of blacksmiths during "the day" and they continued to explain that they actually physically make and repair much of the metal work on the grounds. The houses and structures were very well maintained and tidy. Signs again provided a look back at the importance of each one during its time. Now the mansion.. from the exterior it was enchanting and almost mesmerizing. The tour begins for us in the side wing with the explanation that the "great room" is under reconstruction and is sealed off to dust, which I fully understand but even a look in a window may have been nice. Because they did go on about how wonderful this room was with its vastness and importance in history and decor. You now enter the house from the waterfront porch, lovely again but the "play" now begins.. The foyer grand, with scripted introduction.. the upstairs grand with scripted introduction.. The master bedroom grand with scripted introduction.. keep in mind you are moved along though a roped designated area like cattle going to market.. down the stairs, office and out... you are free again from the roped confines but don't get to excited. As you now meander through the property you are continually reminded to look but not touch. Don't walk on the grass, go only to this part of the garden, don't touch this, don't go there, don't touch that. It becomes almost a slap in the face.. understanding I know that what I would treat with respect others might not, so limit everyone.. Sad... we continued down to the wharf and farm with 16 sided barn.. it was fine but the limits were now getting waring so we continued up to the main entrance and decided our day at Mount Vernon was done..
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