It’s always Mount Vernon’s goal to keep the estate as true to original form as possible. That’s why we jumped at the chance to get our own apiary, where several hives of bees will produce honey, just like in George Washington’s day. Visitors need not worry about bee stings, the hives are kept just northwest or our 12 acre field, in an area that is accessible only to staff. Do worry about getting your hands on some honey though. Our first batch will be available perhaps as early as next spring.
What’s cooler than viewing Mount Vernon through the eyes of someone in the 18th century? How about through the washed-out, overexposed shades of an Instamatic photo.
Mount Vernon has joined the 30 million-something photo-sharing users who have downloaded the wildly popular Instagram app onto their smartphone. Not sure what the fuss is all about? Instagram allows users to take a photo, apply one of several filters and post it to their Instagram feed, which can be followed in a similar manner to a Twitter feed. In addition, users can post the photos to their social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter. Even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has jumped on the tinted-photo bandwagon: In April Facebook bough the company for $1 billion.
We hope you’ll join us on our Polaroid-tinged journey through 18th century by following us via our username Mount_Vernon. See you on your smartphone!
Perhaps you’ve heard about Mount Vernon’s new library, where we’ll be storing George Washington’s books and manuscripts and conducting leadership conferences? Before we could start constructing the multimillion-dollar structure, our director of archaeology, Esther White, and the rest of our archaeology team conducted an exhaustive study of what’s buried in the ground on the site. See what they uncovered above.
Half a year ago Apple and Cider, the two turkeys pardoned by President Barack Obama at last year’s Thanksgiving, came to Mount Vernon to make their permanent home at the estate. Although they were on display for the holiday season, we had to take them off site afterward since they’re not a historic breed. Their white feathers and giant, butterball bodies are nothing like the small, brown turkeys that would have roamed Mount Vernon in George Washington’s day. Apple and Cider, both of whom are in good health, spend their time at our behind-the-scenes farm facility, where they live next to a few coops of historic hens and roosters. Sure beats being neighbors on a plate with some yams and cranberry sauce.
Of all the plants being grown behind the scenes in the Mount Vernon greenhouses only three are thought to be the clipping and cutting descendants of original Mount Vernon vegetation that was growing in George Washington’s day: boxwood, fig trees and tulip tress. Even if the other plants don’t have the same historic cache, they all would have been found in gardens in Washington’s day and may be the same type of plants the General was planting (with the exception of one greenhouse of modern plants used on the perimeter of the estate, such as outside our gift shop).
Mount Vernon grows nearly all of the vegetation found in the estate’s many green areas that comprise the lower, upper, fruit, botanic and slave gardens plus the pioneer farm. Although Washington was an avid farmer, he applied his green thumb and energy much more to his farm than his veggie, fruit and pleasure gardens. For that reason, we don’t have as good a record of the exact types of plants he was planting in these areas, and much of what we know about the fruits and vegetables grown here has been gleaned from historic commentary on the meals being served at the Mount Vernon dinner table.
Although our greenhouses aren’t open to the public, you can see the fruit of the labor done there (no pun intended) across the estate in the many well-cultivated gardens that dot Washington’s old stomping grounds.