...............The Hellwig Family

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Life of Washington Tour - Day 5

Posted by Gabrielle

On the fifth day of the Washington Tour, we visited two important sites - the Washington Monument, and Mount Vernon. It was a wonderful day!
Our first stop: the Washington Monument. It was enjoyable finally to be able to see it up close and take pictures instead of snapping crazy shots as we zoom past as was the case in our Massachusetts trip at the end of May. :)
The entrance to the Monument. There were strict security rules, so I brought nothing but my camera, obviously. :) Thankfully, we were warned to leave all knives and any similar weapons on the bus and there were no problems getting in. We rode the elevator to the top of the tower and were able to look down on Washington D.C. from all angles. It was breathtaking to realize how far up we were. I'm very thankful for a wonderful optical zoom on my camera and was able to capture great pictures of many of the famous buildings in D.C. including...

the White House!

The next stop of the day was at Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate. There was so much to see that, in the few hours we were there, we were not able to see everything.
Mount Vernon
Some of the smaller outbuildings

Unfortunately, I did not get on the tour of Mount Vernon as I ended up with the last group from our buses and we ran out of time. In spite of that, I enjoyed observing an amusing dialogue between Mr. Brown and a couple of reenactors - Washington's surgeon, Dr. James Craik who was with him during the war, and his granddaughter, Nelly Parke Custis.

Mr. Brown asked them a number of questions, including what year it was, about their life with Washington, how engagement and marriage worked in their society, and more.

One of the highlights of the conversation was when Mr. Brown asked Dr. Craik what year it was. He replied, completely seriously, "The year is 1797. What year do you think it is, son." Mrs. Brown whispered in an aside to me, "Don't tell him; he'll take your temperature." You couldn't have told them it's 2010 after that. :)

Washington's surgeon, Dr. James Craik. He had a very dry sense of humor which kept us laughing.
Nelly Parke Custis, Washington's granddaughter, who explained her engagement to us and how young men and ladies interacted in that society.

Overlooking the river and lush lawns of Mount Vernon

After most of the group had finished the tour of Mount Vernon, both Mr. Brown and Mr. Horn gave talks on Washington's character and life here at Mount Vernon, and about his Presidency.

Mr. Brown gave a short talk on Washington's character, and outlined three traits for young men to follow: His clarity, his vision, and his dominion. Washington was a determined man who knew who he was and what he was called to do, and he did it. He was a man of clarity and vision; he plotted out his future and lived his life that way. He practiced "incremental dominion", taking control of what was put into his power and doing it with all his might.

After the talks, we were given fifteen minutes to see more at Mount Vernon and get back to the buses. Of course, we couldn't see everything in that time, so several of us opted to walk down to see the graves of George and Martha Washington.

The fields and gardens of Mount Vernon, snapped on the way back to the bus.

We were running late, especially since we had to get to the church and then to our new hotel for the last night of the trip. We ended up having a pizza dinner in the park across the street from the church.

St. John's Episcopal church. This was where a group of professional reenactors enacted the famous Virginian convention for us where Patrick Henry gave his famous speech ending in "Give me liberty or give me death!"
We were not allowed to take pictures during the skit, but there was enough to watch and listen to without. :)

Timothy talking with George Washington afterward. Sorry for the quality of the picture; my camera didn't like the lighting in the building and there's some things even a little photo touch-up can't fix. :)

Thomas Jefferson
Several other girls and I went on a tour of the graveyard with Delegate Richard Henry Lee (directly to the right of the girl in front).
Of the graves he showed us was that of the poet Edgar Allen Poe's mother, Elizabeth Arnold Poe.

We arrived at our new hotel for the last night of the trip rather late after another exciting day.

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