Celebrate George Washington's Birthday at Mount Vernon
Free Events for Washington’s Birthday at Mount Vernon Estate
Visiting George Washington’s Mount Vernon during the official celebration of Washington’s Birthday is truly a treat. The historic estate of the United States’ first president rolls out the red carpet to recognize George’s big day, with special events, presentations and, best of all, free admission for all visitors on days when special celebrations will occur.
The birthday celebration on Monday, Feb. 19th, includes a series of unique festivities in recognition of the unmatched contributions that George Washington made to the early success of the United States. They include:
- Presidential Tribute (10-10:30 a.m., at Washington's Tomb)
- Official Observance Ceremony (10:30-11 a.m., on the East Lawn), with visits by George Washington and his contemporaries.
- Special Military Demonstration (11:15-11:45 a.m., on the Bowling Green)
- Character Performances (11 a.m.-1 p.m., in the Upper Garden)
- Syrup Tastings (11 a.m.-2 p.m., in the Vaughan Lobby, in the Mount Vernon Inn complex)
- Character Performances (2-2:30 p.m., on the Bowling Green)
- Public Wreath-laying (3-3:30 p.m., at Washington's Tomb)
On February 22, Washington’s actual birthday, guests can enjoy a patriotic concert and also observe a moving ceremony honoring new citizens. Free birthday cake (while supplies last) will be available in the Vaughan Lobby.
Admission to the estate is free for all visitors on Monday, Feb. 19, and Thursday, February 22, Washington’s actual 286th birthday. (That’s a savings of $20 per adult and $12 per child 6-11. Admission for children 5 and under is free all the time.) Special events will occur throughout the three-day weekend of February 17-19, and on the 22nd.
Every visit to the famed 18th century estate should include a tour of the president’s colonial mansion, which has been restored to its 1799 appearance under the careful eyes of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, which owns and operates the estate.
From the second-floor Chintz Room, one of the six primary bedchambers in the three-story home, to the Mansion cellar, where visible evidence remains of each of the many expansion projects completed at the property, every nook and cranny offers a fascinating insight into the life and times of one of America’s original great statesmen.
Other customary highlights of a daily visit include stops at any of the 12 original buildings that remain where they were constructed during Washington’s residency, including kitchens, a salt house, a smoke house, a wash house, an ice house and stable.
Reconstructed slave quarters, a greenhouse, blacksmith shop and “necessaries” (which are clustered close to the mansion for the convenience of guests) are also near the famed mansion.
At other nearby locations, guests can enjoy seeing a working gristmill and distillery, and a 16-sided barn where horses thresh wheat as they tread around the interior of the nearly round structure.
The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association was the first national historic preservation organization and is the oldest women's patriotic society in the United States. The care that the association bestows on Mount Vernon is obvious to all visitors, and never more so than during a special event like Washington’s Birthday.
More information about special events, the history of the facility, maps and more is available at www.mountvernon.org.
Article by Rob Doolittle