I'm not much into hero worship -- and that still holds for George Washington, well argued to be among the best of America's Founding Fathers in conduct, morality and leadership. Nevertheless, coming to Mount Vernon was an amazing experience, mostly as a walk through time of the life of one man who inarguably impacted our national foundation more than any other.
The experience began in the store area (which is connected to the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant -- see my review), and migrated through glass doors to the main ticket office, which can be reached without going through the store or restaurant. We followed the tour onto the grounds and got a thorough history lesson and a tour of the Mount Vernon estate. Though most rooms are understandably inaccessible, nearly everything is visible and was well explained by our guide. He discussed Washington's family history and the initial construction of the first house, expansions, his time and experiments on the grounds, relationship with his wife, his conduct with his enslaved staff, his time away as a general (not much into the wartime, itself) and the legacy of the estate.
What struck me most was walking through a home within which lived a man and family far more as a homeowner than as a general or president. Not only did Washington only visit his home once while leading the American Revolution as general, but he only served eight years away while president. From infancy, Mount Vernon had been his home. Personally, that interested me more than his other accomplishments.
The chance to see a home lived in and well used given his stature and import to the national and international community, you could picture Lafayette, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, Jones and so many more staying in the upstairs rooms, coming down for breakfast, walking the grounds and otherwise sharing time with George and his family.
Lastly, my friends and I went to the tomb where George and several generations of his family are buried. I was blessed that, since it began to snow, my friend and I (both service members) helped the staff member roll up the Commander-in-Chief flag to stow away during the inclemency. You look at the marble sarcophagus round about his coffin and realize the body lying within is but dust and the man who once occupied it is long gone, but it serves as a great memory to what any man can do with his life and the legacy he can leave behind.
Before stopping at the sight, however, my friends and I stopped at the Mount Vernon Inn, a restaurant. We were seated quickly in a rather cozy room with a fireplace (I was stoked, so punny). It was comfortable. My friends ordered drinks. For food, I ordered meatloaf -- unsurprisingly, it's Northern meatloaf (the difference is Northern meatloaf is dense and usually served with brown gravy, while Southern meatloaf is fluffy and soft with a tomato topping). It was good, stuffed with greens on a bed of mashed potatoes. It was a great meal and very good, responsive service. My friends loved what they ordered and it was a really great experience!