There aren’t too many places where you’re going to be able to enjoy an old-fashioned rye whisky made from the original 1790s recipe used by George Washington, but Mount Vernon’s distillery can hook you up.
Named after the plantation estate and resting place of U.S. founding father George Washington, Mount Vernon (3200 Mt Vernon Memorial Hwy, Alexandria VA) is a day trip in its purest form. Here you can enjoy scenic strolls, a cruise, kayaking, cycling, whatever your heart’s content on.
Just to be clear, you’re technically going to be in north Virgnia here, but it’s just minutes outside D.C.
Washington’s 500-acre estate is a 14-room mansion restored and furnished with original objects that date back to the 1740s. It has a really great historic feel, too, right down to the picturesque little green courtyard area. These grounds are magnificent and immaculate, so give yourself plenty of time to take it all in. There’s even a working farm with animals. Of course, there are plenty of estate tour options to help enhance the estate experience.
In terms of having a window into the past, when life was much simpler, it’s hard to beat the time-machine-esque component of this nationally historic spot. For this reason, the estate is particularly bustling during the Christmas season, when it’s decorated to the nines, and bringing that old-time Christmas spirit back to life.
Tickets to the Washington estate are $17 for adults; $16 for seniors; $8 for youth; and five or younger get in free.
After the Washington estate, you can check out the Ford Orientation Center & Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center. These feature 25 state-of-the-art galleries and theaters that reveal the fascinating story of Washington’s life. There are six permanent galleries and a rotating exhibit that has some objects shown at Mount Vernon for the first time.
“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and fearful master.” ― George Washington
As I mentioned at the beginning, Mount Vernon also offers a distillery and stone gristmill. The distillery produces whiskey using Washington’s original mash bill (60% rye, 35% corn, and 5% malted barley). Grain products made with the gristmill, including cornmeal, grits, pancake mix, and flour, are available for sale at the Gristmill Shop and The Shops at Mount Vernon.
DIRECTIONS: George Washington Parkway, Mount Vernon, VA. (703)780-2000. Mount Vernon is located along the Potomac River approximately 14 miles south of Washington DC. Not accessible by Transit.
TOUR OPTIONS: Spirit of Washington. Enjoy the spectacular scenery along the Potomac River and tour the Mount Vernon Estate. Or, get some exercise with the Mount Vernon by Bike and Boat package which includes a bike rental, admission to the Estate and a sightseeing cruise on the Potomac River. You can also take a combination Tour of Mount Vernon and Old Town Alexandria. This tour includes transportation from Union Station in Washington DC.