February 28, 2013

Happy Birthday, George!

Last Friday was the birthday of our nation's first President. And since my school is named after him, a group of students got to visit his beloved Mt. Vernon for FREE! Alexis, as a proud GW alumna, also got to join our little "field trip." :)

From the moment we arrived, I felt thrilled and excited to be there. Our excursion began with a brief film introduction, and a short spiel by one of the museum staff (who also happened to be a GW alum). Alexis and I discussed our thoughts on Washington after the film, and we both just felt so inspired by his life and his contributions to our country. I swear to you that I felt the Spirit during the film, and I felt a little cheesy about it, until I discovered Alexis felt the same way! (Who knew you could have a testimony about George Washington?!)

Friday was a cold, rainy day, but the estate was still so, so beautiful. Our group's timing was impeccable; we were able to tour the mansion with hardly any wait time in line! By the time our tour ended, the line to start the tour was SO long, I couldn't even see the end of it.

We weren't allowed to take photos of the interior of the home, but fear not: you can take a virtual tour here! I was particularly impressed with the formal dining room (This was my favorite room in the whole house, and I hereby VOW to have my future dining room walls painted in this color. I furthermore vow to have my wedding china look like the Washington's state dinner china (Which we weren't allowed to photograph!). I tried looking for a photo online but I can't find one. :( It was essentially just beautiful white china with gold trim that achieved the right balance of simplicity and elegance... That description does NOT do these dishes justice, but let's just say I've never loved a plate so much in my entire life!) and by the bright paint colors on the walls throughout the mansion. Below, a photo of the dining room borrowed from the internet. :)

The mansion has a beautiful back porch that looks out onto the Potomac. Even on such a cold, gray day, the view was quite lovely. I can just picture George and Martha sitting on the porch, admiring the hippos in the Potomac. :)

Seriously awe-inspiring.
I've kind of just learned to accept the fact that I stick my tongue out when I smile. Oh, well.

When our mansion tour ended, we ran over to the museum to see something really, really special. Mt. Vernon recently acquired George Washington's personal copy of the first "Acts of Congress," and it was only scheduled to be at the museum 'til last Sunday; we made it just in time! This beautiful book contained the acts passed in the first Congress, along with other important documents, most notably, the Constitution. What was really special about this particular copy of the Constitution is that Washington marked and took notes in the margins. As our nation's First President, he had no user manual, no predecessor upon whose example he could fall back. So he marked up his copy of the Constitution to more fully understand his duties, his powers, his responsibilities, and how he was supposed to work with the other branches of government. I felt that being able to see this amazing book and Washington's notes in his own handwriting gave such an intimate look into the heart and mind of one of history's greatest men. I felt quite moved to be able to see it, and I felt a great love, admiration, and reverence for our First President.

This short, 4-minute video tells a little more about this special volume and how it came to Mt. Vernon. (And yes, it's worth watching!)

Our final stop at Mt. Vernon was at George and Martha Washington's tomb. GW holds an official wreath-laying ceremony every year on Washington's birthday, and it was very beautiful to be able to be there for it. I felt so much reverence for General Washington as I stood in front of his tomb, and I truly felt that I was standing on hallowed ground.

Martha is on the Left, George on the Right. (and the GW wreath in #BuffandBlue in the middle.)
The plaque in the back is inscribed with the verse from John 11:25.

I was so sad to have only spent at few hours at Mt. Vernon, but trust me, I WILL be back! I enjoyed my time there so much, and I left with new reverence and respect for George Washington. Surely, he was a chosen man!

When we got back to campus, we continued the celebration of our namesake's birth with a bonfire in University Yard and S'MORES!!

The celebration included a Freemason ceremony, since GW was a mason.

I made a quick pit stop to kiss the GW hippo! It's good luck to rub its nose, but I decided to go big. ;)

And then Jeff and I ate at Bobby's Burger Palace.

Jeff gives Bobby's two thumbs up.

The end.

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