Jackson, Jerimiah, and I went to Mellow Mushroom on Tuesday night for Trivia Night. It’d been years since we last did it with friends in Charlotte, and we knew it was fun, so we kept meaning to go (the MM is like a mile from our house), but never made it a priority. We also weren’t sure if Jackson would like it or not, turns out yes, he does, and he even answered a couple of the questions himself. One of them was about The Office, which y’all know he loves, the question was: What is the primary crop that Dwight Schrute grows on his farm? Jackson freaked out and scribbled down: BEETS! The second one he got right was: Whose home, known as Mount Vernon, was neutral territory during the Civil War? “We’ve been there!” we all yelled, and he jotted down George Washington.
The questions got harder and harder with each section, but we didn’t too bad for our first time. There were 15 teams and we took 8th place, and mind you there were whole teams of people. Like two groups of 10 people who meet there every Tuesday night, and it was the three of us, so we were pretty happy with our results, and the wings, and the beer, and we’ve already recruited friends to go back another night. But that’s not what this post is about, cause that’s not how I operate. The Mount Vernon question reminded me that I haven’t shared some of the travels we have been on over the last few years, and I thought I would go back and do that now, starting with Mount Vernon. So please, enjoy. Or stop reading now, cause a whole buncha history gonna be thrown at ya!
I think one of the reasons I forgot about the visit to Mount Vernon was because it was on the heels of our trip to the Women’s March last year and that took precedence. But this is how we travel. If we go somewhere to visit, and there is something sorta cool and it’s relatively close, and we have an extra five hours or so, we stop in. That’s what we did with Mount Vernon. It was the day we left DC with our friend Beth and her daughter Morgan riding back to Charlotte with us, and someone said, “Hey Mount Vernon is just like, I dunno, somewhere over there.” And that’s all it took.
Mount Vernon was just somewhere over there in Mount Vernon, Virginia about 40 minutes south of DC. Mount Vernon, in case you don’t know, is the estate of our first president, George Washington. And it’s pretty cool, as far as old estates owned by rich, *Slave-owning, white men go. I mean, it wasn’t totally awesome, but it wasn’t a shithole either. And any way you slice it, a lot of history happened there, good and bad, so you know, we went with it. But before I show you the pics you should know it was January in DC, it was the week of the government shutdown, and we were all a little tired from having marched our asses off for women’s rights, so there was already a little skepticism about any white males, particularly ones with power.
Mount Vernon is situated on the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia (where my ancestors were first recorded on census, for real). It’s near Alexandria and across from Prince George’s County, Maryland. George Washington’s great-grandfather owned the land and a small house as far back as 1674, and our dear, old GW didn’t become the sole owner until almost 100 years later. Of course there are expansive grounds, including gardens, barns, a dock on the river, and the Slave Quarters, which are all open to tour if you are so inclined, and have the time. We did, so we made our way around most of what was accessible to tourists, including a tour of inside the house (no photography allowed) and the Slave Cemetery where you know, they’re trying, and the tombs of both GW and his Slave-owning, hella racist, bitch wife Martha. Ahem.
The house was what you would expect, as well as the Slave Quarters. It’s said that he treated his Slaves better than was expected, but, nah, I don’t buy it. Although his wife Martha sounded like a real piece-of-shit. Maybe he was nicer than she was. I dunno.
The kids liked to see the animals, and I liked walking along the shore of the river, and taking in all the architecture, even though again, hella cold.
I liked the animals too. Did I mention it was cold?
The best part of the whole thing was honestly the inside stuff, and not just because we were fucking cold. So cold that, yeah, that’s my son’s Harry Potter scarf I took off of him and told him to run around and he’d heat up. The inside has the museums. One is dedicated to GW and his life, including as a general and a president, and the other is dedicated to the Slaves at Mount Vernon. It is called Lives Bound Together and it was actually really interesting, educational, and infuriating, which I think is what a museum dedicated to Slaves needs to be.
I’m not going to share pics from inside there, because I think it’s just something you need to go see for yourself, and I don’t think I took very many. I was so engrossed in their stories. This part was my favorite. And I would like to point out, that after struggles with lawyers, Washington dying, and debates with his bitch-ass wife and her bitch-ass dead first husband’s estate, several shitty kids and grandkids, and some cousins on the Washington side finally, on January 1, 1801, all the Slaves on Mount Vernon were freed. So there’s that.
If you’re wondering why I’m all caught up with the Slavery at Mount Vernon, it’s because I was legit shocked at it. It’s like I didn’t pay attention to what my history teachers said, or they all loved GW and pretended like it was all cool beans over at the little ‘ol Washington farm. Uh no. And while we’re at it, there’s no damn cherry tree, and no, it’s not because he chopped it down, it’s more likely that Martha sold it out from under him, to wrangle up some cash to buy more Slaves. SMH.
But you know what there IS? His dentures made of wood! (GASP!)
Not what you were expecting huh? Me neither. So much that I wasn’t expecting.
So there you have it. This was a shitty review of Mount Vernon, I get that, but it was an interesting time, it really was. And I’m glad we went, and as usual I’m happy about who we went with, and what it taught the kids, and me. And oh, I almost forgot, there was this really creepy giant head thing when you first walk in. And his eyes follow you. So yeah, good luck sleeping tonight.
Thanks for reading about one of our many adventures, I have more on deck so don’t go anywhere. In the meantime, enjoy some more pics of Mount Vernon, and if you’re ever in the area, stop on by, you probably, most likely, won’t regret it.
*I used the word Slave rather than Servant or Enslaved Individual because I think that makes the whole Slavery situation sound like a fancy thing, when really it was a crock of shit and GW was way part of it. And as I may have mentioned before, so was his bitch of a wife, Martha. You guys I think I hate Martha.