If you didn’t know about Mount Vernon before, the success of the Broadway musical, Hamilton, should have made you keenly aware of George Washington’s home right on the Potomac River. Located in Northern Virginia, just a stone’s throw from Washington, DC, this historic home offers not only a history lesson but also beautiful grounds to explore and plenty of springtime activities!
I’ve only visited (save my 5th grade field trip) during the dark winter months for the candlelight tour at Mount Vernon so I’ve missed a lot. I’m ready for the cherry blossoms to usher in the type of season that George Washington might have enjoyed.
Spring Activities at Mount Vernon
George Washington’s Mount Vernon kicks off the spring season with new specialty tours, an augmented reality experience, Distillery & Gristmill re-opening, and special events. Stroll through Mount Vernon’s gardens, which will begin to bloom soon, and visit the livestock enclosures to see our baby lambs!
How Sweet the Sound
Thursday, April 4, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Mount Vernon hosts acclaimed music historian Richard Josey, accompanied by Collective Journey musicians, for a special evening that celebrates the African and African American music from 7 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. Following the performance, join Josey and the Collective Journey group for wine, drinks, and hors d’oeuvres in the Ford Orientation Center. Using drums, bells, and shekeres representative of instruments from the 18th and 19th centuries, the musicians perform and discuss music’s role in everyday life. Tickets: $40 for non-members, $30 for members. More details: mountvernon.org/sweetsound.
Revolutionary War Weekend
Saturday & Sunday, May 6-7, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Step back in time during one of the largest Revolutionary War re-enactments in the region! Watch hundreds of Continentals, Redcoats, Hessians, cannon, and cavalry in action on the estate. Throughout the weekend, learn more about life in the 18th century, discuss military techniques, and watch battle re-enactments. Wander through the encampment and meet the soldiers. This family-friendly event features a youth muster on the bowling green and even meeting General Washington! Included in admission. More details: mountvernon.org/revwar.
Spring Wine Festival & Sunset Tour
Friday – Sunday, May 17-19, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Sample wines from 20 Virginia wineries while enjoying spectacular views at the estate. Celebrate the history of wine in Virginia with exclusive evening tours of the Mansion and cellar, appearances by George and Martha Washington, and a live music. Bring a blanket, relax on the east lawn overlooking the scenic Potomac River, and sample wines made in Virginia. Tickets: $42-$52. More details: mountvernon.org/springwine.
Spring Garden Party
Saturday, June 15, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Enjoy a relaxing evening in Mount Vernon’s upper garden with celebrity chef-inspired wine and hors d’oeuvres and 18th-century music. Enjoy the longer days and Mount Vernon’s newly blooming gardens during this evening reception. Take a leisurely stroll through the historic area while enjoying a celebrity chef-curated menu of hors d’ouevres and wine pairings from a nationally-recognized vineyard. Afterwards, listen to General Washington, a patron of the arts, reminisce as select readings from Cato, his favorite play, are read by costumed characters. Following the performance, visit with friends and enjoy drinks and colonial music as the sun sets. More details: www.mountvernon.org/gardenparty.
New Tours and Programs
In recent years many rooms inside the Mansion have undergone extensive restoration work, often in view of the public. This 60-minute tour gives participants extraordinary access to the processes and practices of our preservation staff, including visiting the basement, second floor of the servants hall, and recently completed rooms. Available Thursday-Friday, April – November, 1 p.m. Tickets: $30 in addition to admission. More details: mountvernon.org/preservationtour.
Mount Vernon in AR
Celebrate Washington’s love of emerging technologies and enjoy lesser-known stories of the first president’s estate revealed by immersive 3D imagery layered over a view of the real landscape. Holograms of George and Martha Washington, 360-degree recreations of former buildings and gardens, and images of artifacts placed in their original context, are among the many tools used in the one-of-a-kind storytelling. Available daily, weather dependent. Tickets: $12.50 in addition to admission. More details: mountvernon.org/AR.
Herstory: The Women of Mount Vernon
Discover more than 250 years of women’s history at Mount Vernon during this 60-minute tour. Learn about the incredible women who lived and worked here in George Washington’s time as well as the women who came later to Mount Vernon and were instrumental in saving and preserving Washington’s beloved home. Available daily, March – October, 12 p.m. Tickets: $10 in addition to admission. More details: mountvernon.org/herstory.
Surviving the 18th Century
On this interactive family tour, visit the wash house, necessary, and other outbuildings and discover the personal hygiene of people in the 18th-century. Available daily, March – October, 1 p.m. Tickets: $10 in addition to admission. More details:mountvernon.org/survivaltour.
Special Tours with Additional Fee
- Potomac River sightseeing cruises offer a refreshing opportunity to explore Mount Vernon from a different view with a 45-minute narrated excursion aboard the Spirit of Mount Vernon or Miss Christin. Tickets for sightseeing cruises are $11 for adults and $7 for children (6-11) in addition to admission. Children ages 5 and under are free. More details: mountvernon.org/sightseeingcruise
- The Enslaved People of Mount Vernon Tour explores the lives and contributions of the enslaved community who built and operated Mount Vernon. In 1799, more than 300 slaves lived and worked on the five farms that made up Washington’s plantation. Listen to their stories and learn more about their daily life. Visit the slave quarters and view reproduction clothing, tools, furniture, cookware, ceramics, toys, and personal accessories that represent their experiences. Daily from April – October at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets: $10 in addition to admission. More details: mountvernon.org/enslavedtour.
- Mount Vernon’s popular National Treasure Tour returns! This tour is dedicated to the behind-the-scenes filming of the blockbuster movie “National Treasure 2: Book of
Secrets” at Mount Vernon, combining Hollywood and history and giving visitors stories about the filming and how the locations were used during George Washington’s time. Offered daily April – December. Times vary. Tickets: $10 in addition to admission. More details: mountvernon.org/nationaltreasure.
- The Gardens & Groves Tour examines Washington’s brilliant design for the grounds at Mount Vernon. Visit the gardens he envisioned, see some of the original trees that are still standing, and learn how he merged areas for work and leisure to create a master plan for his beloved home. Offered daily April – October at 11 a.m. Tickets: $10 in addition to admission. More details: mountvernon.org/gardensgroves.
- Through My Eyes Character Tour uses actors portraying characters such as Washington’s granddaughter, personal secretary, or farm manager will guide you across the estate as they go about their daily activities, making several stops along the way. Offered on Saturdays and Sunday, March – December at 1:30 p.m. Tickets: $10 in addition to admission. More details: mountvernon.org/throughmyeyes.
- During Mount Vernon’s special tour, All the President’s Pups Walking Tour, bring your dog along for this 1.25-mile walking tour and explore canine life at Mount Vernon, from the first president’s dogs to the dogs that live at the Estate today. The tour stops at five historic locations, including the historic west gate. Along the way, learn about George Washington’s love for dogs, his dogs’ unusual names, and his efforts to improve the quality of his hunting dogs through breeding. Saturdays at 10 a.m. May and October. Tickets: $10 in addition to admission. More details: mountvernon.org/dogtour.
- Mount Vernon’s In-Depth Tour offers guests a90-minute guided tour of the estate that explores the Mansion enslaved quarters, grounds, and outbuildings. Discover more than 250 years of history at Mount Vernon. The tour begins in the Mansion, which serves as an autobiography of George Washington—the architecture, function, and furnishings of each room reflected his status in society. The experience concludes with a special wreath-laying ceremony at George Washington’s Tomb, and a visit to the Slave Cemetery. March – December. Times vary. More details: mountvernon.org/indepthtour
Other Seasonal Activities – Included in Admission
- The A-Dressing the Nation program features Tobias Lear, George Washington’s personal secretary, sharing details about 18th-century fashion and manners during this lighthearted 45-minute presentation. Offered Friday – Sunday, 11am. March 23-July 1. More details: mountvernon.org/dress
- This Spring Mount Vernon will welcome more than 20 adorable lambs on display at Mount Vernon’s paddock and stable area. The lambs are Hog Island sheep – a rare heritage breed that dates back to the 1600s. Mount Vernon has one of the largest flocks of these sheep. More details: mountvernon.org/animals.
- George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill reopens April 1. Demonstrations by costumed distillers take visitors through the historic process of whiskey-making in this reconstruction of Washington’s 18th-century distillery. George Washington’s Distillery is adjacent to his reconstructed Gristmill, a water-powered mill where Colonial millers grind corn into meal and wheat into flour just as it was done more than 200 years ago. George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill are located three miles from Mount Vernon. More details: mountvernon.org/distillery.
- At the George Washington: Pioneer Farmer site, visitors can tour the re-created 16-sided barn George Washington designed. This four-acre site also features rare-breed farm animals (oxen, mules, roosters, sheep, and chickens) similar to the varieties Washington had at his farms. The cultivated area includes eight fields, and illustrates Washington’s advanced farming practices and crop rotation scheme. More details: mountvernon.org/farm.
- During Mount Vernon’s Tribute at the Tomb, visitors recite Washington’s “Prayer for his Country” and the Pledge of Allegiance as part of this daily program offered at the tomb of George and Martha Washington at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., April – October. More details: mountvernon.org/tomb.