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|Amber Brooks • 6/08/17|
The Short Version: Located along the banks of the Potomac River in Virginia, Mount Vernon is the place George Washington called home, and it’s where he and his wife were laid to rest. Today, this historic landmark is open to the public 365 days a year. The colonial buildings and surrounding estate offer visitors an idea of what life was like for the Washingtons and the more than 300 slaves who lived and worked on their 8,000-acre plantation. History buffs can take a date to tour the mansion and gardens, watch a live demonstration of field plowing, or visit the museum. Over 1 million visitors a year make a trip to see the home of the first US President and come away with a new appreciation for a bygone era. Additionally, the Mount Vernon Inn, an American restaurant, offers a quaint setting for a wedding steeped in historical significance and patriotism. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, Mount Vernon is an ideal destination for couples seeking romance just outside the nation’s capital.
A few years ago, Amy and Eric decided to get married on Fourth of July weekend, and they chose a distinctly patriotic setting for their wedding reception: Mount Vernon Inn.
They loved the quaint intimacy of the inn. As residents of Alexandria, Virginia, the couple felt drawn to George Washington’s historic home in Mount Vernon, and the inn is conveniently situated adjacent to the property.
A competent staff planned everything seamlessly — from the catered banquet to the bride and groom’s sparkler-lined exit.
“This venue offered a unique, cozy, rustic, and Virginia feel,” Amy wrote in a five-star review on Wedding Wire. “We wouldn’t have changed a thing about our wedding reception at the Mount Vernon Inn.”
For more than 200 years, Mount Vernon has stood open to the public, hosting many special visits, educational tours, and romantic moments. In 1794, George Washington himself wrote, “I have no objection to any sober [or] orderly person’s gratifying their curiosity in viewing the buildings [and] gardens about Mount Vernon.” And that has been the standard ever since.
Even during the Civil War, the grounds were granted neutral status, and unarmed Confederate and Union soldiers (out of uniform) were welcome to come and pay their respects to the Father of our Country.
Today, 500 acres of Washington’s plantation is open to visitors 365 days of the year. For the price of general admission, visitors get access to the mansion, surrounding colonial buildings, gardens, farm, and museum. The gristmill and distillery, located just three miles down the road by shuttle, are open seasonally from April to October. You and your date will find plenty of conversation starters in the rich history and sights of Mount Vernon.
While touring the grounds, you’ll see expansive views of the Potomac River and flowering gardens carefully maintained. The official website suggests budgeting three hours for your visit so you can take your time and see everything from the Museum and Education Center to George Washington’s Tomb. Visitors can check out Mount Vernon’s calendar of events to find out when special festivals, exhibitions, and celebrations are taking place there.
On a date or anniversary, Mount Vernon provides the perfect backdrop for moments of reverie and romance. According to the website, “Mount Vernon offers a glimpse into 18th-century plantation life through beautiful gardens and grounds, intriguing museum exhibits, and immersive programs honoring George Washington’s life and legacy!”
Guided tours of the first President’s home is an affordable and informative way to go sightseeing with a partner. Expert guides can help you see the historic site in a new light. Whether you’re watching a live demonstration of fieldwork on the Pioneer Farm or reading a love letter written by George Washington in 1775, Mount Vernon impresses visitors with insights into the life of our first President.
For just $4, the Gardens and Groves Tour invites visitors to appreciate the landscape designed and cultivated by Washington. Some of the original trees still stand on the grounds, which are fragrant with flowers and ornamental shrubbery. The lands still produce vegetables and fruits, which are served to guests during exclusive farm-to-table dinners.
Different walking tours focus on the dogs, food, women, and family members in Washington’s life, offering interesting discussion topics for daters.
Offered starting April through October, The Enslaved People of Mount Vernon Tour is a 60-minute tour focused on the 300+ slaves who lived and worked on Mount Vernon’s property. For $4 (plus the cost of admission), you can see the cramped quarters where they slept as well as replicated period clothing, tools, toys, and accessories. This tour is offered for free in February in honor of Black History Month.
Sightseeing cruises make for a fun excursion for a date too. From the Wharf, a luxury boat will carry you along the Potomac River during the warmer months while a narrated recording explains the history of the river and how it helped Washington turn a profit.
If you take an audio tour of Mount Vernon, you can meander on your own through the gravel paths, intimate rooms, and memorial spaces with a headset providing background information on all you see.
After all that walking and sightseeing, you’re bound to work up an appetite. Just footsteps away, diners go to the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant for some good old-fashioned American fare, including cheeseburger sliders and apple pie.
According to the website, the restaurant is “one of Washington’s best-kept secrets for romantic dining.”
“My husband and I enjoyed this restaurant for a little date night,” wrote one diner in an OpenTable Review. “The food was delicious! The ambiance was intimate and beautiful.”
The Mount Vernon Inn is an all-inclusive wedding venue steeped in historical significance. Brides and grooms can choose from six intimate dining rooms — the George Washington Room, Tavern Room, Betsy Ross Room, Verandah Room, and Sunken Garden — which vary in size. The Tavern Room seats 35 guests while the outdoor courtyard in the Sunken Garden can accommodate 180 seated guests under a 30-by-30-foot white tent.
In-house banquet managers take care of the details of the day and offer customized menus and decor options so the wedding planning process is easy on brides and grooms.
The Mount Vernon Inn restaurant caters all events with delicious American colonial cuisine, including petite salmon filet, rosemary chicken, grilled cheese, tomato soup, and crab cakes. “The food was phenomenal, and many of our guests told us it was the best food they had ever had at a wedding,” Anastasia said in a review posted on Wedding Wire. “The setting was beautiful and cozy and perfect for history lovers like us.”
With colonial decor, the Mount Vernon Inn offers an elegant space for wedding receptions. Large wedding parties often separate into two or three dining rooms to enjoy their meals in a quiet setting. Outside, in the greenery of the Sunken Garden, couples take lovely wedding photos with breathtaking views all around them.
“The venue was perfectly idyllic,” commented one bride on Wedding Wire. “The many small rooms with different decor made the evening feel cozy and intimate… almost like a wedding at home.”
From the grand bridal staircase to the softly lit dining rooms, the Mount Vernon Inn ushers guests to share private moments in a setting out of the past. In the words of the website, “With a unique and charming colonial atmosphere, the Mount Vernon Inn is an ideal location for your wedding, reception, rehearsal dinner, or ceremony.”
Mount Vernon has stood in the picturesque countryside of Virginia for over 200 years and has impressed millions of guests with the splendor of its surroundings. This historic landmark hearkens back to colonial times and offers visitors a glimpse at the life of an American legend: George Washington.
After leading the American Revolution to victory and serving for eight years as the first President, Washington retired to live out his life in the beautiful gardens and stately mansion of Mount Vernon. Today, you can visit the grounds where the President and his wife shared their last days together. Couples love the quiet intimacy of Mount Vernon and often linger on the piazza overlooking the Potomac River or the winding gardens lush with new growth.
“I can’t say enough wonderful things about Mount Vernon Inn and its staff” — Anne, a bride who got married at Mount Vernon Inn
As a longstanding national treasure, Mount Vernon offers couples a place they can return to throughout the years to share special memories. For instance, Amy and Eric plan to visit the historic site and inn every year on their wedding anniversary to relive the beauty of their special day.
Mount Vernon belongs to all Americans, and it’s a beautiful spot to appreciate the wealth of blessings we enjoy as a country and as individuals.