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Mount Vernon Welcomes Spring with New Activities March 31

Mon, 02/27/2012

For Immediate Release
Digital images available

Media Contact:
Melissa Wood (703) 799-5203

Mount Vernon Welcomes Spring with New Activities March 31

New “Dinner for the Washingtons” Walking Tour, Early Opening Hours, Discount Packages, Distillery & Gristmill Site Re-Opens

MOUNT VERNON, Va. – Mount Vernon welcomes the spring season with special activities and tours beginning Saturday, March 31.  Visitors participating in Mount Vernon’s new food-themed walking tour, Dinner for the Washingtons, will receive a taste of cherry punch, adapted from Martha Washington’s recipe, in honor of the centennial anniversary of the Cherry Blossom Festival (through April 22).

As one of the few early-opening attractions in the Washington, D.C. area, Mount Vernon will open its doors at 8:00 a.m. daily through August, giving visitors an extra hour to explore the Estate.  For visitors looking to save a few “Washingtons,” Mount Vernon is also bringing back its special money-saving and value-added admission packages featuring audio tours, river cruises, and more.

Special walking tours

  • NEW! Ever wonder what George Washington ate for dinner? Beginning March 31, the Dinner for the Washingtons walking tour goes behinds the scenes to find out how food was prepared and served before the era of microwaves and TV dinners.  The one-hour walking tour showcases food, hospitality, and dining at Mount Vernon by taking an in-depth look at locations around the Estate, including the basement cellar. The tour will end in Mount Vernon’s greenhouse with a sample of food based on an 18th century recipe.
  • In honor of the centennial anniversary of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, visitors who participate in Dinner for the Washingtons, will receive a taste cherry punch, adapted from Martha Washington’s recipe, through April 22.  Saturdays & Sundays only March 31-October 28, 11am.  This special tour costs $5 per tour in addition to Estate admission.
  • During the Mount Vernon in the Civil War explore historic locations and listen to dramatic Civil War stories – from the life-risking efforts of the estate’s earliest caretakers to battlefield cannon fire rumbling the Mansion!  This one-hour walking tour takes place on Saturdays and Sundays at 3:30 p.m. begin March 31 through October 28. These special tours are limited in capacity and cost $5 in addition to Estate admission.
  • Tours of slave life and gardens enrich the visitor experience by providing in-depth knowledge of these fascinating subjects during the 45-minute guided walking tours, included with admission.  The Slave Life at Mount Vernon daily tour explores the lives and contributions of the slaves who lived at Mount Vernon.  The daily Garden and Landscape Tour highlights Washington’s creative design for his gardens. Visit for schedules.
  • Mount Vernon’s popular National Treasure Tour returns beginning March 1.  The tour is dedicated to the behind-the-scenes filming of the blockbuster movie "National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets" at Mount Vernon.  The National Treasure Tour combines Hollywood and history, giving visitors stories about the filming and also information on how the locations were used during George Washington's time.  This special tour is limited to 25 visitors per time slot and costs $5 per tour in addition to Estate admission.

Other Seasonal Activities

  • Throughout the month of April, Mount Vernon offers free wagons rides to visitors! Visit the George Washington: Pioneer Farmer site Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., to ride in a wagon pulled by Mount Vernon's livestock.
  • George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill reopens March 31. Demonstrations by costumed distillers take visitors through the historic process of whiskey-making in this reconstruction of the largest 18th-century distillery in America. 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.  For hours  and admission info, please visit
  • Potomac River sightseeing cruises offer a refreshing opportunity to explore Mount Vernon from a different view with a 40-minute narrated excursion aboard the Spirit of Mount Vernon or Miss Christin Tuesday through Sunday. Tickets for sightseeing cruises are $9.00 for adults and $5.00 for children (6-11) in addition to Estate admission. Children ages 5 and under are free. Please visit for sightseeing cruise schedules.
  • Spring welcomes 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.
  • 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. Included in Estate admission.
  • 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 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Included in Estate admission.

Deals & Discounts

  • Three money-saving admission packages will be available beginning March 31 through October 28: The Farmer ($21/adult, $12/youth), The Commander ($17/adult, $8.50/youth), and The President ($29/adult, $17/youth).
  • The Farmer package includes admission to the Estate and George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill for a savings of $2 dollars per adult and $.50 per child
  • The Commander package includes admission to the Estate, George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill, and an audio tour for a savings of $4 per adult and $3 per youth.
  • The President package, available Tuesday through Sunday only, includes admission to the Estate, George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill, audio tour, sightseeing cruise, and 10% off at The Shops for a savings of $6 per adult and $4 per youth.
  • Add a guidebook to any package for $6 and save another "Washington"!

Regular admission to the Estate is $15 for adults; $7 for youth ages 6-11; and free for children five and younger.


Since 1860, more than 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens the most popular historic home in America.  Through thought-provoking tours, entertaining events, and stimulating educational programs on the Estate and in classrooms across the nation, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.”  Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853.  A picturesque drive to the southern end of the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway, Mount Vernon is located just 16 miles from the nation’s capital.

Hours of operation: April-August, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; March, September, October, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; November – February, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Regular admission rates: adults, $15.00; senior citizens, $14.00; children age 6-11, when accompanied by an adult, $7.00; and children under age 5, FREE.  Admission fees, restaurant and retail proceeds, along with private donations, support the operation and restoration of Mount Vernon.