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What to See

Mount Vernon is an American landmark and an enduring reminder of the life and legacy of the Father of Our Country. What was once an active plantation is now one of the nation’s most visited historic sites. Combining an iconic and authentic 18th-century home, beautiful gardens and grounds, intriguing museum galleries, immersive exhibits and programs, and first-rate dining and shopping, Mount Vernon is an incomparable national treasure.

Ford Orientation Center

Start your Mount Vernon experience in the Ford Orientation Center, where you can watch the 25-minute action-adventure movie We Fight to Be Free. Maps in several languages and alternate formats, annual passes, and audio tours are also available here.

We recommend budgeting 30 minutes to visit the Ford Orientation Center.

The Mansion

After the death of his older half-brother Lawrence in 1752, George Washington took up residence at the house that his father, Augustine Washington, had built in 1735. Over the next five decades, Washington greatly expanded the structure—creating an impressive 21-room residence with architectural features that showcased his growing status as a Virginia gentleman. Vibrant wall colors, intricate moldings, delicate plasterwork, extensive faux finishes, and elegant furnishings bespeak the Washingtons’ wealth and aesthetic preferences. The interior of the Mansion has been meticulously restored to its appearance in 1799. Walk through the first and second floors, where history interpreters are posted to provide relevant information.

Depending on the number of visitors at a given time, Mansion tours last between 15 and 35 minutes. Timed tickets for line entry are distributed year-round at the main ticket window outside the Ford Orientation Center.

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Mansion Outbuildings

In designing his estate, Washington organized the outbuildings, lanes, and gardens in ways that reveal both his practical nature and personal taste. Many of the Mansion’s essential operations—such as laundry, spinning, and meat curing—were performed in these small structures, located along the north and south lanes. Explore more than a dozen outbuildings, including a working blacksmith shop featuring daily demonstrations.

We recommend budgeting 30 minutes to explore the Mansion outbuildings.

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Gardens and Grounds

Blessed with a proverbial green thumb, George Washington was the driving force behind the design of four separate gardens covering more than six acres that surround his home. The gardens served many purposes, from testing new varieties of plants to producing vegetables and fruit to providing lavish floral displays. Enjoy each of these gardens as well as the quarter-mile-long forest trail that winds through the wooded landscape of Mount Vernon.

We recommend budgeting 30 minutes to explore Mount Vernon's gardens. Allow 15 minutes to walk the forest trail, which includes some steep and uneven gravel paths.

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Learn more about "Gardens and Landscape" Tours

Heritage Breed Animals

Washington bred livestock to provide strong work animals as well as wool, leather, meat, milk, butter, and perhaps most importantly to a farmer – fertilizer. Today, guests will encounter in season many of the same breeds raised at Mount Vernon two centuries ago, including Ossabaw Island Hogs, Hog island Sheep, Bronze Gobbler Turkeys, Dominique Chickens, Red Devon Cattle. Horse, mules, and oxen also call Mount Vernon home.


George Washington died in the Mansion’s master bedchamber on December 14, 1799. His will directed that he be buried on his beloved estate. He also chose a site for a new brick tomb to replace the original burial vault, which was deteriorating. The Tomb was completed in 1831, and the remains of Washington, his wife, Martha, and other family members were moved there.

We recommend budgeting 15 minutes to visit the Tomb.

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Slave Memorial and Burial Ground

A memorial honoring the slaves who lived and worked at Mount Vernon marks their burial ground. Located 50 yards from the Tomb, this was the cemetery for slaves and free blacks who worked at Mount Vernon during the 1700s and first half of the 1800s. Because the graves were unmarked, the identities and numbers of those interred there are largely unknown. Reflect on the historical significance and impact of slavery while viewing the memorial, which was dedicated in 1983.

We recommend budgeting 15 minutes to visit the Slave Memorial.

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Learn more about the "Slave Life at Mount Vernon" tour

Pioneer Farm

Although we honor Washington as a military commander and president, he saw himself first and foremost as a farmer. Recognizing the inadequacies of 18th-century farming techniques, he sought new approaches to agriculture by experimenting with crop rotation, fertilizers, plowing practices, and more. Tour the four-acre farm, whose highlights include a scrupulously crafted replica of Washington’s ingenious 16-sided treading barn and a reconstructed slave cabin.

We recommend budgeting 45 minutes to explore the Pioneer Farm, which is open from April to October. Shuttle service is offered between the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center and the site from April to October.

The Wharf and Potomac River

Washington’s fishery was among the most successful of his various business ventures. In one season alone, the operation pulled about 1.3 million herring from the Potomac River. A modern wharf is located adjacent to the Pioneer Farm.

Visitors can travel to Mount Vernon via boats departing from Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Virginia. They can also enjoy a 45-minute round-trip sightseeing cruise, offered from April to October, for which tickets are available at the Ford Orientation Center and aboard the boat. Shuttle service is offered between the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center and the wharf from April to October.

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Travel to Mount Vernon via boat

Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center

The Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center offers a range of memorable experiences. The Education Center traces Washington’s life story through state-of-the-art gallery displays, evocative ambient audio, History Channel videos, and a remarkably realistic multimedia-theater presentation. Learn about Washington’s childhood hardships, his adventures on the American frontier, his heroic and ultimately victorious leadership of the Continental Army, and his precedent-setting role as the nation’s first president. Accessible from the Education Center, the Hands-on-History Center offers engaging activities for guests ages three to eight.

A comprehensive collection of more than 500 objects is displayed in the Museum’s seven galleries. Gain insight into George and Martha Washington’s tastes, style, and personalities by looking at their personal possessions. The F. M. Kirby Foundation Gallery offers temporary exhibitions, which generally change every one to two years.

We recommend budgeting 45 to 60 minutes to visit the Education Center and 30 to 45 minutes to visit the Museum.

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George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill

Washington had a large stone gristmill built in 1770 and 1771 to increase his production of flour and cornmeal and thus export high-quality products to the West Indies, England, and Europe. In 1797 his Scottish farm manager, James Anderson, encouraged him to build a distillery adjacent to the gristmill. The distillery, which produced nearly 11,000 gallons of rye whiskey and other distilled products in 1799, making it one of the most successful such operations in America. Fully functioning reconstructions of both commercial buildings— located 2.7 miles from the estate’s main entrance on Mount Vernon Memorial Highway/Route 235—are open to visitors from April to October.

Open from April 1 thru October 31 - Hours: 10:00am to 5:00pm.

We recommend budgeting 60 minutes to visit the Distillery and Gristmill. Parking is available on site.

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Learn more about the Gristmill

The Shops at Mount Vernon

The Shops at Mount Vernon offer a series of shopping experiences, with unique gifts, reproductions of Mount Vernon treasures, and toys and games from a bygone era. Available at the General’s Store in the Ford Orientation Center are guidebooks, umbrellas, cameras, and items to facilitate your tour. The Lady Washington Shop, located in the greenhouse slave quarters and adjacent to the upper garden, has an assortment of gifts, heirloom plants, and seeds. The largest of The Shops is in the Mount Vernon Inn Complex. It features the world’s most comprehensive George Washington-themed bookstore, a year-round Christmas corner, fine jewelry, and a large selection of Virginia foods and wines. For families with young visitors there is an array of toys, T-shirts, DVDs, and other souvenirs. The Shops offer shipping for visitors who do not want to carry purchases home. All sales proceeds directly support Mount Vernon’s operations and mission, which is to preserve the estate to the highest standards while educating the public about the life and legacy of George Washington.

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