Spring is the time to experience all that George Washington’s Mount Vernon has to offer its visitors. Guests won’t want to miss George Washington's Distillery and Grist Mill now open for the season, with tours on Saturdays and Sundays. In 1799 the distillery produced nearly 11,000 gallons, making it one of the largest whiskey distilleries in America. Today, the reconstructed distillery remains in operation, producing small batches of spirits on-site.
Visitors can add a historical touch to their home garden with a purchase from the exclusive “General’s Choice” line featuring plants propagated from seeds or cuttings grown on George Washington’s estate during Mount Vernon’s Spring Garden and Plant Sale.
In early May, Mount Vernon's serene 12-acre field will transform into a battleground for an action-packed Revolutionary War Weekend. Continentals, Redcoats, and Hessians will conduct military drills, perform cavalry demonstrations, and engage in 18th-century tactics. Visitors can meet the soldiers encamped at Mount Vernon along with the camp followers, primarily women and children, who traveled with the army.
Families and foodies won’t want to miss Resident Baker Justin Cherry of Half Crown Bakehouse, who will be at Mount Vernon during select weekends for 18th-century bread baking demonstrations and fresh loaves for sale while they last. And wine and whisky aficionados will want to get tickets now for the popular Spring Wine Festival and Whiskey Tasting.
Visitors also can visit the Mansion and expansive estate and meet renowned historians and authors. April and May events and activities include:
George Washington’s Distillery and Gristmill opens for the season on April 1. These fully-functioning reconstructions of George Washington's Distillery and Gristmill are located 2.7 miles from the estate’s main entrance. Tours are offered on weekends from April through October and are included with a Mount Vernon grounds pass. Learn more.
Taste Mount Vernon's one-of-a-kind distilled products on Saturdays in May. George Washington’s Whiskey Tasting is an outdoor event featuring samples of three distilled spirits made using 18th-century distilling techniques and take a tour of the Distillery & Gristmill. Read more.
Watch the 18th-century baking process with Resident Baker Justin Cherry of Half Crown Bakehouse on April 1 through 4 and May 2 through 4. Each loaf is baked in a reproduction clay oven and made of grains authentic to the period that, when possible, were ground at George Washington's Gristmill. Demonstrations are held from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m., with baked goods available for purchase until sold out. Read more.
Attend a lecture and reception with historian Flora Fraser about her new book, Pretty Young Rebel, on April 13. Fraser dispels misinformation to reveal a picture of a headstrong woman named Flora Macdonald, a young Scotswoman whose decision to help Prince Charlie, the Stuart claimant to the British throne, evade capture and flee the country. Learn more and purchase tickets.
Hear from Benjamin L. Carp, author of The Great New York Fire of 1776: A Lost Story of the American Revolution, on April 27. This new book tells the untold story of the mysterious fire that burned down much of New York City shortly after the British took the city during the Revolutionary War. This event includes a book signing. Register for this free event.
Shop for heirloom vegetables, herbs, annual flowers, native perennials, trees, and shrubs grown in Mount Vernon's greenhouses. Members can shop one day early, on April 28, with a reservation. Advance tickets are not required for the public sale on April 29 and April 30. Members receive a 10 percent discount on plants. Learn more.
Nominate a Teacher for Mount Vernon Teacher of the Year Award. Nominations are open through April 30 for teachers in the Washington, DC. Metro Area. The award is presented annually to a local history or social studies teacher who brings creativity and passion to their classroom; instills a love of learning in students; and deepens student understanding and appreciation of history. Learn more and nominate a teacher.
Experience Revolutionary War Weekend on May 6 and 7. Watch military drills and cavalry demonstrations, meet the soldiers and camp followers, tour the 18th-century army encampments, and walk through George Washington’s War Tent that served as his command center of the Continental Army. Included in the purchase of general admission. Learn more.
Watch the construction of an 18th-century English gown on May 13 and 14. Mount Vernon’s historic costumer, Kathrin Breitt Brown, and Brooke Welborn of Burnley & Trowbridge will complete a gown and petticoat using hand stitching and 18th-century techniques. Learn more.
Enjoy a Book Talk: Beauty and the Brain on May 18. Rachel E. Walker, the author of Beauty and the Brain: The Science of Human Nature in Early America, discusses her new book that examines the history of phrenology and physiognomy, proposing a bold new way of understanding the connection between science, politics, and popular culture in early America. Learn more.
Savor the Spring Wine Festival & Sunset Tour on May 19, 20, and 21. Now is the time to purchase tickets for this event that sells out. Bring a blanket and relax on the east lawn overlooking the Potomac River while sampling wines from Virginia’s finest wineries. Guests will also enjoy live music from Bruce Ewan and the Solid Senders. Doors open at 6 p.m. each night, and The Shops at Mount Vernon and Wine Valet Service are open until 8:45 p.m. The first floor, second floor, and cellar of the Mansion will be open until 8:30 p.m. Learn more.
Read the complete listing of Mount Vernon events here. Most Mount Vernon events are free or discounted for members. Information about Mount Vernon membership is available here.
Photographs and video related to upcoming events at Mount Vernon are available here and should be attributed to the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.