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 menu of hors d’oeuvres curated by Michelin-starred chef and owner of Masseria in Washington DC Nicholas Stefanelli. The hors d'oeuvres will be paired with wines made by AldenAlli, a California winery on the Sonoma Coast. Dan Kosta, co-founder of AldenAlli, will be on site and mingling with guests throughout the evening.
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. As a popular play in the 18th century, General Washington had Cato performed for his men in the spring of 1778 after a hard winter at Valley Forge, defying a congressional ban on theatrical productions to entertain and inspire his officers and troops.
The dress code is garden chic. There will be no Mansion tours during this event.
Cato, A Tragedy
Written by Joseph Addison in 1713, this play is the account of the final days of the Roman Senator Marcus Porcius Cato (95-46 BCE), a Stoic whose resistance to the tyranny of Julius Caesar made him an icon of republican virtue and liberty. He opposed Caesar’s tyrannical assertion of power and took arms against him, ready to sacrifice everything for freedom.
Addison’s theatrical depiction of Cato influenced friends of liberty on both sides of the Atlantic. George Washington shared Addison's enthusiasm for Cato's self-sacrificing republican virtue, and frequently quoted from Addison's play, both as commander-and-chief of the Continental Army and as President.
Rain date: June 16.
The Upper Garden
George Washington created pleasure grounds surrounding the Mansion for the enjoyment of his family and many guests. The upper garden’s beautiful flowers and perfectly-manicured boxwood, and exotic plants served as a tour highlight for 18th-century visitors. Today visitors enjoy a landscape with flora representative of Washington's garden 250 years ago.