Today, I visited the home of one of my biggest crushes of all time. The man is everything and more a girl could ask for: tall, dashing, kind, talented, incredibly intelligent, down to earth (quite literally), and God-fearing. The only problem is he’s 263 years my senior, and he’s already happily and beautifully married. I shall concede to love and admire him from a distance then.
No, I am NOT talking about Edward from Twilight. Perish the thought! If you know anything about me at all, you should know that vampirism is NOT on my list of ideal characteristics for my future husband.
I am speaking of the honorable General George Washington, who led America to victory in the revolutionary war, oversaw the creation of the U.S. constitution, and served as our first (and undoubtedly best) president.
Washington’s Mount Vernon estate was purchased and restored by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association in the mid 1800’s, and they have been sustaining it ever since. The remaining 500 acres of his once 8000 acre property are still furnished with the gardens, forest, fields, flowers, and livestock that Washington managed as a farmer during his lifetime. It also features the plantation’s many buildings, including the slave quarters, carriage house, black smith, shoe shop, stables, corn crib, treading barn (for threshing wheat), mill and distillery, and of course the gorgeously restored mansion. Washington is remembered for his incredible service and leadership for our country, but he considered himself a farmer above all other things. He was a fantastic farmer, always employing new techniques to increase the plantation’s prosperity and productivity. He utilized crop rotation, in order to use and reuse the fields he had already designated for crop growth, used different types of fencing in revolutionary ways, and created the ingenious treading barn, a building designed for threshing, which used the power of horses to thresh wheat in a much more efficient manner.
And then there is the mansion.
A long, symmetrical building with three sections, with covered porticos connecting them in between, the over 200 year old building is painted with a mixture of sand and paint, which gives the outside of the house the appearance of stone. Indoors, the rooms come to vibrant life with shades of yellow, green, and red. Much of the home is original, including paintings, furniture (Washington’s bed, and fancy rolly swivel chair), harpsichord, and china.
Another original hanging in the first floor passageway caught my attention in particular. It is the key to the French political prison, Bastille, which Washington’s friend Marquis de Lafayette gave to George as a gift, with the words, “It is a tribute, which I owe, as a son to my adoptive father, as an Aide-de-Camp to my General, as a Missionary of liberty to its Patriarch.” – Marquis de Lafayette to George Washington, March 17, 1790
The key to liberty given to the Father of liberty.
George Washington dedicated his entire life to the service of his country, to protecting and preserving liberty, but even more than that, he dedicated his soul to Christ. Washington was a Godly man, and found the idea of freedom first in being freed from sin. That is what inspired him to be the magnificent leader, farmer, husband, human he became. George Washington reflected well the sort of CHrist-like love, courage, and humility that we all strive for in our walk with GOd. God, Washington’s leader, is the ultimate father of all life and liberty, and Christ is the key. Knowing that, I am inspired indeed, and have fallen in love with two marvelous men all over again—George Washington, and more even than him, the true key to liberty, our Savior Jesus Christ.
Thank you to the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association for the information on the website, and the wonderful tour at the Mount Vernon estate.
(By the way, fun fact: Washington set his slaves free shortly before his death. He truly did value freedom for all people.)