Over the holidays I explored George Washington Birthplace National Monument for the first time in the Northern Neck. When I was in college, I volunteered at Ferry Farm, his boyhood home in Stafford. We used to frequent Mount Vernon and the Inn when we were closer to Fairfax. His birthplace was a new and interesting historic site to tour…
Located along Popes Creek, George Washington’s birthplace is a site filled with beauty to explore. The Visitor’s Center featured a few artifacts and a video on farm life. A short walk from the Visitor’s Center is the house site and memorial building.
The house on site serves as a memorial to George Washington built in the early 20th century, however, it is not accurate to the original home on property. The foundations for Washington’s birth-home is outlined in oyster shells a few yards from the memorial house. The tour guide who led me around property was very informative and explained the original foundations of the Washington family’s home and additions added. A tour of the memorial house reveals furnishings in the style of the early to mid-18th century for a manor home larger than the Washington’s on site. (In fact, the memorial home is closer to the size of the original Mount Vernon, before additions)
Through the tour, I learned a few new things about the design of 18th century homes, including the layout order: water, house, kitchen. What this means is that the orientation of the house is typically between the water and the kitchen (at Washington’s birthplace, you can see this layout with the house between Pope’s Creek entering into the Potomac River and the location of where the kitchen was believed to be, now with a reconstructed display kitchen.) In addition, I learned that today, Washington’s birthplace is a working farm with historically accurate breeds kept on property. A unique addition to convey farm-life of the 18th century.
Now for some wine talk: George Washington Birthplace National Monument is just down the road from Ingleside Vineyards. In the Visitor’s Center, they have on display a wine bottle artifact. My favorite note from site is an early “box of wine” on display in the memorial house to replicate how wines in the 18th century may have been shipped.
As I mentioned, the site was beautiful to explore between the memorial, working farm, and paths along Popes Creek to the Potomac River. Below are just a few photos I took along the way.