The boys especially loved the "ha ha wall." A low wall was built to keep the animals away from the main house, but to not obstruct the view. It was called this because visitors, not seeing the low wall, might stumble and fall over the wall, causing those in the know to laugh. There was lots to see and learn on the grounds and in the nearby museum.
We met "Martha Washington" who was delightful as she told stories about her life, then interacted with the kids and let us take pictures. Mr. Two and Mr. Four were not interested in that photo op.
The kids got an adventure map with puzzles to solve as they toured the estate. When they finished, they took it to the museum, where they had their puzzles checked and were then given a Mount Vernon penny souvenir.
Oh, and just in case you wondered if I still unconsciously match my kids on occasion, I even do it on vacation. Can you spot Mr. Four?
After Mount Vernon, we had a pizza dinner, then headed to Gravelly Point Park in Arlington, Virginia. It is close by the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, next to the Potomac River. It is a small park, but near the runway, so the planes seem like they are coming in way too close to you as you watch them fly in. There is also a great view of the city and you can watch the sailboats on the river. The boys loved watching the planes come in the first few times, but the noise was a little too loud to stay very long. They had fun running around in the open space.
We couldn't resist trying to take a funny picture with the planes. We had to beg the boys to do it, as they didn't like the noise and the perceived closeness of the planes to their heads...
On Sunday, we went to church in the morning and drove to the Washington D.C. temple. We wandered the beautiful grounds and admired the temple, then headed into the visitor's center for a little while. We were fortunate to be there when they had a temporary exhibit of paintings by an artist named Rose Datoc Dall, called "Jesus Once was a Little Child." It was a series depicting the Savior's early years and they were so very touching to view. You can see a video of the exhibition documentary here. I especially loved her painting called "Under the Canopy of Heaven" with Mary sheltering the baby Jesus and olive branches framing the two. Her work is breathtaking. It made me want to paint.
After a yummy kalamata lemon chicken with orzo dinner with homemade strawberry shortcake (yum!), we drove to Elizabeth City, North Carolina and stayed at a hotel overnight. You would have thought the hotel was the fun part of the trip for the boys. They were just giddy about staying in a room with a tv, water cups and big beds. I think everyone rested fairly well, which was good because Monday was a day full of adventure. No time for napping!