Monday, February 16, 2009

Presidents' Day

Today we are taking a break from motivation and encouragement to discuss the lovely American holiday called Presidents' Day.

The holiday brings an entire list of questions to my brain. How do most people celebrate Presidents' Day? How many people even get the day off? And which President should be celebrated? I don't think I could adequately honor 44 Presidents in one day.

A few years ago, I spent the day touring Mary Washington's house in Fredericksburg, Virginia. If you ever get the chance to visit Fredericksburg, try to take a short tour. Mary Washington's house and garden are well-preserved and contain many of her personal belongings. The knowledgable museum guides point out interesting facts of that historical period (people traveled with their own silverware!) along with the details of Mary's routine. One of the boxwood bushes in the garden was planted by her. There's also a fascinating framed copy of her will upstairs in which she sets several slaves free.

To see pictures and learn more about this landmark, visit APVA Preservation Virginia.

After touring Mary's house, I walked up the street to where her daughter, Betty Washington Lewis, lived with her husband, Fielding Lewis. The mansion, Kenmore, was undergoing restorations when I toured it. Even though the furnishings had been packed away in storage, I still fell in love with the old house. The rich detailing of the plaster made it worth my while. I believe Kenmore will be fully furnished and open for touring sometime this spring. There's also a beautiful lawn to walk around and a small museum on site. Did I mention the Civil War cannonball lodged in the brick wall of the house?

To see pictures and learn more about Kenmore, visit Kenmore.

George Washington lived in Fredericksburg on Ferry Farm as a young boy. Unfortunately, nothing remains of the house, but the grounds are open to visitors, and archeologists have unearthed possible sites for the buildings. There's also a small museum on site.

Another great place to visit on President's Day in Fredericksburg is Chatham. Get this--George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln all visited Chatham, at separate times of course. Walt Whitman and Clara Barton also spent time at the gorgeous plantation during the civil war. I could spend three days talking about Chatham, but I'll spare you that fate. Instead I'll tell you my favorite things about it.

The formally landscaped grounds are gorgeous. The view from the front of the mansion includes the Rappahanock River in the foreground and fades away to downtown Fredericksburg. Soldiers' original graffiti from the Civil War has been preserved. The mansion serves as a museum and has a helpful staff. Oh, and did I mention? It's free.

To learn more about Chatham, visit NPS Chatham.

Thank you for indulging my love of historical Fredericksburg. Hope you have a terrific Presidents' Day!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry about the broken links! I fixed them this morning and you should be able to click on any link in this post to get to the appropriate website. Happy Presidents' Day! Jill


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