The Home of Washington is in Your Charge

Recently my Grandmother discovered that we are descendants of Ann Pamela Cunningham, the woman who saved Mount Vernon from deterioration and preserved the house for future generations to enjoy. Naturally, I need to tell the world about this connection to George Washington.

Kyle and I finally had a chance to get out to Mount Vernon for a proper visit a couple weeks ago. It was possibly the perfect early-fall day: blue skies, slight breeze, chill in the air…

The house is still very nice (however you are unable to photograph inside the house), and an entire day can be spent around the gardens and yard. Mount Vernon is just a quick trip from DC, driving it took us only about 25 minutes, however I’ve taken the metro and a shuttle before and it’s not too bad of a trip.
DSC_3728DSC_3735 DSC_3737The highlight of our visit was about 30 minutes spent with Martha Washington. She told us about life at Mount Vernon, about her first years of marriage to Mr. Washington, and what it was like to be the General’s and then President’s lady. 
DSC_3746 DSC_3755There is a very nice museum and visitor center at Mount Vernon (George Washington’s famed wooden teeth are on display!). A great deal of credit was given to my ancestor for the work she did to save the home. 
DSC_3773 DSC_3774 DSC_3775Two bulls out in the farm: DSC_3776George and Martha, along with other relatives, were originally buried in a tomb on the land, but after some years the tomb was too small to hold everyone. George was a planner, and had seen this coming so had prepared plans for a new tomb – many years after he died, the new tomb was created to his specifications and the family’s remains were moved. DSC_3785Can you believe our first president is RIGHT THERE?
DSC_3790 DSC_3792 This is the old tomb. I tried to get in but they locked it. Darn. DSC_3794 DSC_3799Mount Vernon is very romantic! DSC_3817We then went “off the beaten path” as far as Mount Vernon goes and went to visit George Washington’s gristmill and distillery. Just a few miles down the road is the site, so you’d have to drive, but it’s free to take a tour if you’re coming from Mount Vernon.

George Washington ran a very successful gristmill from what I hear – producing cornmeal and flour from his wheat and corn crops. Eventually someone had said to him, “you have all the tools to make whiskey – what’s holding you back?” (I paraphrased this, of course). So, he hired the best in the business to get his whiskey operation up and running. Some time after his death (GW died in 1799) his distillery went up in flames – which is not surprising since colonial-era whiskey-making takes a good deal of fire.

Thankfully, GW left behind detailed notes on his operation. Perfect for future whiskey AND history loving people to rebuild.

If you’d like to learn more about the distillery, check out this list for 10 Facts About the Distillery – it starts with “George Washington was the only founding father to commercially operate a distillery” … anyone else thinking, GW solidified as THE coolest founding father?

IMG_20141018_154921 IMG_20141018_155334 IMG_20141018_155418 IMG_20141018_161605 IMG_20141018_161634 IMG_20141018_161648 IMG_20141018_161816 IMG_20141018_161822 IMG_20141018_161834Twice a year Mount Vernon produces a small batch for sale, however they are unpaged and based on what was said on the tour, not the highest quality (despite costing a pretty penny). With that, the earlier inner-struggle on whether it would be worth the investment in our own Mount Vernon whiskey bottle is solved.

Where Does the Time Go?

Nobody warned me that the days, months, years would actually fly by after a certain age. One day we’re celebrating our anniversary and the start to the summer heat, the next I’m pulling out sweaters wondering how it’s suddenly late-October and I have yet to buy a pumpkin. Before my memories start to fade, here are the highlights of our summer:

We went back to UD for our college reunion weekend. Naturally, we all acted exactly how we acted in college.



There is a park in our neighborhood (Yards Park) that hosts bands on Friday nights all summer. It was easy to be regulars and convince friends to come visit for the evening.


Looking back on my phone for summer photos my first thought was “Why did I take this photo?” Then I realized it was because this could possibly be my Lisa Simpson outfit (if I could only wear one outfit my entire life) – crab necklace, Ohio shirt, and polka dots. All my favorite things. And, I really love crabs. My crab necklace from Baltimore was a necessary accessory when we picked up a bushel of crabs to pick with friends on evening.

No other photos were taken because our hands were much too messy.



We are really working on our camping skills, so for the Fourth of July holiday we went down to the family farm for some R&R.
IMG_4536.JPGIMG_4542.JPGIMG_4541.JPGIMG_4539.JPGThis summer I was busy with a “summer job” giving Segway tours around the city. It’s not over yet but it has been a total blast meeting people from all over the world to share with them my city’s history. I’m not going to lie, it’s been really nice having a willing (and paying) audience for my cheesy jokes. Remind me to tell you about the bushes outside of the White House…


My parents surprised me one weekend with a visit to DC! I wanted to give them the full “DC Local” treatment since they normally come in the winter or over a holiday. We hit up Yards Park (I told you we went every week), visited the famed pandas at the National Zoo, and even grabbed some crabs from the fish market. All in a DC weekend.




We also had a jam-packed weekend with one of our most favorite families. Not pictured: the parents.


Went to the best and most entertaining concert of my life: Arcade Fire. I have never had so much fun at a concert.

IMG_4751.JPGSent some of our best DC friends off to London for a year of adventure and schooling:


Went to Cincinnati for Labor Day and I got to see the WEBN fireworks for the first time (believe it) after a wild night in OTR.  Spent a lot of quality time with Mom’s kittens and my grandparents.



Whew. I think that last photo sums it up! Now that I’ve gone through all of our photos, I realize we had quite a packed summer, full of travel and good friends – what more could we have asked for?

Born to be Brooklyn Hipsters

With as many times as I’ve been to New York, it’s somewhat shocking that I’ve never made it out to Brooklyn. Ok, I never thought I needed to go to Brooklyn – until I got there and saw that it’s exactly where I belong (when I’m in NY of course).

Brooklyn is beyond cool. Even in our most hipster outfits we were certainly not cool enough to blend in completely.

Hipster Outfit Checklist:

  1. A tank top that screams “I just threw this on”
  2. Ripped jean shorts that could have definitely come from a thrift shop
  3. Polka dot sneakers (which could be classified as ironic since they’re not hipster, which makes them hipster)
  4. Aviator sunglasses
  5. Backpack

Alright, in a normal day I’m pretty opposite on the Hipster Scale as I was going for, so I’d say my attempt moved me a significant distance.  I’ll take it.

To save some money we took the 6:30 AM train out of DC, which put us into NY by 10:00 and in Brooklyn by lunchtime after we met up with my girlfriends.  It was worth the pain of getting up and out that early, since it saved us a night in a hotel.

The first stop was Smorgasburg: an outdoor flea-market of deliciousness.

Smorgasburg was overwhelming in the most exciting way.  There are more than 100 food vendors, and their foods range from the atypical to the “WHAT IS THAT!?” – try picking somewhere to source your lunch, you can’t.  Think you’re going to find a hot dog and hamburger place? What about a turkey sandwich? GO BACK TO WHEREVER YOU CAME FROM! (that’s what I’d assume someone would yell if you asked that inside Smorgasburg).

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Nice view of the city from here. Suckers over there, stuck between buildings while we’re over here chowing down on delicious cheap(ish) food, sitting on the green grass in the sun…

This photo below is of the hotel I’m going to try to stay in on my next non-work trip to Brooklyn. I have no idea what the actual name of the hotel is, but if the inside is as cool as their sign, I’m sure it will work out.

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Our one and only tourist destination planned for this trip was the Brooklyn Brewery. Thankfully the group was on board because the line to get in was ridiculous (totally shocking that this has gone mainstream… so not hipster).  Once we were inside it was clear we made the right decision and stuck it out – the place was very cool, and the beer was cheap(ish).

DSC_3489 DSC_3492* DSC_3494 DSC_3499 DSC_3505Would we do the visit to the Brooklyn Brewery again? Probably not.  Would I recommend it to others? If they’re in the area and the line doesn’t look too long.

After the brewery we hit up an indoor beer garden around the corner with some friends that live in the NYC area.  It was inside an old factory building, very little signage on the outside and they served large beers.  To our surprise, a band showed up and brought the entire building to it’s feet dancing.  The band included a drum, trombone, saxophone, trumpet and a tuba.


Let’s go back!