The majestic Mount Vernon was the estate of first U.S. President, George Washington, and his wife, Martha Washington. The house is impeccable, the vast grounds are beautiful. The Mount Vernon Ladies Association has done a fantastic job restoring this grand property to its former glory.
|Visitors wait to tour the interior of Mount Vernon|
Update Oct. 28, 2015: Have visited Mount Vernon a couple of times since originally writing this post. It's always interesting to see the outcome of the work and reinterpretation done on historic properties. The room is displayed differently now and is no longer set up as a dining room. The restoration details are stunning.
Originally built on Mount Vernon's property, Woodlawn was built for George Washington's nephew, Major Lawrence Lewis and his bride, Eleanor “Nelly” Custis Lewis. George Washington had designated the land to his nephew upon his death. The home was built in Federal-style between 1800 and 1805.
In Arlington, the former home of General Robert E. Lee, head of the Confederate Army, still remains. The home is located within the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery. Visitors can tour the interior of the home when visiting the Cemetery. The exterior overlooks Washington, D.C. I've only been to this one twice and I'm long overdue for a visit since I know renovations were being done at the time of one of my earlier visits.
|Looking up at Arlington House|
Gunston Hall is the home of George Mason and is located in Mason Neck, Va., just a few miles south of Mount Vernon and also is near the U.S. Army's Fort Belvoir. This property was once a grand tobacco and wheat plantation, comprised of 5,500 acres. Built in classic Georgian style from 1755 and completed in 1759, this house is in spectacular condition today.
In Alexandria, several notable properties still stand and are open to the public. In terms of homes, Carlyle House is probably one of the more prominent that still stand proudly. British merchant John Carlyle built this home for his bride, Sarah Fairfax, in the newly established settlement.
|Oatlands' front entrance|
Located in Leesburg, Morven Park is a home that, as described in the pamplet, "captures the essence of Virginia's rural heritage." A grand house that, even today, has a lot of property. The home was built in 1780 as a simple farmhouse, but over the centuries evolved into a magnificent manor home, both inside and out. In the early 1900s the home was purchased by Westmoreland and Marguerite David and this is the era the house is currently interpreted (with the exception of one room that highlights the era of earlier residents). Westmoreland has an interesting history, he started out as a NYC attorney and eventually became an influential and groundbreaking farmer. He was also the governor of Virginia for a time. We just visited this one in September 2016 and really enjoyed the tour.
Several of the homes that hold significant historical value remain intact with the hard work of the organizations that have taken ownership and/or custodianship of them. These organizations have worked tirelessly to preserve many of the historical properties and keep them as close to original as possible. A truly remarkable job had been done to safeguard this history for current and future generations to see.
Even after a number of years, I'm constantly discovering new things here! If I can offer more information about touring one of these or if you have any suggestions of other grand homes in the region, please leave a note in the comments below.