Celebrating the First George Washington Inauguration
I pretty much live just outside Colonial Beach, within walking distance (as the crow flies) from George Washington's Birthplace National Monument, but of course I won't trespass on anyone's property so when I went there for the George Washington Inauguration anniversary celebration, I took Route 3 to a left turn on Route 204 and followed that to the end, where before you stands a 1/10th size replica of the Washington Monument in D.C.
After pulling into the parking lot at the visitor's center, I stepped out of my car and marveled at the beautiful morning view of Pope's Creek. The sunlight danced on the water and really made it sparkle. At that point, I heard mooing. Cows were at the water's edge taking a drink.
Inside the visitor's center, I paid my admission fee and was presented with information on the day's events, commemorating George Washington's inauguration which took place way back on April 30th, 1789. I was shown the various prizes for different age groups for the Trivia Contest, as well as a map of the entire property. There was a lot of it! I had no idea how much acreage was involved.
Special thanks to tour guide Beth and her mom, who volunteer there as costumed interpreters. (I even stopped at the gift shop and bought myself a cute little mop hat like they wear.) I got a great tour of the kitchen and weaving outbuildings as well as the Memorial House, which was built in the 1930's - just steps from where the outline of the original house was later unearthed. Right out front of the Memorial House is an amazing 210-year old Hackleberry tree.
The tour was most interesting. I learned a lot about early Colonial life on a working farm. It was hard work. Imagine having to rebuild the kitchen building (which was separate from the living quarters) every four years or so because it would constantly catch fire and burn to the ground.
Throughout my visit, I was quizzed periodically and asked to answer questions for the George Washington Inauguration Trivia Contest. I should have spent some time before my visit to brush up on past Presidents and their history. I got some questions right, but most of them were pretty tricky. One of the more difficult questions was, "Which President was a Prisoner of War?" and the answer was Andrew Jackson. He had been taken prisoner at the age of 13 during the Revolutionary War. The visitor's center personnel mentioned that this question had been stumping people all morning.
Each time I got a question correct, I'd be given the card that the question was written on, which I collected in an envelope and turned in at the end of my visit, along with my name and phone number so they could contact me if I ended up being eligible for any of the prizes,
I picked up a few things at the gift shop on my way out, including a parchment scroll with the words (in George Washington's own handwriting) of the Inaugural address he gave. It began with the salutation,
"Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives..."
...and wrapped up with this paragraph:
"Having thus imparted to you my sentiments, as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave, but not without resorting once more to the benign parent of the human race, in humble supplication that since he has been pleased to further the American people with opportunities for deliberating on perfect tranquility and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of Government, for a security of their Union and the advancement of their happiness so this diverse blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views the temperate consultations and the best measures on which the success of this Government must depend."
I was able to travel to New York City recently and I took some video of where George Washington took the Oath of Office as our nation's first President on April 30th, 1789: