Welcome to Tatting Tea Tuesday. I started off the day with a cup of George’s Cherry Tree Tea, described as “China Tea Scented With Luscious Burgundy Cherries.” I picked it up on our vacation when we visited Mount Vernon, the home of our first president, George Washington. The cup belonged to my maternal grandmother; my mother gave to me a couple of years ago. This is the first time I’ve used it but it looked appropriate to use for this particular TTT. This tea has a definite scent and taste of cherries. I’m pretty hesitant to try new tastes sometimes, but today I took up my courage and tried it. It has a very nice taste. I am pleasantly surprised.
(Warning! I kept adding pictures!)
We visited Mount Vernon on July 5th. Talk about hot! This is a very busy time of year there – people were everywhere. There were long lines that snaked into other buildings before getting into the main house. They had people dressed in period costumes talking to the visitors in line, probably to keep them interested and entertained while they waited. The gentleman to the left was supposed to be George’s physician. The gentleman below was an upper-class servant. They were very interesting to talk to because they stayed very much in character. My daughter wasn’t quite sure how to be greeted in such a manner.
There are several rules you have to follow when you visit Mount Vernon: No chewing gum on the estate, no strollers in the main house, no pictures in the main house. The property is owned and run by The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association so they can have any rules they want and they do make sense when you think about them. They have done a wonderful job of furnishing the house with period pieces and returning the rooms to their original colors and uses (you wouldn’t believe some of the colors!). The property had deteriorated greatly after Washington’s death and before being sold to the Ladies’ Association. They’ve returned this to a working farm with animals and gardens and everything.
The building on the right of the main house is the kitchen. I took this picture standing in line waiting to tour the house. We had to go through a building that housed servants most of the time but sometimes guests (if they stayed for awhile) on our way to the main house. There was a line of people from us, through this small building, through the house and then exiting, with no gaps. We talked to people around us as well as the costumed characters. There was actually quite a few things to see before we reached this point. Then, before we entered the first building, we had to park the strollers to be picked up later. Un-costumed members of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association were along the route, explaining what each building and room were used for and which room belonged to which one of the family members.
Behind the buildings seen here (kitchen on the left, storehouse/clerks quarters on the right) there are a lot of other buildings – smokehouse, wash house, coach house, stables. Past those are the fruit garden and the nursery and then Washington’s tomb and the slave memorial.
After walking around looking at as many things as we could before the heat got to us we had lunch in the food court at the visitor’s center, then checked out the shops. They had some lovely things in the shops. It was hard to keep my money in my purse.
After we were fed, cooled off and wallets a little lighter, we were off to the distillery and gristmill, which are a couple of miles away. What amazed me about both the main grounds and this place is where they are located. They are located not very far out of Washington DC in the midst of residential areas. We drove the few miles over to where the gristmill and the distillery have been rebuilt in the locations they were originally. Neither are more than a few years old but built as close as possible to what they would have been in Washington’s time.
We started with the gristmill. Like the main house they have costumed characters here, but unlike at the house these people are the ones that describe what was done in here and how it was done. And unlike the house there are no restrictions about taking pictures. They actually started the water wheel and ground a little corn while we’re there.
In Washington’s time they made the corn meal for local use and very fine wheat flour that was shipped all over the world. There are lot of things I didn’t know about Washington that I learned here. Okay, there’s still a lot I don’t know.
My grandsons were fascinated with all the things going on. It was great to be able to let them touch things and let them down to walk once in awhile. Here are my daughters and their sons checking out where the corn hulls drop into a barrel after the corn has been ground. (A SIL is under the hat behind the kids.)
Then it was a short walk over to the distillery. The gristmill and the distillery share the mill race (a small stream) that once came from a mill pond. There is no longer a mill pond, houses being built up since Washington’s time, so it is a very small stream. Then this woman explained how whiskey used to be made here. It was a hot, hot job! They didn’t have anything brewing while we where there. They said they only made whiskey when it was cool as things just didn’t come out well when it was hot.
And there’s me, sitting on a grinding wheel outside the gristmill. We were so busy doing things I completely forgot to do this at the main house. I think I can still say that I have tatted at Mount Vernon.
There is actually tatting in this post as well, more than me doing a few stitches at Mount Vernon. I want to mention that the doily that I posted about last week did get a blue at the county fair(yea!). I don’t know what competition it had as it was not in a tatting category and mine was the only tatting entry, but it is still exciting. I’ll have to try to get something there next year as well.
This is what I’ve been working on since we got home from vacation. They aren’t showing up very well. These are glass tea candle holders that I have put tatting around. I’ve actually put beads on them! They look much better in person. I did have quite a time gluing the tatting down. It just looks like it’s on lopsided! I’ll have to work on that.
The shuttle in the picture is one I bought 10? 15? years ago. It is made of tulip wood by Dennis Hand. I’m not even sure if I picked this up in person or sent off for it. Strange how memory is. But it is a beautiful shuttle and it fit in with the theme of this post. The doily everything is sitting on was made by one of my neighbors as a gift. It makes a lovely backdrop.
I took a lot of pictures while we were on vacation. This is a warning that there will probably be more in the next few posts.
Until then, may all of you enjoy a little tea and a few minutes of tatting.