Thursday, June 8, 2017

Felicity Attends Revolutionary War Weekend at Mount Vernon

A weekend you won't want to miss!

Last month, two of my friends and I packed up and drove to Mount Vernon for Revolutionary War Weekend! It's a two day long event with reenactors (American and British), historically inspired vendors, special exhibits, and a battle reenactment. Mount Vernon is always worth a visit, but I'm especially excited to share a few photos of our time there last month.

(Unfortunately, one of the reasons this post has taken me a long time to write is I'm so fed up of using my phone to take pictures! But fortunately I am in possession of a new camera, and hopefully will get to break that out soon. Please bear with these less than ideal photos!)

An extra treat was getting to meet some representatives from the brand new Museum oft the American Revolution! Got any ideas about what they might have brought with them to show visitors?

Mount Vernon has a lot of open green space on its property, which means it's ideal for an event like this. The indoor exhibits were crowded and the visitor's center was a bit of a nightmare the entire time we were there, but the wide open spaces absorbed the crowds really nicely. Reenactors had set up tents around and in front of the house, and most of the vendors and pop up exhibits were stationed right in front of the house.

They had tents spotlighting certain themes of the period like medical practices, complete with docents in period costume to help educate you about the artifacts they had on display. The reenactors wandered freely through the camp sites and were very open to chatting about their equipment and life during the Revolutionary War.

One of the vendors we were sure to visit was Crown Point Bread. (Guess why!) This bakery had loaves of bread and cookies on sale, as well as slices of bread served with ham and/or cheese. Definitely a fun snack to munch on while exploring the grounds, and I can never say no to a cookie.

Apparently neither can Felicity.

I was a tiny bit disappointed with some of the other vendors. I’ve been to Civil War reenactments where vendors are selling almost any article of clothing from the period you could ever want, and I’m always looking to add pieces to my own colonial ensemble. What they were selling was cool, but it was a lot of very DIY heavy equipment, and as someone who can barely has the patience to sew a seam properly (10 points if you can ID the AG production that’s referencing!), that’s not for me.

I’m on the market for a straw hat to wear over my round eared cap, and I was hoping to pick one up here. Alas, I guess I’ll need to wait for my next trip to Williamsburg to complete that mission.

While exploring the grounds, we did get to take in the beautiful gardens, and also had a meeting with Mr. Washington’s personal secretary! He gave us advice on how to greet the Washingtons if we were to meet them, as well as general life advice like being kind to your parents.

One of the best displays they had at the event was a replica of George Washington’s command tent, which was brought by the representatives from the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. The museum just opened this year and looks pretty darn cool. I’m definitely champing at the bit to find a way up there one weekend to get a good look. 

The tent was set up right in front of the house, which while not historically accurate still made for a cool visual. The museum reps explained how the different chambers of the tent worked to trap heat in cooler weather, and then how they could be readjusted to let air pass more freely when it was warmer. The museum has a historical example of the tent on display in their exhibits.

They were also distributing flags, which I was happy to receive. It’s the one Felicity is holding in the first image in this post! I’m sure it doesn’t look familiar to a lot of you – the “Betsy Ross” style flag is definitely more iconic – but the museum has chosen this flag for use in their marketing and logos because it’s George Washington’s headquarters flag! The original flag is believed to be the earliest flag depicting the thirteen colonies as stars. Pretty cool, right?

The big draw for the day was the battle reenactment, which I had to admit I was curious to see. Despite coming from a state far removed from the blood and gore of Civil War battlefields, I have seen a lot of Civil War battle reenactments back home, and none of any other war, even though we saw a fair amount of violent stuff during the early days of US history! I know one town did something for the War of 1812, but I was out of state and only found out about it months later anyway. (Not that that’s stopped me from being bummed out about it!)

It turns out – as I assumed it would – Revolutionary War battle reenactments are not that much different from Civil War reenactments. The uniforms and equipment might be different, but the general experience, look and feel is the same from an audience member point of view.

Unfortunately we were near the British side of the battlefield, so I didn’t get a lot of pictures of our brave Continentals, but the Redcoats did look impressive in their uniforms! 

Now, of course there was no battle fought on George Washington’s front lawn, and unlike some Civil War reenactments I’ve seen, these regiments were not looking to perfectly recreate a particular battle. It was a good general overview for what fighting during the Revolution might have been like, and was narrated by one of the reenactors to help give visitors a sense of what was happening. The battle got a little bit corny at times – the Continentals eventually overwhelmed the British and managed to dramatically decimate a whole line of Redcoats at the end of the engagement – but it was fun to watch and cheer on the colonial troops.

After the battle, you were supposed to be able to have a chance to meet with General Washington, but he was busy talking to his troops and didn’t seem to be standing for photo ops with guests. You’ll have to make do with these stalker photos I snapped instead.

And that was Revolutionary War Weekend! I had a lot of fun, and hopefully my friends did too. We were really lucky it was a nice day to be outside too, as the weather that weekend was a little bit iffy to start off with.

If you’re interested in attending Revolutionary War Weekend, it’s an annual event and tickets are apparently already on sale for next year! Go to Mount Vernon’s website to find out more, or just pencil in the first weekend in May in your calendar and get ready for some colonial fun. 

Special thanks to Elizabeth and Matt for coming with me, driving and helping out with doll photos, and a super special shout out to Scott for helping us get tickets!

Maybe next year we'll get an audience with the General!


  1. Oh wow, this sounds right up my alley! Thanks for sharing this.

    1. No problem! Hope you get a chance to go sometime. :D

  2. Is the model of the house back yet? We made it down for my birthday (May 2) but alas, it was still back in the Philly area for repairs. They told me to tell the repairman to hurry it up but didn't give a name or I would have!

    1. It wasn't there when we were there, but it might be at this point! The model is so cool, I was definitely bummed not to see it when we were there for Revolutionary War Weekend. Talk about a good photo op for Felicity.