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Mount Vernon was the beloved home of George and Martha Washington from the time of their marriage in 1759 until General Washington's death in 1799. He worked tirelessly to expand his plantation from 2,000 acres to 8,000 and the mansion house from six rooms to twenty-one.
The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association purchased Mount Vernon from the Washington family in 1858 and opened the estate to the public in 1860. Since that time, nearly 80 million visitors have toured Washington's home. Mount Vernon is independent of the government and no tax dollars are expended to support the 500-acre estate, its educational programs or activities.
Visitors are invited to tour the Mansion house and more than a dozen outbuildings including the slave quarters, kitchen, stables and greenhouse. Stroll four different gardens, hike the Forest Trail and explore the George Washington: Pioneer Farmer site, a four-acre working farm that includes a recreation of Washington's 16-sided treading barn. The George Washington Museum and the Archaeology & Restoration Museum are open daily, in addition to a variety of seasonal walking tours and special activities. George and Martha Washington rest in peace in the tomb where wreath-laying ceremonies are held daily.
Image by Klaas Lingbeek-van Kranen, iStockphoto. When George Washington lived here, Mount Vernon was an 8,000-acre plantation divided into five farms. Each farm was a complete unit, with its own overseers, work force of slaves, livestock, equipment, and buildings. (original image)
Image by Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. Edward Savage painted this portrait of Mount Vernon in 1792. (original image)
Especially for the Holidays:
Mount Vernon by Candlelight
November 24 (sold out), 25 (sold out) & 26
December 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 & 10
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Martha Washington hosts an 18th-century Christmas with candlelit walks, fireside caroling and festive decor. Visitors learn about the Washingtons' Christmas traditions; tour the candlelit Mansion including the rarely-seen third floor; and meet historical characters.
Holidays at Mount Vernon
December 1 - January 6
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
The third floor of the Mansion is open only during the Holidays at Mount Vernon. See the beautifully refurbished garret bedchamber occupied by Martha Washington after her husband's death. You'll also see the Mansion decorated for holiday festivities and will hear stories of how the Washingtons celebrated Christmas.
Over the centuries, a succession of empires—Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and, finally, Ottoman—ruled over the city of Ephesus. Yet no matter how many times it changed hands, the city remained one of the most vibrant metropolises of the ancient world. Located on Turkey's western coast, nearly 300,000 people lived there at its height, in the second century A.D. Its busy seaport ferried goods from Asia to Greece, Italy and beyond.
Ephesus' greatest claim to fame was its temple to the goddess Artemis. One of the "seven wonders" of the ancient world, it was almost four times larger than the Parthenon in Athens. According to the New Testament, the Apostle Paul preached in Ephesus, prompting a riot led by silversmiths who crafted shrines to the goddess and feared for both their livelihoods and the future of the temple.
Today, a few columns are all that remain of the temple. But there is still much to see that evokes the city's former splendor. A three-tiered theater, built into the slope of a hill, once seated 25,000. Just outside the city stands the Church of Saint John, built in the fourth century over the evangelist's presumed tomb and expanded into a basilica some 200 years later.
Jodi Magness, an archaeologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who has visited Ephesus more than a dozen times, says the city "is almost like a snapshot in time. You get the sense of what walking down the street of a Roman city was like without having to use your own imagination."
Editor's note, May 7, 2010: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect photograph for Ephesus. The page has been updated
The map above, created by our partners at Esri, offers a fresh look at Brazil, with satellite photos of the stadiums of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and a selection of just a few of the places beyond the stadiums that make each region special. These sites include museums, memorials, beaches and other destinations worth traveling to. Scroll through the map to discover each of the 12 cities where the 64 matches are being played.
The Amazon rain forest covers more than two million square miles of the earth's surface, spanning eight South American countries. Although the region has no seasons, the Amazon River rises and falls by as much as 30 feet during the year, and the variety of living things one can see changes with it. Every journey reveals new wonders.
More than a third of the world's species—mostly plants and insects—make their home in the rain forest. But with the help of an experienced guide, you can also glimpse a rainbow of exotic creatures that includes toucans, red deer and pink dolphins. The astonishment and beauty of the Amazon lie "in the intricacy of this fabulously complex ecosystem," says Roger Harris, co-author of The Amazon: The Bradt Travel Guide.
Most travelers visit the western areas of the rain forest that remain largely untouched, such as the Loreto region of Peru, so they may not notice that the ecosystem is under siege. Already 20 percent of the forest has been cut down for timber or burned to make way for farms, with thousands more acres disappearing each day. "I've seen areas along the river where it's been beautiful, pristine forest one year, and the next it's been clearcut," says Harris. "That's pretty hard to take."