This afternoon I drove down to Mount Vernon with three friends who are also over from England. It's the home of George Washington. I went there about 15 years ago and it seems to have changed almost out of all recognition. There is now a visitor centre, a museum and education centre, as well as the mansion to visit. The National Trust could learn a lot from how the Americans run tourist attractions. I am sure they do a fine job in some places, but I have to say the last time I visited Chartwell (home of Winston Churchill, near Sevenoaks), I was appalled at what it had been turned into. I vowed never to go back as they had totally ruined the ambiance of the place.
The views from Mount Vernon over the river are spectacular and it's really possible to imagine what it would have been like two hundred years ago. We also visited George Washington's mausoleum, which was very understated. It's a few hundred yards from the main house, housed in a brick building.