We got a surprise road trip to DC, just me and the kids! So I decided to swing by Friendship Hill and have a picnic on our way since we were passing through. Luckily, my oldest son got carsick so we ended up having to stay a couple hours while I cleaned the car and he got his sea legs back (well, car legs). This gave us plenty of time to tour the house and do the Junior Ranger badge! Once I finished all the gross tasks and fed the non vomitous children their lunches and shoved some animal crackers and water in to the vomiting one we trudged up the hill path towards the house. It is a lovely winding path and about half way up you’ll encounter this delightful bronze of Albert Gallatin. Best known for being Secretary of the Treasury for 13 years under both Madison and Jefferson. He funded the Louisana Purchase, Lewis and Clark’s Expedition AND BALANCED THE BUDGET! Can you believe it? I repeated those facts often as we later encountered Gallatin Street, some Sacagawea mentions, and a few other related points while in D.C. Every time I mentioned Albert Gallatin my kids looked at me blankly, so clearly we need to stop by again. In the junior ranger booklet and out of their minds! As we entered the home we were greeted by a friendly Ranger who handed over our booklets and led us back for a movie that was required viewing for Junior Rangers.
There were actually 2 short movies which were very informative. After the movies, while we were corralled in a non-historically restored room I thought it best to sit there and make our plan for the exhibit. As you can see to the left, having a kid in a non historical fireplace is less embarrassing then having him crush something priceless. The kids were able to complete most of the activities in the booklet from the movies. It’s a pretty neat house to walk through with distinct building techniques that made it interesting. There is one section of the floor that has plexiglass over it and you can see the different sub-floors. The house actually has 3 distinct parts, the original house and two additions that were built as Gallatin’s family, and wealth grew. While we toured there was also a flautist playing in the formal parlor. It added a nice ambiance.
There was a guided tour at the time we were there but alone with 3 kids I decided trying to wrangle them quietly enough was too much. YOU ARE WELCOME FELLOW VISITORS! We finished up our books and went to tour the grounds, which are beautiful. There are hiking trails around the grounds and the views are absolutely lovely. Unfortunately for Gallatin his civic duties kept him from being there much and his second wife disliked the country. With such a beautiful home in such a great location I can’t imagine wanting to leave.