For the Gadling series “World Heritage Site new “Tentative List”: Places to Love” we are covering the 14 sites that have been submitted for possible inclusion as an official World Heritage Site in the United States. The sites will not be posted in order of importance or in the order they appear on the list.
Name of site: Mt. Vernon
Reason for importance (in a nutshell): More than just the estate of the first US president, Mt. Vernon “form[s] a remarkably well-preserved and extensively documented example of a plantation landscape of the 18th-century American South, based on English models but modified and adapted to the American context.” Sprawling along the Potomac River are 16 surviving structures — including the depressing slave quarters — and meticulously maintained gardens.
Catherine’s take: What draws me to this piece of history is the plantation lifestyle preservation — namely, that it makes the practice of slavery more tangible. Sure, you can read what slavery was about, but actually visiting and seeing the geography of a plantation with slave quarters, kitchens and stables makes it all that more real to us in the 21st century.