• Credit: Mount Vernon Ladies Association

George Washington was a man of many identities—surveyor, military leader, Founding Father, and farmer. But he also harbored a keen interest in design and construction, which he explored with the transformation of Mount Vernon, his family's home on the Potomac River. Serving as the project's overall architect and builder, he undertook two major renovations that included the substantial enlargement of the main house as well as the addition of its two most recognizable features, a double-height riverfront piazza and a rooftop cupola. Replicated in countless subsequent homes and public buildings, the piazza acts as a graceful connector between indoors and out. And the weathervane-topped cupola's operable windows draw cooling breezes through the interior of the house. Mount Vernon has been restored to the way it looked in 1799, the year of Washington's death. It's open for tours every day of the year; for more information, visit www.mountvernon.org.