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George W., sister have birthday tea
George Washington's foundational days in the Fredericksburg region are recalled in weekend events

 George Washington and Betty Washington Lewis talk about foreign trade, national debt and veterans' affairs.
CHRISTOPHER WEHLING/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 2/18/2008

By PAMELA GOULD

More than two centuries have passed but the issues sound remarkably similar.

Over tea with his sister, Betty Washington Lewis, at Historic Kenmore, the nation's first "George W." expressed concerns yesterday about cooperation among members of Congress, the nation's debt, foreign trade and looking out for the country's veterans.

In a chat that was to have taken place in 1784, shortly after the end of his service in the Revolutionary War and before he would be urged to become the nation's first president, Gen. George Washington spoke of the need for integrity and for the nation's citizens to make sacrifices and to persevere.

As part of the 276th anniversary of George Washington's birth, Historic Kenmore hosted about three dozen people for tea with Washington and his sister yesterday afternoon.

The tea was the focal point of the second of three days of festivities hosted by George Washington's Fredericksburg Foundation.

Saturday afternoon, about 90 people attempted to toss a stone across the Rappahannock River to replicate a feat that, legend has it, the young Washington did while living at Ferry Farm in southern Stafford County.

None succeeded.

That day began with breakfast with the nation's first president.

Both Presidents Day weekend events featured historic interpreter Greg Fisher of Woodbridge depicting the region's native son. Susan Bailey of King George County served as yesterday's interpreter for Betty Washington Lewis.

Cindy Pedigo and daughter Kelly of south Stafford were taking part in all three days of Washington festivities.

The family moved from Illinois, "the land of Lincoln," last summer so it was only fitting, they said, to now learn about Washington.

The pair attended the breakfast Saturday, brought friend Anna Bowles to tea at Kenmore yesterday, and planned to return to Ferry Farm today for games and birthday cake.

"I think it was very fun and I think I learned a little bit more about history," said Anna, a fourth-grader at Lafayette Upper Elementary School in Fredericksburg.

Fredericksburg resident Donna Hylton brought her granddaughter, Caroline Garman of Ashburn, to yesterday's tea.

"I thoroughly enjoyed it," Hylton said. "The ones portraying George and Betty are very well-informed."

The timing was perfect for 9-year-old Caroline who plans to use the experience to help with her own upcoming historical interpretation.

"I'm in a play," she said. "I'm going to be Martha Washington."

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972
Email: pgould@freelancestar.com


WHAT: George Washington's Fredericksburg Foundation is offering free admission today at both Historic Kenmore and George Washington's boyhood home at Ferry Farm.

WHEN: Historic Kenmore, 1201 Washington Ave., Fredericksburg, is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (kenmore.org)

WHERE: George Washington's Ferry Farm, 268 Kings Highway, Stafford, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will have Colonial games from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and birthday cake and cherry tarts as long as supplies last. (ferryfarm.org)