Where to Dine at Mount Vernon -- At the traffic circle outside the main gate, the charming Mount Vernon Inn (tel. 703/780-0011) serves some of the Colonial-style fare George and Martha provided their guests. It's moderately priced, and the atmosphere is great -- period furnishings, working fireplaces, waitstaff in 18th-century costumes. Lunch is first-come, first-served, but reservations are highly recommended at dinner (if for no other reason than to find out if the inn is closed for a wedding reception or other event). Lunch is served daily except Christmas from 11am to 3:30pm. Dinner hours are Monday through Thursday from 5 to 8:30pm, Friday and Saturday from 5 to 9pm. Next door, the inexpensive, mall-style Mount Vernon Food Court is open from 9:30am to 5:30pm. Both are closed on Christmas. They accept American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa.

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