By George, We’re Going to Winchester 

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On February 11, 1731, George Washington was born in Virginia.  

Strike that. 

The British (and their colonies) were years late in adopting¹ the Gregorian calendar as most of the rest of Europe had, thus they were off on their dates. George Washington’s birthday was moved from February 11, 1731 to February 22, 1732. In 1879 Washington’s birthday (the February 22nd one) became an officially recognized United States holiday. Yet, not even that one stuck. In 1968 Congress decided certain federal holidays would occur on Mondays to create three-day weekends, so the recognition of Washington’s birthday was moved to the third Monday in February. We now know that as President’s Day. 

According to the National Archives, “neither Congress nor the President has ever stipulated that the name of the holiday observed as Washington’s Birthday be changed to ‘President’s Day.’”  

Reǵnier. Washington the Soldier. 1834.

Reǵnier. Washington the Soldier. 1834.

So what are you doing for your three-day President’s Day weekend? Let’s go to Winchester! 

From a small log cabin at what is now 32 West Court and Braddock Streets in Winchester, Col. George Washington of the Virginia Regiment led the construction of Fort Loudoun from September 1755 to December 1756. The cabin still stands today within the George Washington’s Office Museum. Unfortunately, Fort Loudoun, built for the French and Indian War, is no longer. However, you will see Washington’s Well and perhaps some archaeological investigation. One can never tell. 

 

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To see architecture from Washington’s time, head to Abram’s Delight (ca. 1754), Winchester’s oldest building. On its grounds you can also see the 18th Century Valley Cabin (ca. 1780) which was relocated from Cork Street. 

 

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On February 19 there will be celebrations in recognition of George Washington’s birthday. A visit to Fort Loudon from 2 to 5 p.m. will find a military muster. Carry on the festivities at Winchester Brew Works from 5 to 8 p.m. for a Fort Loudoun Lager. It’s inspired by Washington’s own recipes, and Washington himself may make an appearance. Just kidding. It’ll be a fantastic reenactor named Charles Harbaugh IV, the mayor of Middletown, Virginia. 

The George Washington Hotel. The Half Note Lounge.

The George Washington Hotel. The Half Note Lounge.

Turn in for the night at The George Washington Hotel, a gem in the Wyndham Grand crown that dates to 1924. After a $30 million restoration in the aughts, the hotel reopened in 2008 and found itself on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010. Indeed, the 20s have roared right back into fashion in Old Town Winchester. The Half Note Lounge is a great place to hang out for a drink and live entertainment each weekend. 

Consult VisitWinchesterVA.com for your trip planning needs.

¹Connecticut State Library. December 27, 2023. https://libguides.ctstatelibrary.org/hg/colonialresearch/calendar. Accessed February 4, 2024.

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