Historic Huntley has Secrets for the Trained Eye and Ears in Mount Vernon

Lesser visited Mount Vernon site offers special view of the Hybla Valley.

In the early 1800s there was a cat roaming around the grounds of the Huntley Mansion when it was being built, and it stepped on a wet brick, leaving a paw print that was discovered years later. From the front porch of the mansion, the view goes across Hybla Valley to the site of George Mason’s residence at Gunston Hall so Thompson Francis Mason, the grandson of George Mason, could see each other, they say.

Fast forward about 200 years and this historic house was the residence of Col. Ransom Amlong until 1976, and his son lived in the smaller building until sometime in the 1980s before the Park Authority took over.

These historical tidbits of information are part of the mystique in this Mount Vernon historical site that sits quietly on a hillside of Harrison Avenue. Patricia Young, a nearby resident and volunteer, helps with the tour of Huntley and serves high tea to those who show up for that part of the Huntley experience. On the front porch, she looked out at the view which is now dominated by trees and houses. “They used to see the river, this was all farmland,” Young said.

The main house has four bedrooms, each with a fireplace because that’s how it was warmed in those days, and a separate ice storage area where 20 tons of ice was stored. The ice was harvested off the Potomac River and nearby creeks in winter back when they regularly froze over during the winter.

At teatime, Young serves “scones and clotted cream, which is cream that comes from the best cows,” she said. Clotted cream is made from “little clots of cream that start to rise to the top,” she noted that it is still sold in some grocery stores for those looking for the authentic experience.

Young got her start as a teacher at Groveton Elementary School where she turned her love of local history into an activity for the students who could put their efforts as part of the “historian’s group,” at school.

Historic Huntley

6918 Harrison Lane




Log in to comment