A look at the daily routine of George Washington, who drank tea and wine and spent hours on horseback

Wikimedia CommonsHe drank a lot of tea.
  • George Washington was the first president of the US.
  • He’s widely-regarded as the father of the country.
  • Here’s a look at the typical schedule he stuck to when he was at his Mount Vernon plantation.

George Washington is widely regarded as the father of the United States.

It’s not surprising why. Not only did the general-turned-president ensure the survival of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, he also laid down a number of massively important precedents in his two terms as US president.

So how did he spend his days? Well, that likely varied a bit when he was commanding his army from 1775 to 1783. And, as it turns out, we know a bit more about the breakdown of his daily schedule when he resided at Mount Vernon, his estate on the banks of the Potomac River.

Here’s a breakdown of how a day in the life of George Washington unfolded at Mount Vernon:


In a letter to his grandson, Washington acknowledged that an early wake-up could be “irksome.”

William Thomas Cain / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: “George Washington: The Man of the Age


Still, he added that “… the practice will produce a rich harvest forever thereafter.”

Source: “George Washington: The Man of the Age


Washington himself awoke early, frequently rising at dawn. He would start off his day with a meal of three small cornmeal cakes and three cups of tea, without cream.

Kathy Burns/Shutterstock

Source: “George Washington’s Leadership Lessons: What the Father of Our Country Can Teach Us About Effective Leadership and Character


He would also bathe, shave, and have his hair brushed by Will Lee, his enslaved valet. When Washington died in 1799, the enslaved population of Mount Vernon was 317.

Source: “George Washington: First in War, First in Peace,” Mount Vernon


Washington would then saddle up and ride around his 8,000-acre estate on horseback.

Source: Mount Vernon


He would return home around 7 a.m. to eat breakfast with his family and any guests who had stopped by the estate.

Source: Mount Vernon, “George Washington: First in War, First in Peace


According to historian James A. Crutchfield, the Washingtons entertained hundreds of visitors every year.

Source: “George Washington: First in War, First in Peace,” “George Washington’s Leadership Lessons: What the Father of Our Country Can Teach Us About Effective Leadership and Character


Washington would also spend time in the morning catching up reading newspapers and magazines.

Hulton Archive / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: Mount Vernon, “George Washington: The Man of the Age


Washington wasn’t a big eater, although he did enjoy a glass of Madeira wine with dinner. After his main meal of the day, he would continue riding around his estate.

Nathanael Dori/Shutterstock

Source: Moland House Historic Park, Mount Vernon, “George Washington: The Man of the Age


At Mount Vernon, dinner took place at 2 p.m. The first president would prepare for the dinner by changing and powdering his hair.

Source: Mount Vernon


Topics of conversation typically focused on agriculture, as well as current events. As an afternoon snack, he would indulge in a glass of punch, a draught of beer, and two cups of tea.

Source: “George Washington: First in War, First in Peace,” Mount Vernon


He spent at least part of his day writing. According to Crutchfield, he was a prolific writer, authoring 20,000 letters.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Source: “George Washington: First in War, First in Peace,”

Moland House Historic Park


According to historian John P. Kaminski, Washington would have tea with guests at 7 p.m.

Source: “George Washington: The Man of the Age


During the Revolutionary War, Washington’s habits understandably varied a bit. If he had a free moment in the evening, he would relax with his aides, drinking Madeira wine and snacking on nuts, cheese, and bread.

Vasiliy Koval / Shutterstock

Source: Moland House Historic Park


Dubious signs boasting that “George Washington slept here” have long been a common occurrence at historical buildings throughout the East Coast. But when it came to the man’s sleeping habits, he seemed to adhere to the “early to bed, early to rise” advice of his fellow Founding Father Benjamin Franklin.

Three Lions / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: Smithsonian, The New York Times


Washington preferred not to idle away the evening with his guests. And 9 p.m., he would retire to bed, and “read and write until the candle burned low.”

Jonas Santoz/Shutterstock

Source: “George Washington: The Man of the Age

NOW WATCH: Ideas videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.