Hollywood… what’s the deal with those guys? And what are they smokin’ out there to stimulate the brain cells necessary to invent some of the ideas that we give blood at the box office to see? I mean really… If I didn’t know any better (and clearly I don’t) it’s as if everyone between Burbank and the Santa Monica Freeway are exercising their constitutional right to conduct controlled-substance quality control during a Grateful Dead tour.
Just consider these…
Ginormous reptiles on a rampage and raising hell with everyone and everything whilst eating the spleens out of every bugger* bigger than a breadbox?!
On second thought, it appears this scenario isn’t as far-fetched as one would think… especially if the Jurassic fossil record is to be believed. Of course, the “record” is considered pretty questionable, if not full-tilt flimsy evidence to many (in denial, that is).
Okay, how about an aircraft-carrier-sized chunk of space rock hurling toward our own blue orb hell-bent on making a big hole in a backyard near you?! (And I’m here to tell you that we’re talking about a REALLY big hole.)
Alright, my bad… it seems that something along those lines actually did happen just recently. And while we didn’t end-up seeing the business end of that missile, I’m reasonably sure that its near miss, or near hit as it were, had absolutely nothing to do with Bruce Willis stepping it up.
Closer to home, how about a scavenger hunt leading to Cibola, the fabled city of gold, courtesy of an overseas replica of the Statue of Liberty, a 19th century ice-bound British ship destined to become furniture, and secret passages beneath Mount Vernon–the house of President #1–and presenting the ideal opportunity to kidnap another President of the United States during his birthday party.
Such are some of the components of the second film in the National Treasure franchise (National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, and no, I’m not even touching “the book”). And, as it turns out–with the exception of a city of gold that is best discussed through the bottom of a grappa bottle–these bits aren’t as “out there” as they might seem.
There is a replica of the Statue of Liberty in Paris (as well as other locations), the HMS Resolute did, in fact, become furniture, and there are secret “tunnels” beneath the Mount Vernon estate.
Located in Northern Virginia just 16-miles south of Arlington (18-miles south of DC), Mount Vernon represents both a pleasant daytrip and a veritable treasure trove of American History. Magnificently perched overlooking the Potomac River, and George Washington’s home for most of his adult life, Mount Vernon has been restored to reflect its condition when he died in 1799. The mansion and estate are open 365 days a year and easily accessible via public and private transport.
Once a working plantation, a visit to Mount Vernon today will reveal a dozen original structures, restored gardens, demonstrations focused on Washington’s farming operations, and a broad sweep of presentations, artifacts, and tours all aimed at helping you “connect the dots” for yourself. You may even get a sense of the big man, himself, lurking about as the estate is also home to Washington’s tomb.
Heck, there’s even a restaurant and restrooms. What else could you possibly need?
And, just down the road a few miles is Washington’s Distillery and Gristmill, a popular site for staffers to blow off steam during the odd 18th century spring break–or so it’s said! Some things never change.
But, as alluded to, there are aspects of the estate that represent roads-less-traveled, despite being highly popularized by Hollywood–i.e. secret underground passages. Yes, some semblance of these subterranean digs actually exist but have only been accessible to a very few over the years. The estate now, however, offers a National Treasure Tour during which you can take an hour-long walk featuring a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the filming of “National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets” and why those areas were built to begin with.
While you won’t find any cornerstone-triggered secret doors leading to a labyrinthine of tunnels, it doesn’t take a Hollywood genius to figure out where screenwriters got their ideas. But, all in all, it’s very cool… especially if you’re a fan of the film franchise.
Just remember: Dig it…but don’t bury it.
In the meantime, we’ll wait for Hollywood to come up with an original idea or two for a change.
For more information on the whole program, visit Mount Vernon’s official website, a terrific resource for information “all things Mount Vernon.”
* No, don’t get your undies in a twist. According to Merriam-Webster a BUGGER is defined as a small or annoying thing “…put down my keys and now I can’t find the buggers.”