Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mount Vernon's Secret Tunnel

Life imitates art once again. The National Parks Service has opened the "secret tunnel" under George Washington's estate, Mount Vernon, after it was depicted in National Treasure: Book Of Secrets.

History buffs have another reason to head to Mount Vernon soon: The cellar where Nicolas Cage kidnaps the president in “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” is open for the curious to inspect.
The decision to open the basement to public tours was made when Mount Vernon staffers saw the movie.

“When we saw what a pivotal scene it was, we knew the public would want to know about the secret tunnel,” said Emily Coleman Dibella, Mount Vernon’s director of public affairs. “For those of us who love history so much, it’s great to see it up on the big screen in such an exciting way.”

The decision was a popular one. Visitor numbers for a mid-January weekend were up nearly 300 percent over a typical second weekend in January, Dibella said. If interest remains high, the basement might be opened to the public again. For now it will be open weekends through Feb. 10.

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