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Mount Vernon replica celebrates grand opening

George Washington, the first president of the United States, set an example for leaders following in his footsteps. He is remembered as a courageous man with great personal integrity and a deep sense of duty, honor and patriotism.

For Dan and Janet Abbott, owners of the George Washington Inn, the former president is the inspiration behind their recently opened Sequim-Dungeness bed and breakfast.

"(The) George Washington Inn was established with an enduring commitment to live up to the integrity and respect that the name commands," Dan Abbott said during the business's grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony Presidents Day weekend. "Our desire is that you will be refreshed and inspired by our Creator's incredible handiwork in the surrounding ocean and mountain views and discover a unique bed and breakfast inn on Washington's Olympic Peninsula."

The Abbotts relocated from South Carolina to build and manage the Mount Vernon-inspired inn. They purchased five acres in 2002 after reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about Sequim and later bought an additional five acres to open the bed and breakfast.

"This is something I think people can enjoy as much as we can," Dan Abbott said. "This is where I want to be and where I plan to spend the rest of my life. George Washington's faith is something that should be proclaimed (and) that is our desire."

While the floor plan is not an exact replica of the founding father's home, the exterior is almost identical. The only obvious differences are an outdoor patio that was added on the second floor and the front drive-through entrance with pillars. The downstairs portion of the home serves as living quarters for the Abbotts and the upstairs contains four guest suites: the Presidential and General's suites and the Surveyor's and Mount Vernon retreat rooms.

"A project of this size has taken a great deal of hard work and sacrifice. Of particular note, two of our crew, Peter Smith, our main carpenter, and Jack Biggs, our main plumber, have been battling cancer and have been great examples of determination and fortitude," Dan Abbott shared with the crowd, his voice quivering with emotion. "We also want to thank all of the county officials, subcontractors and their workers who had a vital part in the inn's permit process and construction. We are very grateful for the safety of our workers through the entire construction process. Their efforts and diligence have made the George Washington Inn into what you see here today and we thank them," he credited.

"As owners, we desire to make (the) George Washington Inn a window to showcase the faith of our nation's founding father George Washington," Dan Abbott continued, his wife standing beside him. "Because of one man's commitment to God and to his country, we can enjoy the freedom and opportunities that we have today."

The Finn Hall Road property has a history of its own. A depression in the ground not far from the inn served as a machine gun nest during World War II to guard against the Japanese, according to John Jarvis, a neighbor to the Abbotts and Sequim resident since 1931, during a January 2007 interview with the Sequim Gazette. At one time it was a 40-acre farm, Jarvis said, and the road was named "Finn Hall" because the majority of residents originated from Finland.

"Thanks again for coming today," Dan Abbott concluded before cutting the symbolic red ribbon with oversized scissors. "We hope you will become a goodwill ambassador of the inn as you encourage your friends and family to discover a new destination on our wonderful peninsula."

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