I had the opportunity to be one of the last people to see one of these trees and its engravings. Recently fallen due to a storm, the tree rested horizontally near the road, and if a person knew where to look, more of the carvings could be found in its bark. In the couple of weeks following my visit, the tree was cut up to be used for special projects at Mount Vernon. The star and cross carvings were rescued to be preserved.
According to one article, the fallen tree is one of three that were known to carry these carvings, with only one still standing - presumably the one in my blurry photos in the lower left corner of this set:
Also on our little exhibition through the humid Virginia air, we stood on the outskirts of the behind-the-scenes operations at Mount Vernon. In the midst of greenhouses, equipment storage, and a brickyard, stands the tree in the lower right corner of the photos above. Norton informed some of our group that this tree is from 1706 (That information is hearsay for me, but it didn't stop me from taking a picture before the sky grew to dark.).
The far-away view of the mansion from the West Gate is similar to the same view visitors would have encountered when visiting the Washingtons. Pictures do not do justice to the distance at which they have been taken. Washington gave great thought to the view when designing the driveway approaching it and trimming the vegetation just so. There is little doubt that he wanted every step of the approach to evoke feelings of superior status to visitors.