Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas at George Washington's Mount Vernon Plantation


As reported by the Washington Times, "Get Out: Christmas at Mount Vernon," by Samantha Sault, on 22 November 2012  --  There’s no better place across the nation’s capital to get in the holiday spirit than the lavishly decorated Mount Vernon, George Washington’s expansive estate on the Potomac River. George and Martha knew how to celebrate the holidays — in 1787, in fact, the soon-to-be president surprised his guests with a live exotic camel for the Christmas festivities. Starting Friday, Mount Vernon continues the Washington’ holiday traditions with festive celebrations through January — and yes, Mount Vernon’s resident camel, Aladdin, will be in attendance. The mansion will be decorated with a dozen Christmas trees and hand-cut greenery, providing the perfect backdrop for Colonial Christmas activities, including character-led tours of the home, storytelling, chocolate-making demonstrations, and 18th-century dancing and music. The estate also boasts more special guests on the grounds: recently pardoned national Thanksgiving turkeys. Visit the gift shop for unique holiday gifts, or enjoy dinner by the fire at the Mount Vernon Inn after the candlelit evening programs. Through Jan. 6 at Historic Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Alexandria. Phone: 703/780-2000. Web: christmas” href=”http://www.mountvernon.org/christmas” target=”_blank”>www.mountvernon.org/christmas.  (source: Washington Times)

As reported by WTOP, "Candlelight Christmas tours at Mount Vernon delight for a decade, by Kathy Stewart, on 1 December 2013  -- WASHINGTON - Mount Vernon has been offering the popular candlelit tours of the mansion for 10 Christmas holidays now, and spokeswoman Melissa Wood calls the tour a special experience.

"We ask visitors to take a step back in time and learn more about what the holidays would have been like in 1798 at a presidential home. You sort of get the feeling of what it would have been like walking on the estate as one of the Washington's," she says.

Wood says visitors hear stories of how the Washington family celebrated the holiday.

"This is the only time of year that you can tour the mansion and meet characters from George Washington's world in costumes," she says.

Characters include Martha Washington and Nelly Custis, Martha's granddaughter and George's step-granddaughter, who lived at Mount Vernon.

Wood says visitors love talking to Martha Washington: "They love learning more about her life, what she's doing to get ready for the holidays. And they always love taking home her great cake recipe. She seems to be the highlight of the tour."

The tours are offered Dec. 1, and from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 7 to 22. The tickets are different from regular admission to Mount Vernon - $22 for adults and $15 for children 11 and under.

Wood strongly suggests that people reserve tickets in advance: "When you go to our website to purchase a ticket you can select a timed ticket. That will give you a specific time you can be inside the mansion." (source: WTOP)

From the Mount Vernon website, "Christmas at Mount Vernon," --  Mount Vernon decks the halls throughout the estate with themed Christmas trees and festive holiday touches. Traditional boughs of hand-cut greenery will adorn doorways in the Mansion, which will be staged with an elaborate holiday course in the formal dining room.

Each Christmas, Mount Vernon welcomes special guests including Aladdin the Camel. In 1787 George Washington paid 18 shillings to bring a camel to Mount Vernon to delight his visitors. In recent years, Mount Vernon has also proudly displayed the National Thanksgiving Turkey after its official "presidential pardoning" at the White House.

Holiday visitors will also enjoy extra daytime treats. Tour the rarely-open third floor of the Mansion, where Martha Washington retired after her husband's death and learn how chocolate was made in the 18th century with live demonstrations. (Mount Vernon)

CLICK HERE for More Information: Tickets to Mount Vernon Daytime Admissions


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