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Photo Essay: Christmas at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate Special

By Leigh Goessl     Dec 28, 2012 in Travel
Mount Vernon - Over the past several weeks things have gotten festive at Mount Vernon, George Washington's Estate, Museum & Gardens. The historic property is decorated for Christmas as visitors experience a taste of 18th century holiday celebrating.
Mount Vernon, the estate of General and Mrs. George Washington, is open year-round, but the holidays are a special time to pay a visit as the property dresses up to celebrate an 18th Century style Christmas.
Throughout the holiday season, different events and displays have been offered including candlelight tours, chocolate making, and the annual appearance of Aladdin, the Christmas camel. Additionally, during the holidays visitors get to experience a special viewing of the mansion's third floor where Mrs. Washington moved her private quarters to after the General's death (the third floor is closed to the public the rest of the year).
Walking through the property, visitors can get an idea of how the Washingtons lived and also how they celebrated and decorated for Christmas.
Back in the late 1700s, the decorations were simple, with greens placed throughout the house, there were no Christmas trees or other bright decorations as one would see today. The emphasis was likely more on the foods prepared.
While no photography is allowed in the mansion, visitors touring Mount Vernon could see how a Christmas dessert table was set up in the formal dining room. Additionally, the house is set up a bit differently than one would normally see during the rest of the year as the rooms in the Washington home reflect how the space would have been set up for overnight guests.
While brightly colored decorations and Christmas trees were not a custom of the era and are not represented in the mansion, this doesn't mean the rest of the property wasn't all dressed up. Throughout the visitor's entrance, education center/museum lobby, and gift shop areas, many festive Christmas trees can be seen.
In addition, the lobby that leads to the museum and education center is also hosting a set of gingerbread houses that were constructed by a local school's girls' club.
Mount Vernon is a lovely visit any time of the year, and many visitors do come during the holidays to experience a taste of 18th Century holiday celebrations. Mount Vernon will feature its Christmas displays and events until Jan. 6.
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