There are so many great ways to celebrate the holidays in the Baltimore, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. areas including a variety of cultural events and opportunities to learn about Christmas celebrations of long ago. Check out our blog next week for a list of great holiday events. Today, we will be focusing on Christmas in the late 1700s. Take a step back in time and celebrate the holiday season from 215 years ago at Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon is the home of George Washington, our first president and his family. The estate is decorated for the season with themed Christmas trees (displayed in the education center) and festive holiday greenery throughout the mansion. The formal dining room is set for an elaborate multiple course holiday meal. The home and grounds are decorated to celebrate Christmas in 1799.
Holiday Special Events
Mount Vernon hosts daily special events from November 29th to December 22nd. There are also candlelight tours of the estate held from 5pm to 8pm on the weekends where you can hear stories of holidays past from re-enactors. The third floor of the mansion is opened during the holiday season. Martha Washington retired to living on this floor after President Washington passed away. It is only open for the holidays and special occasions. The many other special events include 18th century storytelling, re-enactors, local musical groups and entertainers and hands-on history crafts, including learning how chocolate was made in the 18th century. You can also see gingerbread houses made by children from Fort Belvoir Elementary School. To top of your visit to Mount Vernon, you can see the “pardoned” National Turkey and Aladdin, the camel. Why a camel? In 1787, President Washington paid 18 shillings for a camel to be brought to Mount Vernon to entertain his guests!
About Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon is maintained in trust by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization founded in 1853. It is the oldest national historic preservation organization in the United States. Mount Vernon is the most popular historic estate in American with over 1 million guests per year. and 80 million total visitors since its official opening to the public in 1860. The original estate was over 5,000 acres. The Association was able to save 500 acres which consists of George Washington’s mansion and other original structures, including a distillery and gristmill, the tombs of George and Martha Washington, a memorial for the slaves who worked and lived on the estate, the Ford Orientation Center and the Donald W. Reynolds Museum & Education Center. Mount Vernon is run on the revenue from retail and dining experiences on the grounds, facility ticket sales and private and corporate donations. A visit to Mount Vernon is a must for any visitor to the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Baltimore areas. Enjoy reliving history at Mount Vernon and see how Christmas was celebrated at the dawn of a new nation.