Candlelight Christmas tours at Mount Vernon delight for a decade

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 Washingtons,” 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.”

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