You must set your browser to enable Javascript in order to access certain functions of this site, including the purchase of tickets.

Christmas Camel and Former White House Pastry Chef Return for “Christmas at Mount Vernon” Special Event

Wed, 10/20/2010

For Immediate Release
Digital images available

Media Contact:
Melissa Wood (703) 799-5203

Christmas Camel and Former White House Pastry Chef Return for “Christmas at Mount Vernon” Special Event

November 26, 2010 - January 6, 2011  (daily, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)


MOUNT VERNON, Va. – After last year’s successful new event, Mount Vernon is again joyfully decking the halls for Christmas at Mount Vernon, a special daytime program offered from Thanksgiving Day weekend through the Twelve Days of Christmas (November 27 – January 6). Themed decorations (including 12 Christmas trees), a gingerbread Mount Vernon by former White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier, historical chocolate-making demonstrations, and 18th-century dancing will be offered. Back by popular demand will be “Aladdin,” who plays the role of a Christmas Camel! George Washington was fond of unusual animals and plants, and he paid 18 shillings in 1787 for a camel to temporarily live at Mount Vernon for his guests during Christmas.

The popular tradition continues of opening the rarely-seen third floor of the Mansion and inviting visitors to meet the charming "Mrs. Washington." Schedules may vary for dancing and "Mrs. Washington." Christmas at Mount Vernon is included in regular Estate admission: $15 for adults, $7 for children ages 6-11, and free for children under 6. 

•    Twelve festive Christmas trees will grace Mount Vernon’s Ford Orientation Center and the Donald W. Reynolds Museum & Education Center. Ranging in heights of up to 12 feet tall, the trees will be professionally decorated with themes relating to Mount Vernon, George Washington, and the 18th century.
•    Former White House Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier will create from scratch a five-foot-wide and three-foot-tall gingerbread replica of the Mansion. From November 12 through November 24, visitors may watch Mesnier construct the masterpiece in the Vaughan Lobby near Mount Vernon’s gift shop.  The gingerbread Mansion will include such intricate details as works of art on walls, marzipan George and Martha Washington figures, and the grounds surrounding the Mansion.
•    Traditional boughs of hand-cut greenery will adorn doorways in the Mansion, which will be staged with an elaborate course in the formal dining room. The Mansion’s rooms will be changed from their normal appearance to reflect the home preparing for overnight guests. Martha Washington’s “Great Cake” will take center stage, and visitors may take home her original recipe calling for 40 eggs and a version that has been adapted for modern ovens – and appetites!
•    Over 100 poinsettias will follow hallways and other paths walked by visitors.
•    The Shops at Mount Vernon include a large Christmas section, with dozens of ornaments, Byers’ Choice Carolers – including a George and Martha Washington! – snow globes, and wooden advent calendars. Stock up on holiday shopping with unique gifts.

•    Sample fresh chocolate made by hand over an open fire. The American Heritage Chocolate Program uses an authentic colonial recipe and costumed chocolatiers to reproduce the distinct flavors of the 18th century. Chocolate bars, sticks, and spiced drink mix are sold at The Shops at Mount Vernon.
•    Tour the third floor of the Mansion where Lady Washington lived after her beloved husband died. She never returned to their shared room and instead lived the rest of her years in a garret chamber, which was just refurbished four years ago. The third floor is only open during “Christmas at Mount Vernon.”
•    Meet “Lady Washington” herself! The popular hostess presents a charming program and takes questions across from the blacksmith shop. Schedule may vary.
•    Rudolph wasn’t around during Washington’s time, but the General did have an exotic animal over the holidays – a Christmas Camel! George Washington was fond of unusual animals and plants, and he paid 18 shillings in 1787 for a camel to temporarily live at Mount Vernon for his guests during Christmas.
•    Try your hand – and feet – at the Virginia reel, or just watch and enjoy the ambiance as costumed actors demonstrate dances that were popular in the 18th        century. Demonstrations are offered in the greenhouse. Schedule may vary.
•    We guarantee a white Christmas – at least in the Revolutionary War theater! Feel your seat rumble and snow fall on your shoulders as Washington and his troops cross the Delaware in a multimedia immersive experience! Part of the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center, the theater is included in general admission.
Events, programs, and activities are subject to change.
Public Information: 703-780-2000; 703-799-8697 (TDD);

Since 1860, over 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens the most popular historic home in America.  Through thought-provoking tours, entertaining events, and stimulating educational programs on the Estate and in classrooms across the nation, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.”  Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853.  A picturesque drive to the southern end of the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway, Mount Vernon is located just 16 miles from the nation’s capital. 

Hours of operation: April-August, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; March, September, October, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; November – February, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Regular admission rates: adults, $15.00; senior citizens, $14.00; children age 6-11, when accompanied by an adult, $7.00; and children under age 5, FREE.  Admission fees, restaurant and retail proceeds, along with private donations, support the operation and restoration of Mount Vernon.