Anyone wishing to envision Christmases past need only to visit Gunston Hall Plantation Dec. 12 and 13.
That's when the home of the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, forerunner to the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, will celebrate its annual Plantation Christmas. These family evenings feature candlelight mansion tours, horse-drawn carriage rides, performances of seasonal music, and samples of festive foods prepared by hearth cooks from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. each night.
Lanterns line the path as visitors make their way to George Mason's elegantly appointed home 20 miles south of Washington, D.C., just off Gunston Road, Virginia 242, where Gunston Cove flows into the Potomac River. Thomas Jefferson referred to Mason as "a man of the first order of wisdom among those who acted on the theater of the revolution."
In the candle-lit interiors, costumed characters representing the Mason family and their guests prepare for daughter Mary’s upcoming wedding. Mason fathered nine children.
A spectacular holiday feast will be set on the dining table, and guests will have the opportunity to sample a few of the displayed offerings being prepared by hearth cooks in the plantation kitchen yard. Those cooks are graduates of Gunston Hall's Historic Foodways Program.
In conjunction with Plantation Christmas, Gunston is offering its annual Yuletide Dinner. This holiday meal, with all the trimmings, features a selection of traditional fare and includes admission to Plantation Christmas.
The Yuletide Dinner is $39.95 for adults and children ages 11 and older, $19.95 for children ages 6 to 10. Those wishing to participate are urged to call 703-550-9220, as limited seating is available for Friday and Saturday evenings.
Admission to the Plantation Christmas is $14 for adults, $7 for ages six to 18, and free for children age six and under. For additional information call 703-550-9220 or visit www.GunstonHall.org.