Have you ever wondered what the holidays were like in 18th century Virginia at Mount Vernon? Now is your chance to take a candlelight, character led tour of the property and estate.

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I have actually never been to Mount Vernon before going to the Candlelight Tour, but I was surprised at how gorgeous it is and how well maintained the property is.


Some of the stops on the tour include: slave quarters, blacksmith shop, inside the Mansion, the Greenhouse for dancing, fireside caroling with hot cider and cookies, and a visit to the Christmas camel, Aladdin.

The tour starts in the Ford Orientation Center with music being played by instrumentalists and there are 6 or so beautifully decorated trees. It is a warm introduction to the tour.

When your tour is called, you will walk outside on a path with your guide who has a lantern. They do make stops to talk about different things and explain what different areas are.

Lantern Led
Tour guide

We walked through the slave quarters where we learned interesting facts like that most of them got 4 days off at Christmas to celebrate (minus the cooks and maids – because they needed to prepare for the influx in guests).  We also saw other areas.

Gardener’s House

We went into the mansion where we met a woman who was cooking and she had the most infectious smile and laugh. She talked about holidays past.

She was so kind and hilarious!
Preparing food

My favorite part of the entire tour was in the mansion when we stopped in the “new” wing (new for them at that time) of the house, which was set up to entertain guests for Christmas and Martha was there talking about their lives. She talked about a cake that she served on the 12th night and even shared the recipe on our way out.

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We then proceeded to the Greenhouse where they were dancing and allowed us to dance with them! This is such a fun part of the night because so much of it is character play but this part of it allows you to join in and actually experience it.


The end of the tour stops off for fireside caroling, hot cider (which is delicious!) and cookies, a meeting of Aladdin the Christmas camel, and a farewell to the estate.

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When you walk back inside prior to exiting, there is more beautiful music being played.


Overall – I loved this tour!! I wish I had been to Mount Vernon before! I keep saying every year that I want to visit, and I will be going back in the spring when the weather is nice because I want to see more and learn all about it.

This tour definitely got me in the festive spirit!

Plan Your Visit:

  • Tour is approximately 45 minutes long
  • Dress accordingly – most of the tour is outside and walking
  • Address: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway Mount Vernon, Virginia 22121
  • Phone: 703-780-2000
  • Tickets: Purchase in advance to get a time slot you want –>HERE 
  • Cost: $24 adult (12 and up); $16 youth (ages 6-11); Kids 5 and under are free
  • Food and Beverages: there are places on site to purchase items. Note: opened bottles and cups are not allowed inside the mansion – only closed bottles
  • Accessibility: About 5-10 minutes into the tour, the ground is no longer paved.
    • There are elevators in the buildings to accommodate those who need them – except in the mansion, only the first floor is accessible
    • Service animals are allowed
    • Accessible parking spaces are available
  • No photos are allowed to be taken inside the mansion


**I was a guest of Mount Vernon – all opinions are my own.

***Some images were provided by Mount Vernon 

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