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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 12/28/2009

Christmas Eve at Mount Vernon

By Kevin Ambrose

* Cold... late-week storm? Full Forecast | D.C. sledding gets creative *

Deep snow cover at Mount Vernon on Christmas Eve 2009. The large tree is a pecan tree, possibly descended from a pecan sapling given to George Washington by Thomas Jefferson. This view is facing southwest, from the riverside of the estate.

I spent an enjoyable Christmas Eve with my family at Mount Vernon this year. The weather was crisp and clear and a fair amount of snow remained on the ground from the blizzard. The trails turned a bit slushy under the bright December sun but the snow-covered scenery was absolutely beautiful.

Keep reading for more photos of Mount Vernon in the snow.

The front view of Mount Vernon, facing east across the pastoral Bowling Green.

The theater in Mount Vernon's Ford Orientation Center showed a short movie called "We Fight to be Free," which had several scenes set during Christmas Eve of 1776, as George Washington planned his attack on Trenton. During 1776, a major winter storm moved up the East Coast on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dropping almost two feet of snow across the region. The storm made it very difficult for Washington's tattered forces to make the long march and crossing of the Delaware River, but it also contributed to an element of surprise when they attacked the Hessian forces.

One of my favorite destinations when visiting Mount Vernon, the Mount Vernon Inn. I always start my meal with the peanut and chestnut soup.

One of my highlights during a visit to Mount Vernon is a colonial-style meal at the Mount Vernon Inn. The food is good and the tavern was decorated beautifully for the holiday season. The inn's peanut and chestnut soup is my favorite.

Mount Vernon's Christmas camel. George Washington brought a camel to Mount Vernon to entertain guests at Christmas.

If you visit Mount Vernon during the holiday season, check out Aladdin, the Christmas camel. Aladdin comes to Mount Vernon during the Christmas season. George Washington had an interest in exotic animals and brought a camel to Mount Vernon in the 18th century to entertain his guests. The tradition continues today.

A panoramic view of Mount Vernon, facing northwest. This image was created from five photos merged together with the Photomerge option in Photoshop CS4.

By Kevin Ambrose  | December 28, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Photography  
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The first two pictures are particularly spectacular, Kevin. Here's hoping that one, or both, end up in next year's calendar!

Posted by: dwljr | December 28, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

David McCullough's book, 1776, contains an extremely interesting discussion of the role that weather played in the pivotal encounters between Washington's forces and the Redcoats and Hessians during that year. In his lectures, McCullough explains that Washington's ability to forecast weather, acquired in his years as a planter and farmer, enabled him to predict when there would be a frost that would freeze the muddy roads, allowing him to move his troops efficiently.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | December 28, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

dwljr: Thanks, I'm thinking it may be the photo for December. There were certainly a lot of photo ops this month.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | December 28, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

my most favorite memorable times at christmas, was a few years back on christmas day. it was at washington crossing pa, to see the reenacment of washington crossing the delaware. my then girl friend lived in trenton nj, and was somewhat ticked off for me leaving and going to this. boy was i glad i went.

Posted by: deveinmadisonva | December 28, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Beautiful photos, Kevin. Have you ever had the chance to go down to the dock on the Mt. Vernon property, and photograph the cute little octagonal dock house? Naturally, I never miss a chance to visit that dock and reflect on what it was like to approach the estate from the River during Colonial times.

Another thing not to miss is the Red Velvet Cake at Mt. Vernon Inn. Start dinner with the peanut soup, end it with the Red Velvet Cake.

Posted by: --sg | December 28, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

The Crossing starring Jeff Daniels is actually a pretty good movie about the crossing and attack on the Hessians. At first it was a little weird to see the Dumb and Dumber guy in a serious role but it actually worked.

Posted by: spgass1 | December 29, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

--sg: I have not been down to the Mount Vernon dock. I will definitely make the walk on my next visit. Regarding the Inn's Red Velvet cake, I always order the cherry pie. Maybe I'll order both next time. :)

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | December 29, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

i sit here in disbelief that only a few folks added comment to this post, about mount vernon, and are great late george washington.thanks kevin for posting this.

Posted by: deveinmadisonva | December 30, 2009 2:31 AM | Report abuse

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