Tudor Place is the former estate of Martha Washington’s granddaughter (for history buffs, Martha had children from a previous marriage and George never had children of his own). The estate hosts several events welcoming children into its grand house and gardens. Around the holidays, the Gingerbread House Workshop is a great way to show children how holidays were celebrated in years past at Tudor Place and, of course, contribute to the excitement of the season by building a Gingerbread House.
To start off the tour, children are given photos of items in the mansion to search for during the walk around the mansion. The workshop leader takes the children through several rooms of the house, most of which are decorated as they would have been around Christmas in the 1800’s.
The rooms are all impressive, made even more so by the presence of a tea set used by George and Martha Washington and a German Christmas “tree” made out of painted feathers stemming from the era when the use of real Christmas trees was banned in Germany to prevent deforestation. On our tour, children were delighted when they found the items on their cards in the stately rooms.
After the tour, the group moves to one of the estate’s heated garages to get down to work building Gingerbread Houses. The houses are constructed out of graham crackers and frosting. A very nice selection of candy is provided to use as decoration. A nice touch is that gingerbread man cookies and cider are available for the kids to eat, minimizing the temptation to eat the candy. The Gingerbread Houses are wrapped before leaving making it easy to transport them home mess-free. Or, children can start dismantling them to eat before reaching the car, which is what my daughter did.
After the program, you are free to wander around the extensive gardens, which are great for kids to run off some energy. The Gingerbread House Workshops are $10 for members and $12 for non-members and you should definitely make a reservation. Although the program is recommended for five and up, we attended with two three years olds who were able to fully participate and had a great time. The program lasts about an hour and starts in the visitor’s center. Strollers can be left just outside the visitor’s center and there is a coatroom where items can be left during the tour as well.
Tudor Place’s Gingerbread House Workshop is a great addition to your holiday repertoire! Be sure to put it on your 2014 to-do list.
Photo by Jamie Davis Smith.