Victorian Christmas doings at Oatlands Mansion


November 17, 1991|By Dorothy Fleetwood

Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg, Va., ushers in the Yuletide season on Saturday. "Christmas at Oatlands" brings back the holiday atmosphere of the Victorian age, when this 18-room mansion was home to two generations of Virginia's Carter family.

The Christmas tree is a local pine trimmed with paper chains, popcorn, cranberries and small paper lanterns. Arrangements throughout the house make use of laurel, magnolia leaves, pine cones, nuts and fruits. They are made by hand as they were in the 1880s, using greens and other natural materials gathered from the estate. Christmas tours will take place daily (except Thanksgiving Day) through Dec. 22. The hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $5.

On Saturday evenings candlelight tours will be offered from 6 to 8:30. On these occasions costumed actors will portray members of the Carter family enjoying a typical Oatlands Christmas celebration. Information about life during that era was found in the memoirs of Elizabeth Grayson Carter Beach, who was born at Oatlands in 1867. Following the tour guests will receive fresh cider and home-baked cookies. Admission is $6.

St. Nicholas will pay a visit to Oatlands on Dec. 14 and children can see him in the carriage house from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Oatlands is six miles south of Leesburg, Va., on U.S. 15. For information, call (703) 777-3174.

A capital birthday

The nation's capital is 200 years old and the public is invited to join the fun today at "Happy Birthday, D.C.: 200 Years in the Making," a free old-fashioned birthday bash from noon to 6 p.m. at Union Station. Continuous entertainment is planned throughout the afternoon.

There will be a presentation of colors as the U.S. Navy Band opens the ceremonies at noon. On the main stage you'll see carnival acts from the musical "Barnum," gospel and patriotic choirs, a salsa band and a ragtime revue. Jugglers, clowns, mimes, magicians, unicyclists and an African dance troupe will appear on a second stage on the station's mezzanine. Radio station WPGC will broadcast from the station marketplace and historical figures dressed in appropriate costume will roam through the station.

A photographic exhibit and several interactive educational displays trace the city's 200-year history. Highlight of the event will be the arrival of a 9-foot high birthday cake. A local children's choir will sing "Happy Birthday" as the candles are blown out by Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon and the city council. Each guest will receive a slice of cake.

Admission is free, but guests are asked to bring a can of food for the needy. Union Station is at 40 Massachussetts Ave. N.E. For information, call (202) 338-5452.

Waterfowl Week

The week of Nov. 23 to Dec. 1, expected to be the peak of fall migration, will be Waterfowl Week in Chincoteague, Va. This is the only time of year when Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge opens the service road on the northern end of the island and visitors can drive out to see the thousands of snow geese, ducks and other waterfowl that come to the refuge en route south. The drive will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The refuge plans a number of programs throughout that week. Early bird walks will be held Monday and Wednesday at 8 a.m. from the pony corral, and a one-hour marsh walk is scheduled Tuesday and Saturday at 10 a.m. from the refuge visitor center. ** "A Walk Through Time" takes participants on a walk along the Light House Trail to learn about the island's history. The walk is set for Thursday morning at 10 from the lighthouse parking lot. On Friday and Sunday a "Walk on the Wild Side" focuses on animals indigenous to the area. The walk begins at the refuge visitor center at 10 a.m. and explores various animal habitats. All programs are free. For information, call (804) 336-6122.

The fifth annual Chincoteague Island Waterfowl Show will be

held Saturday and next Sunday in Chincoteague High School gymnasium on North Main Street. This is a juried show of waterfowl art that includes decoys, paintings and photography, and there will be demonstrations and contests throughout the show. A work by the show's featured artist, Nancy West, and one by featured carver Winfred Barrett will be raffled off on Sunday. Refreshments will be available. Admission is $2 for adults, free for children 12 and under accompanied by an adult.

An auction will be held Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Island Creamery on Maddox Boulevard. The $5 admission includes light fare and a cash bar. Advance reservations are necessary.

Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Proceeds of the show will benefit Deborah Hospital Foundation. For information, call (804) 336-3328.

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