Gingerbread White House Christmas Tour

Published 2:12 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Abigail Adams welcomes visitors to the Chapel at The American Village, and introduces two colonial carolers. (Contributed)

By CATHERINE LEGG / Community Columnist

A friend and I went on one of the three Gingerbread White House Christmas tours offered at the American Village on a recent Thursday. We were delighted with the tour and the luncheon; had a wonderful time.

Our first destination was Liberty Hall where we saw the unbelievable White House in Gingerbread created by Roland Mesnier, who served as chef in The White House for 25 years. Liberty Hall was inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello with the interior patterned after The East Room at The White House.

Next we walked to the Colonial Chapel, where Mrs. Abigail Adams greeted us and introduced two colonial-dressed ladies who played the guitar and sang several beautiful Christmas carols.

Marie Fancher is surprised by the beauty of the display of her Christmas collection in the Estes House at The American Village. American Village’s Tom Walker stands behind her. (Contributed)

On to the Barn; there we were highly entertained by a group of dancers joyfully performing the Virginia Reel (I believe it was, though it was called a dance celebration).

Then we met George Washington’s granddaughter in the beautifully decorated President’s House. She told us about her grandfather and about the house. Washington, himself, made an appearance and talked with us briefly; after all, he’s a very busy man.

From there we walked over to the Oval Office where that day’s spokesperson, Johnny Curry, told great stories of Christmas traditions in the White House; one about Abraham Lincoln giving the first pardon to the Thanksgiving turkey.

A fitting end to our tour was a stop at the Estes House to see Marie’s Village. “Marie Fancher has given the American Village a wonderful treasured gift,” said Tom Walker, founder and CEO of the American Village.  “It will bring joy to visitors now and in the future, and we are so grateful to her.”  Marie’s gift was her prized 20-year collection of hundreds of miniature Christmas buildings and figurines. The folks there had provided a beautiful setting and added a running train to complete this most enchanting Christmas scene.

As we were eating our delicious lunch in Liberty Hall, Beth Hamer and Walker welcomed us and Walker talked with us about the vision of The American Village.

All of the buildings on the tour were beautifully decorated for the season by Dorothy McDaniel and the lunch provided by Kathy G & Company.

As we walked to our cars, my friend commented, “This has been a wonderful day. I learned so much, and it certainly helped me get into the real Christmas spirit. Now I’ll just look forward to coming again next year.”

Catherine Legg can be reached at