Over 75 visitors took part in a Plum Orchard Christmas at the historic mansion on Cumberland Island National Seashore on Sunday, December 13th.
Some fifteen volunteers and staff had decorated the 1898 house for the special holiday tour. In 2008 the first holiday tour was given by the staff on the Sunday prior to Christmas. This year, the Plum Orchard tour was done in conjunction with the annual St. Mary’s Holiday Tour of Homes, which is held the second weekend of December.
Staff and VIPs were stationed throughout the Plum Orchard home to present stories of how the Carnegie family would escape the harsh Pittsburg winters to visit their home on Georgia’s largest barrier island during the holiday season.
Plum Orchard tours are offered on the second and fourth Sunday of each month in an arrangement that has been worked out with the park’s ferry boat concessionaire to transport visitors. The historic mansion was decorated for the season with a 12-foot tree adorned with “Victorian” ornaments and island greenery lavished on mantles and tabletops, as was the custom.
Volunteers and park staff donned period dress for the occasion and told stories in each of the rooms in the house. Park volunteer Jeannie Curry read from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol about the meaning of Christmas in a first person presentation from the grand staircase of the home. Volunteers also provided elegant piano music and Christmas carols which could be heard throughout the house.
Visitors concluded the tour with cookies and hot cider served by park volunteers.
For more information about this and other Cumberland Island information please visit our website at www.nps.gov/cuis