When you close your eyes and picture the quintessential holiday scene, it probably looks a lot like Morven Park in Leesburg, the 1,000-acre estate of former Virginia governor Westmoreland Davis.
Until December 29, visitors can tour the beautiful Greek Revival mansion and see its halls decked in high 1920s style, with a 17-foot Christmas tree soaring to the ceiling of the parlor and a holiday table set with imported crystal and Tiffany china. The 45-minute tours are offered every hour on the hour. Visitors can also get a glimpse of what servant life was like, through tours of the kitchen and staff quarters.
The Morven Park estate is actually three museums in one. Tucked into a wing of the mansion is the Museum of Hounds & Hunting, which exhibits art and artifacts relating to the sporting tradition. A must-see here is “The Surrey,” an oil painting of an imaginary foxhunt, which features some famous faces such as Jackie Kennedy Onassis.
Also on the property is the Winmill Carriage Museum, which showcases 40 antique coaches, including a diminutive coach custom-made for the performer Tom Thumb from Barnum & Bailey’s Circus.
The estate has been chosen as the new permanent home of Mac and Cheese, the pair of turkeys President Obama pardoned this year before Thanksgiving. Visitors can stroll to the turkey yard to see them scratching about freely, along with Caramel, last year’s freed bird.
Morven Park also happens to be one of the “stars” of this winter’s acclaimed movie Foxcatcher. The stately mansion was used for exterior shots—because the real Du Pont mansion in Pennsylvania had been torn down—and the Morven Park estate is featured on the movie posters.
Entrance to tour Morven Park mansion and museums is $10 for adults, $5 for children.