Governor, First Lady open Executive Mansion for virtual holiday tour
Gov. Ralph Northam and First Lady Pamela Northam are inviting Virginians to experience the holiday decorations at the Executive Mansion virtually this year.
In a new video released today, the First Lady and floral designer David Pippin take viewers on a virtual tour of the residence as it is decorated for the holiday season.
Each year, the Executive Mansion holds a holiday open house and regular holiday tours where the public can visit the residence in downtown Richmond and see the themed decorations in several rooms including the ballroom, the dining room, the Old Governor’s Office, and the Ladies Parlor, which are also featured in the video.
“One of our favorite parts of the holiday season is welcoming Virginians to the Executive Mansion to enjoy the decorations, but like many traditions this year, we have had to do things differently to stay safe during the pandemic,” the Northams said in a joint statement. “We hope this virtual tour will share some holiday joy with people across our Commonwealth, and we look forward to welcoming visitors to the residence in person next year.”
All of the holiday decorations were donated at no cost to the Commonwealth. Spruce Rock Farm in Madison County donated two Christmas trees and Hartland Farm in Markham provided holiday wreaths.
The Christmas tree in the center hall is an eleven-foot Fraser fir that is adorned with ornaments celebrating each branch of the military, along with handcrafted ornaments that are donated by Virginia localities each year. Together with the Virginia Municipal League and Virginia Association of Counties, this special tradition highlights the diverse heritage of the Commonwealth’s counties, cities, and towns—and visitors always have fun looking for their local ornament.
Floral décor and seasonal greenery were donated by the Garden Club of Virginia and arranged by floral designer David Pippin with student volunteers from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.
Home to Virginia’s governors since 1813, the Executive Mansion is the oldest, continuously occupied governor’s residence in the United States that is still used for its original purpose. The executive residence is located within the historic gates of Capitol Square, a park area that includes the Virginia State Capitol, the Bell Tower, Patrick Henry Building, Old City Hall, and several historical monuments.
Designed by architect Alexander Parris in the Federal style, the mansion sits close to the site of a modest frame structure that served as the home to Virginia’s governors after the capital moved from Williamsburg to Richmond in 1780. The Northams are the 56th residents of the mansion.
The video can be viewed on Northam’s YouTube page.