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Go Ask Mom

State Capitol tree lighting, Executive Mansion open house Thursday

Posted December 8, 2013

Christmas tree at the Executive Mansion

State government will mark the season with a tree lighting, open houses and special activities for kids this week.

The State Capitol tree lighting, along with the first day of the Executive Mansion's annual Holiday Open House, is set for Thursday.

The annual tree lighting begins at 5 p.m. with luminaries and holiday music from the Raleigh Concert Band and Garner Magnet High Die Meisters. Gov. Pat McCrory and First Lady Ann McCrory will arrive at 6:15 p.m. to light the tree, which is visible from Fayetteville Street on the south side of the State Capitol square.

Yellow Dog Bread Company (which recently opened on Person Street and is delicious) will be selling coffee and pastries on the grounds all evening. The Junior Woman's Club also will be giving away cookies and hot chocolate. Mascots will be on hand. And Santa will stop by.

After the tree is lit, you can tour the Capitol starting at 6:30 p.m. to see the holiday decorations and enjoy more holiday music. They'll also be collecting donations such as canned food, blankets, towels, toys and treats for the dogs and cats at North Carolina's Rural Shelters. The open house continues through Saturday. And donations will be accepted through Sunday.

After the ceremony, you can walk over to the N.C. Museum of History and N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, which will be open late on Thursday. The history museum and its shop will be open until 7:30 p.m. Its exhibit, The Tsars' Cabinet and Windows into Heaven, will be open at discounted admission (kids 6 and under are free). And kids can make an angel paper chain to take home.

The natural sciences museum will be open until 9 p.m., as it usually is on Thursdays, and will offer some special activities, along with a buy one get one free deal for its Birds of Paradise exhibit from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Also this week, the state's Executive Mansion, 200 N. Blount St., will be open Thursday to Sunday for its annual open house. The public can tour the home's first floor, see the decorations and listen to holiday music from local groups. Hours are noon to 8 p.m., Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday.

The Executive Mansion open house is one of my family's Christmas tradition. I always take my girls and mom and we stay for about 45 minutes to take in the decorations and listen to the music. Great place for holiday photographs.

Some fun facts to share with the kids while you walk through, according to the state cultural resources folks:

  • The fine Victorian-style mansion, home to North Carolina governors since 1891, was once described by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as "the most beautiful governor's residence interior in America."
  • Built from native materials, the Executive Mansion has been occupied by 29 governors' families.
  • Gov. Pat McCrory is the 29th governor to live in the Mansion. He is the 74th governor of North Carolina since statehood.
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