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Blandwood, the restored 1840s home of former North Carolina Gov. John Motley Morehead and a registered national historic landmark, is celebrating the holidays throughout December.

``Christmas at Blandwood' is under way with house tours running through Dec. 20. Tour hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and 2 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $3 for adults; children will be admitted free.Cider and Cookies will be available Dec. 12-13 and 19-20 in the kitchen dependency. A bazaar and bake sale were held earlier.

The holiday grand finale will be celebrated with several events from 2 to 6 p.m. Dec. 20.

The events include:

A performance by the Page High School Vocal Ensemble, directed by Sam Doyle at 2 p.m.

19th century kitchen cooking from 2 to 6 p.m. Costumed volunteers will cook over an open hearth, using a 1840s cast iron stove to prepare the food.

Hot cider and spice cookies will be served.

St. Nicholas will visit Blandwood from 3 to 5 p.m. Wearing a long robe, cap and beard, he's not a 1990s Santa.

The Kiser Middle School 7th-Grade Chorus, directed by Susan Kunar and Marta Force, will perform at 3:30 p.m.

At 4:15 p.m., the Children's Choir & Chimers from West Market Street United Methodist Church, directed by Gene Jones.

Historical vignettes will occur between musical events and a candlelight tour of the mansion will be held from 5 to 6 p.m.

Each day during the celebration, an antique rosewood music box will play Christmas music in the West Parlor and a collection of Williamsburg reproduction toys will be exhibited around the Christmas trees.

``Decorating a historic landmark home is an interesting challenge because we have to restrict our plans to what is appropriate for the time period - which is the 1840s and 50s. We are inclined to want to over decorate, but we know that homes of that period usually did not have an abundance of decorations,' said Diane Joyner, president of the Blandwood Guild. `` We regret that we have to use mostly artificial greenery, and thus we miss that wonderful aroma of fresh cut greenery, which is so appealing.'

Called the father of modern North Carolina, Morehead was governor from 1841-1845.

The original farm house, called Blandwood, was built in 1790. While governor, Morehead commissioned Alexander Jackson Davis to design and addition to better accommodate his large family, which included eight children. The style of the addition is Italiante Tuscan Villa.

Morehead also served as a founder and first president of the N.C. Railroad, was instrumental in establishing Dorothea Dix and the School for the Blind and Deaf, and founded Edgeworth Seminary.


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