Welcome to my newsletter where I share updates about my writing projects and discuss the importance of historic places.
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Volume 1, Issue 12, December 14, 2016
Tis the Season...
I think it is fun to see how historic sites are decorated for Christmas and the special events they have planned. This gives visitors a chance to see and learn about the historic traditions. The December newsletters will highlight Christmas traditions of various sites. This issue features two from colonial America.

In other news, my website is being reworked so it will be down for a few days. Until then, I don't have any new articles to share.
Cynthia Collins
Cynthia Collins  
George Washington's Mount Vernon
George Washington's Mount Vernon at Christmas IlluminationsIn many ways, Christmas celebrations in colonial America were very similar to the traditions of today. It was a time for family and friends to visit and celebrate by sitting down to a large meal, attending special church services, and singing carols. Children received presents ranging from toys to books. At George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate, these traditions also included concerts and dancing in the home, and outdoor activities of foxhunting and wild game hunting. The festivities lasted for 12 days, starting with Christmas Day.

Aladdin, the camel at Washington's Mount VernonWashington was interested in animals from all over the world. In 1787, he paid to have a camel brought to his property for Christmas for all the guests to see. In present day, a camel is also part of the holiday tradition. The camel, Aladdin, is very popular with guests. There are many other things to see as well, such as the shops in the outbuildings, elaborate gardens, slave burial ground, Washington’s tomb, and more.

The Mount Vernon of today ushers in the season with a special weekend of programs during the annual Christmas Illuminations. The festivities this year are held Dec. 16-17, Friday and Saturday. In addition to tours of the decorated mansion, visitors can listen to carolers, watch how chocolate was made during Washington’s time, learn some 18th-century dances, and visit some of the shops. Fireworks over the Potomac River highlight both evenings. Mount Vernon is open every day of the year and will be decorated for the holidays through Jan. 6.

Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg at ChristmasThe holiday season at Colonial Williamsburg depicts festivities and traditions during the 18th century. From decorations to making chocolate, caroling to horse-drawn carriage rides, and concerts of hammered dulcimers to fifes and drums, this historic setting allows visitors to experience the holidays during the time when Williamsburg was the capital of Colonial Virginia. Activities begin at 9:00 a.m. and go through the evening.

The entire area is a living history museum and includes restored buildings original to the time period and recreated buildings based on historic documentation. Museum interpreters dress in period costumes, recreating the days when Williamsburg was the bustling political, educational, and cultural center where the ideas and ideals of this nation were encouraged. After the capital was moved to Richmond near the end of the Revolutionary War, Williamsburg settled into life as a quiet college town.
The restoration of the historic buildings began in 1926 as the result of a parish priest, Rev. Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin, and philanthropist, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Colonial Williamsburg is part of the Historic Triangle which also includes Jamestown and Yorktown.
Recent Event...

Book Signing

Cynthia Collins at Authors Open House, Columbia, MODec 3: Local Authors Open House and Book Signing,
10:00 - 2:00, Columbia Public Library - Columbia, MO.


The Unicorn Tree
The Unicorn Tree by Cynthia Collins

A teenage girl whose brother is lost at sea –

The diary of a nineteenth-century woman –

And the special place that binds them…

For reviews, excerpts, and summary, see

The Unicorn Tree is listed on the 2016 Winter Reading List of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators  (SCBWI) under grades 9-12.

Ghost story and maritime adventure...
Available at
Photo credit: George Washington's Mount Vernon and the camel Aladdin: courtesy of Mount Vernon. Colonial Williamsburg at Christmas: courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

All articles in this newsletter are by Cynthia Collins. The featured historic site section contains general information. The other articles may not be reprinted without written permission. Subscriber lists are not sold or given to any third parties and historic sites are not charged for being featured. To suggest historic sites for future issues, request article reprint permission, or any comments/questions regarding this newsletter, please contact Cynthia Collins.
Copyright © 2016 Cynthia Collins, All rights reserved.

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