Tour the Governor’s Mansion on West Paces Ferry Road in Atlanta, Georgia this Christmas and see the lavish decorations provided from across the state of GA.
If you live near Atlanta, Georgia or will be visiting in the area during the month of December, there is one event you should not miss, and you should take your children. It is the annual Christmas Tour of the Georgia Governor’s Mansion on West Paces Ferry Road. This tour is absolutely free and is open to the public. Here, you can tour the most famous of Georgia residences and see the grandeur of Christmas decorations that are provided from around Atlanta and the entire state.
History of the Governor’s Mansion in Atlanta, Georgia
West Paces Ferry Road is one of the most exclusive streets in the country. Located in the heart of the Buckhead neighborhood, the road sports many historical mansions and residences. Yet, none are quite as imposing as the red brick Governor’s Mansion on the hill overlooking the street. The Governor’s Mansion is a 24,000 feet, three-level official home sitting on an 18-acre estate.
The property was originally owned by the former Atlanta Mayor Robert Maddox, who owned a large Tudor-style mansion on the estate. After a fire destroyed much of the mansion, Maddox sold the property to the state of Georgia. The Governor’s Mansion now seated on the property is a Greek Revival-style mansion designed by Atlanta architect Thomas Bradbury. It was completed in 1967 and officially opened on January 1, 1968. In 1975, the mansion was significantly damaged on March 24 soon after then-Governor George Busbee moved in following his inauguration. A complete renovation was undertaken. This was one of the worst storms ever to hit the Atlanta area and became known as the “Governor’s Tornado.”
The mansion is divided into three levels. The lower level contains the ballroom as well as many other rooms. The main floor is used for official entertaining and also for day to day business. The Entrance Hall is the first things visitors to the estate see, and to the right is the Georgia Library, containing books by Georgia authors. The grand Circular Hall with the imposing spiral staircase is also located on the main floor as well as the State Dining Room and the kitchen. The upper floor contains the Governor’s private living quarters as well as the Governor’s Office, the Georgia First Lady’s Office, and several special bedrooms are located on this floor.
All the furnishings in the interior of the home are museum quality. The majority of the pieces come from the Federal Period, and the collection is considered to be one of the finest Federal Period collections in America. The collection is permanent and belongs to the State of Georgia. It does not change between administrations.
The Christmas Tour Event at the Georgia Governor’s Mansion
Tours are offered year-round on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. At Christmas, the home is fully decorated for the holiday season and tours are offered daily during the two first weeks of December. The tour kicks off each year following the annual Lighting of the Christmas Tree, including Saturdays and Sundays. Monday through Friday, the tour is open from 9:30 am until 12:30 pm. On Saturdays, the tour is from 10 am until 1 pm, and on Sundays, the mansion can be toured from 1 pm until 4 pm.
Each room is lavishly decorated with floral arrangements and trees donated by area Atlanta florists and citizens. There is a gingerbread house prepared by the Mansion chef. Many of the trees throughout the mansion have decorations symbolizing Georgia history as well as Georgia agriculture, including cotton, peanuts, and pecans. All of the official rooms of the mansion are decorated and open for the tour.
The Georgia Governor’s Mansion is also an official collection site for the Toys with Tots program that is sponsored by the United States Marine Corps. The complete tour is absolutely free and open to the public. Reservations are required if your party numbers ten people or more. The website offers glimpses and photos of the mansion as well as tour information and special events throughout the year.
Georgia Governor’s Mansion Christmas Tour, 391 West Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30305, 404-261-1776; Mansion.Georgia.gov
While in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta
If you are visiting the Governor’s Mansion, there is plenty to do after the tour. Simply take a drive down West Paces Ferry Road or some of the adjoining streets to see some of Georgia’s most exquisite and elegant architecture. Nearby are the Atlanta History Center and the Swan House. West Paces Ferry Road connects with Peachtree Road of Buckhead. This is a shopper’s and diner’s paradise. Be sure to check out the Lenox Square Mall and Phipps Plaza for luxurious Christmas Shopping. There are countless eateries in the area and some of Atlanta’s best hotels, including the Intercontinental Buckhead, which is continually ranked as one of Atlanta’s premier hotels.
There are also many free events in the city of Atlanta. Many have Christmas activities galore. Atlanta is a fun, bustling place throughout the month of December, as Atlanta loves putting on a Christmas show.