Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tour Of The Georgia Governor's Mansion 2014

You feel like you are approaching "Tara" from the classic movie,  Gone With The Wind  as you drive along the long winding driveway leading to the Georgia Governor's Mansion in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Mansion is open to the public during the Christmas season for the Annual Christmas Tour.  Fraternity Brothers and family members from the ATO Fraternity were among the touring groups taking the Christmas Tour of the Mansion last weekend.

Governor Nathan and Mrs. Sandra Deal were host and hostess for the afternoon.  My husband and many other ATOs in attendance on this day were all Fraternity Brothers together including Governor Nathan Deal, when they attended Mercer University in Macon, Georgia many years ago.

The Mansion is located in the beautiful Buckhead area just North of the city of Atlanta.

The last day for the Christmas Tour was December 19th.  
If you missed the tour this year you can always try to make it next year.

If you would like to see Sweet Southern Days photos from the 2012 Christmas Tour of the Governor's Mansion  
you can click on the link below:

In the above link you will see the rocking chair on the  other side of the door engraved
with "FIRST LADY" to match this one with "GOVERNOR" seen below.

One of the very thoughtful and skilled ATO Fraternity Brothers made those rocking chairs
as a gift to Governor Nathan and Mrs. Sandra Deal

As we walk in the front door, as seen in the below photo, we see a beautiful circular foyer with a lovely natural Christmas arrangement decorating the foyer table.   

Looking beyond, we see a glimpse of Old Glory on the left.  I am assuming the flag seen on the right would be the flag of the State of Georgia.  And just beyond the flags in the distance you can see the brightly lit beautiful chandelier and winding stairway.

The below photo shows a better view of the chandelier, beautiful stairway,
and lovely Christmas tree which is just beyond the circular foyer.

This chandelier was made from a modern American chandelier
combined with a 19th Century Italian chandelier which was salvaged from a Club in Atlanta.

A better view of the Christmas tree.

In the foyer  across from the lovely Christmas tree sitting on a pretty table we see "the reason for the season."   It was very special to see these life-like statues of Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus.

Governor and Mrs. Deal are the epitome of Southern Hospitality.  They were at the front door greeting everyone and immediately made us feel special and totally welcome in their home.  We found out later that they had already greeted several other groups and personally welcomed everyone themselves.  

From the foyer Mrs. Deal directed everyone into the State Dining Room.

This room is regularly used for breakfasts, luncheons and dinners.  There is room for 18 people to be seated around this beautiful table.  There can be a total of 50 invited guests for dinner,  using four round tables at each corner of the room.

The  mahogany table is 14 feet long and was made in Boston, Massachusetts  in 1810.  

Georgia Governor's Mansion State Dining Room

You cannot see the chairs very well in the above photo,  but they are very pretty.  
They are reproductions of 19th Century Curly Maple English -  Federal Greek Revival style chairs.

The candelabras on the table came from the battleship "Georgia" and were made 
at the turn of the century by Gorham Silver

I loved the fresh natural arrangement made for the State Dining Room table.

What a nice idea putting a gift item at each plate.   
This gift item appears to be the annual Georgia Christmas tree ornament.

I loved the beautiful hand-painted dinner plates.

The kitchen and dining rooms in a home to me are the heart of the home.  
I could feel the echoes of many wonderful times spent in this beautiful room.

Across from the table we passed by this beautiful dining room fireplace.

At the end of the dining room we saw this pretty old oil painting by Benjamin West,  painted in 1763.

 And at the other end of the room was another old painting and a nicely decorated buffet
with another beautiful natural arrangement.

Coming back through the foyer we entered into the beautiful State Drawing Room 
as seen in the below photo.

The first thing that caught my eye as we entered this lovely room were the beautiful formal curtains and matching furniture fabrics.  The fabrics used in the Mansion are by Scalamandre.

This room is used for greeting official visitors.
State Drawing Room

The fireplace mantle in this room is of Italian marble and was made in England in the year 1790.
How pretty!  Again we see lovely natural arrangements adorning the fireplace mantel.

My next favorite items in this lovely room were the Cabbage Patch dolls, representing Governor Nathan and Mrs. Sandra Deal.   Cabbage Patch dolls are a product of the State of Georgia, made in the town of Cleveland, Georgia.  Aren't they so cute!

I failed to ask Mrs. Sandra how many decorated Christmas trees there were in the home.  But, there were a lot of them.  In the below photo we see the Christmas tree decorated in the State Drawing Room.

In the below photo looking back across the room, we can appreciate the lovely Aubusson Tapestry Weave Carpet created at  the Champion Mill in Fairmont, Georgia

With the many hundreds of folks flocking to the Mansion for the Christmas tour it was nice to see the runner on the carpet offering protection from the elements and preserving this beautiful carpet.

Adjoining the State Drawing Room as seen in the below photo is the Library.


This lovely Library holds a collection of books by Georgia authors. 
Many of the books in the library are first editions and signed by the authors.

One book in particular seen in the Mansion that you may recognize is the original Gone With The Wind book written by Margaret Mitchell.

This best-selling book was published in June 1936 followed by the blockbuster movie which came out to rave reviews in the year 1939.

We next enter into the Family Dining Hall.  This room is regularly used for small functions and family meals.

The Table and Chairs are mahogany and date back to 1800.  

You may remember the novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  If you read that book you know of Jim Williams.  He was an antique dealer in Savannah, Georgia and a character in the book.  You know from reading the book,  Jim Williams went to trial.   He owned these chairs and found it necessary to auction  these chairs to pay the fees for his trial.

From the Family Dining Room it is possible to peek into the adjoining kitchen as seen in the below photo.

For the past 16 years the the grounds manager at the Governor's Mansion has planted a small vegetable  garden.  Vegetables and herbs grown in the garden are used in menus for meals and functions at the Governor's Mansion created by the Executive Chef.   Mrs. Sandra, the First Lady has always been an avid supporter of Georgia grown fruit and produce to be served to their guests.

The Georgia Governor's Mansion has a wonderful website.  While trying to find out information about the Mansion kitchen I found much to my surprise,  a whole list of WONDERFUL recipes from meals prepared there at the Mansion.

If you like to cook as much as I do you will be delighted to see all of these wonderful recipes.  Just click on the below link and you will see all of these recipes in printable form.

A peek into the Kitchen.

We moved on from the kitchen area on our way downstairs to the formal meeting room.
On our way we passed by this lovely decorated table in honor of Hanukkah.

Downstairs in the very large meeting room,  or some may even call it the Ballroom, 
 we spotted the three beautifully decorated Christmas trees as seen in the below photo.

On a table close to the Christmas trees we admired this lovely Nativity Scene
seen in the below photo.

Everyone gathered in the meeting room to thank Governor and Mrs. Deal for their charming hospitality.  The ATOs have always supported Governor Deal,  a fellow ATO,  for the wonderful leadership he has provided in National Government roles and now as Governor of Georgia.

Governor Deal is a wonderful role model for the current ATO students who attended the event.  Mrs. Sandra Deal, a teacher for many years,  is also a wonderful role model for the young students

Governor Deal was given a Christmas gift from the group,  presented to him from a former President of the ATOs when they were in college together.   This past President of the ATOs has continued to be a leader of the ATOs, making arrangements over the years for their alumni group continued activities.

The Christmas gift to the Governor was a very thoughtful and much appreciated book collection of the History of Georgia published in 1938.  The book contents date from the prehistoric times forward.

Governor Deal with a past President of the ATOs.

A Christmas gift was presented to Mrs. Sandra as well.  Presenting the gift to Mrs. Deal is another ATO Fraternity Brother from the group.

The gift to Mrs. Sandra is a "Keepsake Box" with an inscription on the front saying:  Sandra Deal, Alumni Sweetheart.

ATO Fraternity Brother presenting Christmas gift to Mrs. Deal.

You can tell this ATO is a Southern boy ... Love his monogrammed tie!

In the below photo you will see several generations of ATOs including Governor Deal 
and Mrs. Deal,  an alumni sweetheart.

A beautiful Christmas tree in the Ballroom.

On the wall behind the podium in the meeting room or Ballroom I could not help but 
notice this painting and again was reminded of Gone With The Wind.

After the tour was complete ATO members and their families   
met on the front porch with the Governor and First Lady for a group photo

It was a bright beautiful day in the city of Atlanta as you can see with the pretty blue skies. 

As we were leaving I wanted to try to capture some of the beauty of these red 
"Christmas" berries that were so pretty as we walked along the path.

The bush looked like a Pyracantha Bush grown into a tree, but I can't be sure.

I just had to look back and take one more photo of this very beautiful home 
which was built in the year 1967,  and has been the home to eight governors and their families.

The Mansion has 30 rooms and is 24,000 square feet in size.  There are 18 acres of lawns and gardens and the grounds alone would make for a very beautiful and interesting tour.

Thank you for coming along with us today on the tour of the Georgia Governor's Mansion and a visit with Governor Nathan and Mrs. Sandra Deal.

As we approach the week of Christmas I wish you the most special Christmas blessings wherever you may be.

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