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Page updated Sep 30, 2014 4:41 PM

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Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours 

One Weekend Only!

December 13, 2014, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. - AND - December 14, 2014, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Adults $20; Seniors (65 years and older) and Active Military $15; Children (ages 6-17) $5

Tickets can be purchased at  All sales are final. This is a rain or shine event! Sites can be toured in any order. A complimentary shuttle runs between the sites on both days.

 Candle Light Tour image 1 

Make Historic Alexandria Candlelight Tours part of your 2014 holiday season celebration. See – and taste - historic Alexandria in a whole new light! Travel through time as you learn more about Alexandria’s history and the history of chocolate.  Tour the Carlyle House, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and the Lee-Fendall House. Enjoy each site by candlelight, hear live musical performances, smell seasonal greenery, and taste chocolate! The Historic Division of Mars is proud to sponsor this year’s Candlelight Tours and provide a taste of history at each site.

Carlyle House Historic Park
Start off your tour by entering the candlelit home of merchant John Carlyle.  Built in 1753, the home served as the headquarters of Gen. Edward Braddock in the early days of the French and Indian War.  During the Christmas season, Alexandrians like the Carlyle family would enjoy festive entertainments with family and friends to ward off the cold winter air.  Special this year, guests will learn how officers during the French and Indian War were supplied with a ration of chocolate and why this item was considered necessary and even medicinal for troops.  Enjoy live musical performances by Charm City Baroque and the Colonial Recorders.  A chocolate history ambassador from The Historic Division of Mars will talk about the history of chocolate in early Alexandria and provide soldier ration samples.

Gadsby's Tavern Museum
Then walk one block down the street, to the corner of Royal and Cameron, where you will have the opportunity to enjoy the warm hospitality of the tavern made famous by John Gadsby from 1796 until 1808.  Let the scent of fresh greens and sight of lovely candlelit rooms enhance your tour of the historic buildings known today as Gadsby’s Tavern Museum.  Special this year, you will be greeted by costumed guides who will highlight the site’s fascinating and rarely-told Coffee House history.  Did you know that memberships were sold to Gadsby’s Coffee House and that more than 32 newspapers were available to patrons?  One could also “take chocolate” at the Coffee House and catch up on the politics of the day.  The ambassadors from The Historic Division of Mars will share how chocolate went from bean to beverage in the 18th century.  While you sample or “take” chocolate, be sure to enjoy the 18th-century music and English Country dance demonstrations held in the same room where George Washington danced the minuet.

Lee-Fendall House
Conclude your tour experience with the sights and samples of a Victorian Christmas. The greenery will be bountiful in whimsical, seasonal displays and enhanced with special samples of the latest 19th-century chocolate delicacy, fudge! Made especially by local chocolatier Rob Kingsbury, learn about the Cazenoves’ (residents of the home 1849-70) connections to Swiss chocolate making.  Costumed guides will explain early Victorian holiday customs and tell of famous visitors to the historic home.


About The Historic Division of Mars

The Historic Division of Mars is dedicated to sharing chocolate’s fascinating journey through time – how chocolate was made, how it was used, where it came from, and what it tasted like throughout history. Chocolate has been woven through the fabric of American culture for centuries.  With its origin in the rain forests of Central and South America at least 3,500 years ago, chocolate’s rich history is intertwined in the stories of our ancestors. Mars, Incorporated has more than 100 years of chocolate-making excellence. As the leader in cocoa and chocolate history, cocoa sustainability and cocoa science, The Historic Division of Mars brings the history of chocolate to life through lectures, tastings and interactive demonstrations.  A team of Mars Chocolate History Ambassadors led by Rodney Snyder, Chocolate History Research Director for Mars Chocolate North America, bring history to life with a one-on-one demonstration of the historical bean-to-beverage story using authentic tools including live cocoa pods, cocoa beans and nibs, a hot stone metate, winnowing baskets, chocolate drink pots and stirrers.

About American Heritage Chocolate®

American Heritage Chocolate® was created by Mars Chocolate North America to help educate consumers about the history of our nation through the engaging story of one of our most beloved foods. American Heritage Chocolate® is an authentic historic line of products that celebrate chocolate’s important role in the lives of Americans during the 18th century. Made with all-natural ingredients and no preservatives, American Heritage Chocolate® is an authentic recipe that shares the same characteristics as chocolate made during colonial times. Rich in cocoa, mildly spicy, and slightly sweet, American Heritage Chocolate® is flavored with a blend of spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, chili pepper, orange and vanilla. American Heritage Chocolate® is sold nationally at fine gift shops at historic sites and museums such as Colonial Williamsburg, Mount Vernon, Fort Ticonderoga, Monticello and The Smithsonian. For a complete listing or to purchase online, please visit