Christmas in the People's House

The Governor's Mansion, or as it's officially called, Wisconsin's Executive Residence, is decked out for the holidays and open for visitors.

This past weekend and next, guests are invited to step inside the wrought iron gate and through the front door to see their home in all it's Christmas splendor.

A variety of interior designers, greenhouses, and exterior professionals volunteer to decorate the people's house.

The Executive Residence is a lake home on beautiful Lake Mendota.  I imagine if the Governor was willing and his security detail allowed it, he could walk to work in the winter when the lake freezes. It's a beautiful location year-round.

Inside the grand entrance is the foyer which looks through garland framed columns is the Reception Room which looks out on the lake.

The room is red, white, and blue and pays tribute to Wisconsin's service members.  The tree features hand-made ornaments made by military families.

The room is lively for receptions, I'm sure, but the tribute and view created a feel of quiet contemplation of the room's beauty and meaning.

One thing that struck me about the Governor's house was its size.  It really is a fairly modest home. It's not small by any stretch, but while the elegant rooms are gorgeous they are not insanely large.

The tour includes the dining room, library, and sun room on the first floor, but there were no peaks into the kitchen or the family's space.

The Drawing Room features a large tree with toy car and rocking horse appear to be waiting for kids to play.

Alas, the tour ropes off the "fun" parts.

The visit was my first time in the Mansion.  Since returning, we heard about the limited public tours of the house and it was on the to do list.  There were stories of long lines and crowded tours.

That could well be true.  But when we arrived at ten to nine we were the first in line.  At nine the gates swung open inviting us to walk up the drive.

Volunteer docents greeted us and told us about each room and its history.  A small ensemble from a high school band played.

Outside, two oversize deer and sleigh stood on the lawn.  I'm pretty sure it isn't replacing the Governor's usual ride.