Government House Gets Ready to Open its Doors to the Public
The staff at Maryland’s Government House, at 110 State Circle, have been extra busy this week. On Wednesday, they were anticipating the arrival of several hundred state employees for a holiday open house and the opportunity to meet their boss, Gov. Larry Hogan and First Lady Yumi Hogan.
On Saturday, the doors of Government House — also known as the Governor’s Mansion — will open from 1 to 4 p.m. The public is invited to the free open house, and free parking will be available at the Calvert Street garage.
The Hogans ask guests to consider bringing unwrapped toys for those in need during the holidays. The Maryland State Police, on behalf of Toys for Tots, will collect donations under a tent by the front gate.
Barbara Harward-Troska, a Parkton resident, has been a butler at Government House for 28 years. Harward-Troska — aided by fellow butler Christy Sweeney and by her mother, Lois Harward, and her mother’s friends Susan Lockery and Beverly Jones — have been putting up decorations for weeks.
In the front entry is an 11-foot tall Fraser fir lavished with traditional gold, silver, red, white and royal blue ornaments and the official Government House ornaments. In the conservatory, a large airy room on one side of the house, a 10-foot Fraser fir tree is decorated with snowman Santa ornaments alongside grinning snowballs, tiny bird houses, cardinals and red silk poinsettia blooms. The trees came from the Lowe’s Bayshore Nursery and Garden Center in Stevensville.
Harward-Troska clambered up a ladder this week to adjust a garland over the entry to the lime green reception room. The inspiration for the decorations each year, she said, “comes from within. We try to think of something different and fresh.” The butler noted the staff reuses its ornaments each year as they are budget conscious.
“The advantage of being here so long,” Harward-Troska said, “is I know exactly what we have.”
What is fresh each year are the flowers, arranged this year by Marybeth Downes. The table arrangement in the reception room is a bouquet of lime green hydrangea blooms, large and small white roses, sprigs of pine and green ornaments set in a glass container and placed on a gold-patterned, iridescent lime green cloth.
In the state dining room, 22 different flavored cookies, bars and brownies are up for grabs. Among the flavors are lemon pineapple, scotch shortbread, mocha caramel, pecan puffs, blueberry white chocolate, orange cranberry, cherry almond — and more. Hogan’s favorite cookie is the coconut snickerdoodle, while the first lady enjoys the white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.
There will be entertainment provided by three Maryland public high schools. The string ensemble of Clarksville’s River Hill High School will perform from 1 to 1:50 p.m. The double string ensemble from Edgewater’s South River High School is scheduled for 2 to 2:50 p.m. and, from 3 to 4 p.m., Northern High School’s string quartet from Calvert County will play.
Besides selfies with the Hogans, visitors who desire a souvenir can purchase the 2017 holiday ornament depicting a linked Government House and State House. The 2017 ornament can be purchased as a set with the 2017 and 2016 ornaments for $60, including tax. Separately, the 2017 ornament is $25. A 2015 and 2016 ornament set is $40, and those ornaments are $20 sold individually. Cash and checks only. Net proceeds benefit the Foundation for the Preservation of Government House of Maryland Inc.
Please see original Capital Gazette article at the following link: http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/ac-cm-holiday-decor-governors-mansion-20171207-story.html