Drumthwacket, the New Jersey governor's mansion, hosted 680 visitors at its first Holiday Open House of the year yesterday.

Members of garden clubs throughout the state decorated the Princeton mansion based on this year's theme of "Peace on Earth," using mostly natural materials such as dried hydrangeas, fresh holly, boxwood and wreaths.

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"Drumthwacket is a beautiful Greek Revival home to begin with," said Beverly Mills, executive director of the Drumthwacket Foundation. "Adding the Christmas decorations really transforms the house into a feast for the eyes, truly. It's furnished with New Jersey fine arts and antiques and there is much oohing and aahing."

Garden clubs in Brielle, Bridgewater, Essex Fells, Hunterdon Hills, Mount Laurel, New Brunswick, New Providence, New Vernon and Spring Lake participated. The Mount Laurel club was awarded first place by the Garden Club of New Jersey for decorating the dining room.

Drumthwacket will host three more Holiday Open Houses, on Wednesday and Dec. 14 and 17. Reservations are required; spots are still available for the Dec. 17 tour.

During tours, visitors are permitted to view the six public rooms of Drumthwacket, including the center hall, dining room, parlor, music room, library and governor's study.

Drumthwacket means "wooded hill" in Scottish Gaelic. The house and grounds are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

For more information or to make a reservation, go to

or call 609-683-0057.