Editors' Picks

Dumbarton Oaks

1703 32nd St NW, Washington, DC 20007


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On a quiet hilltop on the northern end of Georgetown, Dumbarton Oaks, a 19th-century estate, is one of the city’s hidden treasures. The late and hugely influential American landscape architect Beatrix Farrand spent thirty years working with former owners Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss to perfect the fifty-three acres, which encompass formal gardens (open seasonally for a fee) and woodlands (open year-round for free).

Surrounding the Federal-style home is a series of intimate “garden rooms,” each with a theme: 1,000 rose bushes, which peak in late June; an Italian-style pebble mosaic; an orangery. They are absolutely lovely and well worth a visit. Just to the east of the walled part of the property is Lovers’ Lane, which leads down a steep hill to the woodlands, laced with winding paths and streams, where locals like to picnic and walk their dogs. The main house, now a library owned by Harvard University, hosts wonderful chamber-music concerts in its Music Room. (The Blisses were serious about music and even commissioned a concerto by Igor Stravinsky for their 30th wedding anniversary.) The gardens are open from March 15 to October 31; call ahead for times.

Written by Eliza Harris

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