Want to know where fabulous lives in D.C.?
Hop in your car, head to the Rock Creek Park area of the city (D.C.’s own mini-version of Central Park) and hidden in the depths of this urban oasis, you will find a gem known as the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens.
Despite the fact that I grew up in D.C., I only just learned about this estate within the past year. Not sure why it took me so long but I’m forever thankful for one of my arts management colleagues who did a presentation on the Hillwood estate for one of my classes. Because if she hadn’t, I would probably still be in the dark about its existence.
^^ From Left to Right: Tia, Don & Brandon
Most of the time when I’m out and about exploring, I’m usually by myself or with Charles. But on this particular weekend, a few of my friends were available and down to explore the Hillwood Estate with me and it was such a treat!
The day was hot and muggy with a very possible chance of rain.
We arrived, prepared to explore with umbrellas in hand, and after paying general admission – made our way to the grand mansion that had been turned into a “living museum”.
The Hillwood Estate was once home to one of America’s first female titans, Marjorie Merriweather Post.
Post as in Post Cereal Company (which eventually rebranded to General Foods Company and then later merged with Kraft Foods in the 80’s), an empire she inherited from her father at the age of 27 in 1915 after he passed at an early age.
Can you imagine? Inheriting a $250 million company at the age of 27 in 1915? And a woman at that?
What was even more crazy?
Walking into the mansion that Marjorie purchased in 1955, lived in and personally decorated with Russian imperial art and French decorative art… It was the type of art that a person would normally see in a more formal museum setting.
Hence, the term “living museum” because these pieces of art were instead put on display in her home, making the art feel more alive and relatable as we explored the mansion from bottom to top.
I mean… Take a look for yourself.
^^ Marjorie’s bedroom. It was hard to imagine actually living in a space like this.
I’d be too afraid to break something lol. And just imagine trying to keep it clean and presentable. Quite the opposite of our 600 sq. ft. #blackandyellowhome.
But hey, I guess for some people, living like this was/is normal.
After exploring the mansion, we made our way outside to check out the surrounding gardens.
At this point, it had started raining but a little water wasn’t going to stop us. If anything, I think the rain added to our experience.
For the most part, we had the gardens alllll to ourselves and it was awesome.
^^ Brandon hamming it up for the camera :)
^^ Gang’s All Here!
^^ On our way to check out the Asian Garden section of the estate.
^^ Thanks Don for this photo!
In addition to exploring the outdoor gardens, we checked out the Deco Japan exhibit = supercool and the onsite greenhouse. All in all, we spent about 3+ hours exploring the Hillwood Estate in all its opulence.
Before I go, I’d like to make a shout out to the Hillwood’s security team…
As we were exploring the empty kitchen in the mansion, I opened one of the fridges not realizing there was a sign that said “Do Not Touch” (apparently it was right in front of me?). Less than a minute later, a security guard popped out and stated she had been summoned because the cameras caught us touching the exhibit… Guilty as charged lol. After the soft reprimand, we scurried off to the next room and for the rest of the day, we jokingly reminded each other to “do not touch”!
Anyways, I guess I say this to give anyone a heads up who plans to visit the estate that there are cameras everywhere, whether you see them or not. Just because it’s a home, don’t forget that it’s actually a museum.
A living museum.
The “do not touch” sign really means “do not touch”.
With that said, admission to the Hillwood Estate is $18, $10 for students. It’s not metro accessible but parking is free.
I recommend going on a day where there’s good weather for a picnic. The Hillwood allows you to bring your own food and provides complimentary picnic blankets for you to dine al fresco in their gardens. The perfect setting for little getaway smack in the middle of D.C. Explore from top to bottom and get your money’s worth.
Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens
4155 Linnean Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 2008
(linking up with wanderful wednesday)