All the years I've lived in the D.C. area, I can't believe I've never been to Hillwood. I'd never even heard of it until recently when a friend posted a picture on social media of the bridge above from the Japanese-style garden.
I had heard a couple of weeks ago about the special exhibit they currently have running on Princess Grace, and since I'm a royal enthusiast, I thought it would be a nice place to visit when my mom came to town.
We had a great day and I can't wait to go back!
Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens is off of Connecticut Avenue in NW DC. It is the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post. I have heard of the name before, and of course know some of the things named after her like Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, but never really knew much about this extraordinary woman until my visit here.
I've become so interested in her life that I've been scouring the internet trying to find good biographies, and also found a great podcast called The History Chicks, which did a couple of episodes on her.
Marjorie was a socialite, philanthropist, art collector, businesswoman and so much more. Hillwood was her primary residence in the spring and fall from 1955 until her death in 1973. She donated her estate so that it could become a museum, and other people could enjoy her home, gardens, and extensive art collection.
I spent about four hours at Hillwood. I arrived early and got tickets for the garden tour and the house tour. Each takes about an hour, and the docents who lead these tours are excellent!
I took the garden tour first and was with a couple of people who knew the docent leading the tour. They told me all the docents have to study for at least six months to even be considered for a docent position at Hillwood! The two docents I had were extremely knowledgeable, friendly and entertaining, and that made the tour that much more enjoyable.
I didn't take many pictures inside the house, but did get some spectacular shots in the gardens. I especially loved the French parterre garden (above) and the Japanese-style garden (below).
I also learned that Marjorie loved dogs, so there is a dog cemetery on the property. Since I also am a dog person, I took a stroll through the cemetery and was surprised to see that one of her relatives had a dog named Lisa!
There are several others gardens and buildings to explore on the property, including the Adirondack Building, which houses the special exhibit on Grace Kelly, Grace of Monoco: Princess in Dior.
Admission to the special exhibit is included with your admission. Admission to Hillwood is very reasonable -- a suggested of donation of $18, less for seniors and students.
They also have memberships available, which I'm looking into because I loved my visit so much!
This is a wonderful place to visit and I wish more people knew about it. It really is one of D.C.'s treasures. You can find out more at www.HillwoodMuseum.org