Summer Sightseeing: Tudor Place Gardens

August 7, 2013

USA

Continuing with my fair weather museum recommendations, I’ve dug deep in to my archive of notes, to a place I visited over 10 years ago on my first trip to Washington, D.C. But although the individual scenes from the photographs may have changed slightly, the place is still there, offering a welcome escape from the bustling city centre and cool shade from the summer sunshine on the Mall, amidst its leafy greens.

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Tudor Place is a federal-style mansion in Georgetown Heights dating back to the early 19th century. As well as housing an impressive collection of European and American decorative arts, collected by the house’s family in their 179 years of ownership, Tudor Place itself has been declared a National Historic Landmark and is known as a premier example of American neoclassical architecture.

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However, today it’s not the house I want to draw your attention to, but the gardens. Of the original 8.5 acre plot that Tudor Place was built on, 5.5 acres remain, maintaining much of the gardens’ original features such as the boxwood ellipse, flower knot and bowling green. The former tennis court was replaced in the 20th century by a lawn, and a Japanese Tea House was added by one of the later family tenants. The property includes over 400 trees, including the famous “D.C. Millennium Tree,” a 200-year-old tulip poplar.

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Admission to the house is by docent-led guided tour only and costs $10 (concessions available), but admission to the tranquil oasis of the gardens is self-guided and only costs $3. Check the Tudor Place website for details on the different tours, opening times and directions.

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