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Staycation: Secret Gardens

September 30, 2011

If you’re in DC this weekend, please join me and other area bloggers to Take a Bite Out of Breast Cancer by dining at Hudson Restaurant in Dupont Circle Saturday night. 35% of the proceeds go toward breast cancer awareness and treatment for young people in the DC area.

When I was little, one of the (many) book characters I wanted to be was Mary in The Secret Garden. Okay, not the cholera epidemic, orphaned, friendless, creepy uncle parts, but the part that finds a peaceful garden. I loved the idea of having this secret place that was all mine, just mine — and the idea of carrying around a big, old-fashioned key was appealing too.

I may never have found the Secret Garden but there are some beautiful places right here in Washington where you can almost get the same feeling.

Dumbarton Oaks: Even the entrance looks like a scene from The Secret Garden! The gardens have been cultivated since the 1920s and were meticulously planned out by the owners, from where the benches would be to how to shape the topiaries. Even as fall creeps in, there’s still plenty to see, including gorgeous gold, orange and red leaves covering the trees.

Hillwood Estate: Anyone planning an outdoor wedding? This would be the perfect place for it! This massive estate, the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post (as in, Merriweather Post Pavilion) is beautiful even in October. Each section of the garden (like garden ‘rooms’) has its own theme but they flow together as one continuous landscape.

Tudor Place: Truthfully, I’ve mostly wanted to visit Tudor Place over the years because they have an amazing-sounding tea and Christmas activities, but the gardens look nice, too. Originally owned by Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Tudor Place’s gardens now include a bowling green, tennis lawn and Japanese teahouse.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens: Located in Anacostia, this garden includes ponds full of beautiful floating water lilies. The park is surrounded on 3 sides by the original wetlands DC was built on so if you want to know why DC is so darn humid in the summer, check out the wetlands and blame DC’s founders for building on them!

Update: National Cathedral Gardens: Lindsay said in the comments that National Cathedral Gardens is her favorite in DC. She’s a fantastic photographer who has stunning photos of the grounds and gardens on her blog — check them out!

Tell me: do you have a ‘secret garden’ near you? Know a place not on my list? And where else should I visit as part of my on-going DC staycation?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2011 8:59 am

    I absolutely love Dumbarton Oaks and was just recently looking around for some other gardens in the area. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. September 30, 2011 9:46 am

    My favorite are the Cathedral Gardens!! Have TONS of photos from there here – Need to check these ones out though!

    • September 30, 2011 6:16 pm

      These photos are gorgeous! I’m going to add your link to this post!

  3. Life's a Bowl permalink
    September 30, 2011 3:08 pm

    Thanks again for all the great, “secret wonders” in the DC area! I have lived here my whole life and I obviously haven’t done enough exploring… Gotta make a list of “to-visits”!

  4. September 30, 2011 8:06 pm

    When I was kid, my dad lived near the National Cathedral and he used to take me to Dumbarton Oaks.

  5. October 7, 2011 11:15 am

    National Arboretum – fabulous – especially in the spring when the azaleas are in bloom.


  1. Staycation: My Favorite Places in DC « Travel Eat Repeat

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