Sunday, September 26, 2010

D&C's DC: Tudor Place

One hot day over the summer, I took my camera down to Georgetown, partly for a ramble around the neighborhood, but mainly to get a look at Tudor Place, a historic-house museum and garden in the midst of all that urban bustle.

Tudor Place is a grand old house that was inhabited by a single family from 1805 to 1984, the Peters, who were relations of George Washington and who entertained many luminaries from American history.

The permanent exhibits in the house are largely centered on family life over the years, and rotating exhibits of things culled from family collections. Naturally, I couldn't take any photos inside, but I can tell you there's loads of cool stuff, including a 20s era study, loads of old books, and framed silhouettes in the drawing room. (I'm fascinated with silhouettes lately; they were quite the fad once upon a time and are charmingly old-fashioned today.)

But I nabbed some good snaps from the outside...

The southern view of Tudor Place; quite the grand place. The fences are planted with evergreens and lots of tall trees dominate the southern garden, so that even in winter you easily forget that you're in the middle of a city.

I found the floor of the portico fascinating for some reason.

A lovely Japanese tea house for outdoor dining, built by the house's last owner, Armistead Peter.

Overlooking the flower knot garden in the northern part. That's the grape arbor in the distance.

Another view of the knot garden, with a view of the sundial in the middle.

An odd little statue in a quiet corner of the garden.

The house's north face, viewed from a low angle in the garden. I like this shot, it gives the house a bit of an aura of mystery while not contriving to make it sinister or grotesque.

One of a pair of stone whippets that flank the entrance to the summer house and frame a view from there of the bowling green.

This lovely old fountain is one of several in the garden.

I loved this little lily pond in the bowling green area.

A view across the orchard area to the former tennis courts.

After Armistead Peter died in 1984, the house was opened four years later as a museum under the auspices of the Tudor Place trust, and is also rented out for weddings, picnics, and other events. House tours are $8 and well worth it. For researchers there's a manuscript archive as well. And it's only a few blocks from another favorite spot, Dumbarton Oaks.

Tudor Place is a gracious old lady, aging gracefully, clinging to some of her old ways and retaining a ton of her old-time charm, but still making enough progress to function in the modern world. Pay her a call when you're in town, won't you?

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