In any other city this house and its surrounding gardens would be a main attraction, but with so many museums in Washington, D.C., Dumbarton Oaks is often unduly relegated to a future trip.
Maybe more famous than the Museum itself are the gardens, beautifully landscaped with sophistication. It’s easy to stay there the whole afternoon once you’ve found a good reading nook. For the wanderers, the paths will take you many places. The gardens are open year round and entrance is free until March 14. If what you want is to walk outdoors in nature, be sure to also visit the National Arboretum (check it out here).
The manor is an attraction on its own. This is where the Dumbarton Oaks Conference took place, and countries negotiated the postwar creation of the United Nations. This former private residence has been a Harvard University Institute dedicated to research and art since the ’40s. Unfortunately it is closed this winter and will reopen in the spring.
There are many interesting architectural features but the grandeur of the Music Room takes my breath away – the intricately painted wood ceiling is mesmerizing. I could almost finish without mentioning the Byzantine and Pre-Colombian art (in the attached pavilion), but that wouldn’t be fair. It is a small but well curated collection with textiles, jewelry, statues and paintings. The entrance to the Museum is free.
The last note is about the gift shop where you can find unique arts and crafts.