My Happy Place

I love gardens. Always have- probably always will. While I was on vacation in Arlington, Virginia five weeks ago. I got to go and explore historic mansions (I mean HELLO! Gorgeous) to accompany those beautiful homes the owners always accompanied it with beautiful and grand gardens.

I love stepping back into history in that kind of way- I’ve always felt like I was getting to walk where these people walked-right into their sanctuary. I think I’ve always had a love for being outside among the trees and flowers. I remember being a kid and playing under the shade of a beautiful tree and playing “hidden garden” in the lilac bushes.

I have no idea why rich people back in the day had big gardens and homes. But I find it amazing. My friend Marie and I were awestruck as we walked around the beautiful Dumbarton Oaks House and Garden in Georgetown, VA. As I was walking around them I instantly felt transported back into a simpler time. Felt like Jane Austen’s heroine- Elizabeth Bennett come to life! My heart was doing somersaults and there was a smile on my face for hours!

“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon

verdure is the most perfect refreshment” -Jane Austen

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I mean can we just talk about how amazing this building looks? Can you believe in years gone by that this was a private resident? That these walls have seen families and dance parties and that this was someone’s home away from home. After a long day they came home to this!? Marie and I were joking back and forth- you have the East wing I have the west wing- perfect! As I explored this place more and more- I completely forgot I was almost smacked in the city. Not even a couple hours away was the hustle and bustle of traffic and people going to and from work. Yet- I felt so hidden away and relaxed.

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Dumbarton Oaks was Robert and Mildred Bliss’s country home in the now historical Georgetown District. In 1920 it was a “old fashioned home” standing in a neglected area of town. Just itching to become Mildred’s paradise. The duo bought the fifty-three-acre property.

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A year later Mildred and landscape gardener- Beatrix Farrand went to work to design the garden- from where the benches should go to where the plots of different types of gardens should be planted every little detail was carefully handled by the duo.

”  At Dumbarton Oaks you have created something very beautiful, very special both in the garden and inside the house. It will remain a monument to your taste, knowledge and understanding—a delight to all who visit it and a great resource to those who are fortunate enough to work there.” Robert Bliss to Mildred Bliss, 1940

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Since then other architects have worked on the gardens to improve the different functions. For more history on the beautiful gardens here. For a moment in a day I got to forget about being a twenty three year old in the twenty first century surrounded by the modern conveniences. I got to take my time and stroll through the rose gardens and smell every single one- I got to sit by the Lover’s Lane Pool.

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Marie and I were saying over and over- how the heck was this someone’s house!? Could you imagine you come home from work trying to find where someone is!? I now understand why people needed slaves! I was telling Marie- I have no idea where in this garden would be “my” spot. You know the one spot you go to. To help distress- to unwind to relax- to have a cup of tea and cuddle up reading Pride and Prejudice for the hundredth time. I’m sure my family all thought I was nuts. I was like a little kid in a candy shop- smiling from ear to ear as we explored a whole other section- just as beautiful as the last. Marie even joked with my family that they lost me for a couple of hours.

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I couldn’t help it! I was and still am so obsessed! I already want to go back- can you even imagine how it would look like in bloom! Oh my goodness! I would highly recommend! I firmly believe we all have a little kid still in us who love getting lost in trees and smelling the flowers and chasing waterfalls. I don’t thinking loosing your imaginations is a good thing. I was so flabbergasted by the beauty that was surrounding me I was having a hard time processing just how amazing this moment of time was! I will say wear comfortable shoes and just have fun! Allow yourself to get lost in time gone by- and enjoy the fruit of their labor. I can’t wait to plan my next trip. But for now- I will go off in make believe land to Pemberley where I can be Elizabeth Bennett all over again.

Thanks Dumbarton Oaks- for SUCH a swell time! Thanks for becoming my new happy place! You will always hold a special moment in my heart.

 

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