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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hillwood opens doors every Sunday

Hillwood Estate/Photo by Patricia Leslie

Beginning Sunday, Hillwood, "where fabulous lives," the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973) in northwest Washington, will be open six days a week from 10 a.m. until 5 p. m., according to an announcement.

Lynn Rossotti, Hillwood's director of marketing and communications, said an "operational agreement" with Hillwood's neighbors, approved this month by D.C.'s Board of Zoning Adjustment, now permits the estate to be open every Sunday, rather than two Sundays a month, a policy set by a former agreement.

"Over the years, we've developed such a great relationship with the neighborhood, a feeling overall, that visitors and the neighbors want us to be open every Sunday," Ms. Rossotti said.  None of the neighbors expressed opposition to the expanded Sundays, she said.

"There's a great sense they do believe Hillwood is a benefit. They like to come over and enjoy it for the strolls and bring their visitors."
In the gardens at Hillwood Estate/Photo by Patricia Leslie

Hillwood "is a nice quiet place to enjoy your Sunday morning, and it's not as busy as Saturday" which is "really popular in the spring."
A memorial in the Hillwood gardens which reads:  "To Marjorie Merriweather Post May, In Deep and Everlasting Appreciation, Scouting's Golden Year, The National Capital Area Council and The Boy Scouts of America, April 11, 1960." In the center is a coin with two Boy Scouts and this wording: "Building Toward Unity, Youth of The Scouting World"/Photo by Patricia Leslie

Opening every Sunday will permit more time for guests to enjoy Hillwood's popular Sunday tea ("people love to come to that") for which reservations are highly recommended.  (202-243-3914.  According to the website, the price is $15 without wine; $20, with.  On weekdays the tea service is only available to groups of 10 or more.)

Settled in an established neighborhood of large homes and embassies, Hillwood is highly sensitive to those nearby and values its relationships with them, Ms. Ross0tti said. The ten-year operational agreement with the neighborhood came up for renewal last year, and changes were suggested.

Hillwood has seen a surge in visitors who have increased in number almost 60 percent since 2007, to last year's record 75,445, Ms. Rossotti said.

The merry month of May is one of Hillwood's most popular times since "everyone wants to come and enjoy the springtime, especially on Mother's Day.  We have 25 acres here," said Ms. Rossotti, with plenty of room for visitors to enjoy the grounds, the mansion, to see exhibits, and to have a spot of tea.

An exhibit now up through June 7, 2015, Splendor and Surprise,  displays secrets of 80 chests, boxes, jewelry safes, perfume bottles, and other containers, some which are 300 years old and come from different cultures.

Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973)

What:  Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens

When: Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays.

Where:  4155 Linnean Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

Suggested donation: $15 (adults), $12 (seniors), $10 (college students), $5 (children, ages 6 -18) and free for those under age 6.

Parking: Free, on-site

Biking and walking: Encouraged; bike racks, available.

For more information: 202-686-5807 or to make a reservation for Sunday tea: 202-243-3914

Metro station: Van Ness/UDC station on the Red Line, then walk a mile (mostly uphill;  taxis, available).

Metro bus stop: The L1 or L2 bus stops at the corner of Connecticut and Tilden streets, NW, about a half mile's walk to Hillwood (mostly uphill).

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