Now don’t get me wrong, the National Mall is amazing. Still to this day, I love walking by national monuments that represent our country and hold such a rich history. A-M-E-R-I-C-A!!! But it is nice to have something different up your sleeve to wow your out-of-town guests that’s oh-so- D.C.
Well, I’ve got just the thing for you.
Over Easter, my mom, Brian, and I toured Hillwood Estates and Gardens. Home to Marjorie Merriweather Post, heir to the Post cereal fortune. I like to call myself a cereal connoisseur and basically lived off of cereal in college. Grape-Nuts, invented by Marjorie’s father, just happens to be one of my favorites.
Marjorie was quite the socialite of her day, and was known to host a mean party. Not to sell her short, she’s also known as the one of the first business women in America, an art collector, and a dedicated philanthropist.
The weather couldn’t have been better the day we visited. Before our tour of the mansion began, we walked around the gardens and ate lunch. We packed a picnic and snagged a spot where we could enjoy the view.
Afterwards we toured the lovely mansion with our knowledgeable docent who shared stories of Marjorie’s full life. She was not only an art collector, but a very strong business woman. With her second husband, Wall Street financier Edward F. Hutton, she formed the General Foods Corporation. She traveled with her third husband, Joseph E. Davies,to the Soviet Union, where he served as the American ambassador right before World War II. Hillwood Estates now houses the largest fabrege’ egg collection outside of Russia.
My favorite stories though weren’t about her wealth and riches, but of her kindness and generosity. Over the years, she donated millions of dollars to charities, including $100,000 to build the Kennedy Center.
Some of my favorite pieces of her collection were (all pictured below):
- Catherine the Great’s Fabrage Easter Egg: first gifted to Maria Fedorovna
- Martha Washington’s China
- German Drawing Table: This intricate desk is fitted with a full range of mechanical devices that open almost forty hidden compartments and secret drawers.
- Marie Antoinette’s dressing chair: A swivel chair, where she sat for hours while her hair was quaffed and styled.
- Her 1920’s party dresses
Check out the Hillowood Estates Welcome Video for a glimpse into Marjorie’s lavish house and life.