Open House at Dumbarton Oaks this Saturday

If you’ve never seen the famous Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown, this Saturday is a great time to change that because it’ll be free and open with lots going on 10:00 to 2:00. Details below, but first, why do we care about Dumbarton Oaks, anyway?

It’s beautiful, of course.  But also..

The History

Because it was designed by Beatrix Farrand, one of the most revered landscape architects in American history, who was also the very first woman in the American Society of Landscape Architecture.  Farrand designed many other major sites, too – the White House, the campuses of Princeton and Yale – but Dumbarton Oaks is one of the few remaining today.

The design of Dumbarton Oaks can be considered a hybrid, as Farrand was influenced by Italian, and French traditions but was also closely aligned with the English Gardening Movement and Gertrude Jekyll’s planting designs.  To all those traditions she added important new elements that are still popular today – outdoor rooms using plants as strong design elements. 

The Dumbarton Oaks, once enjoyed by local gentry, foreign dignitaries, and poets, is now part of Rock Creek Park, so owned by all Americans.  Highlights from its storied history include: Igor Stravinsky wrote his Concerto for Dumbarton Oaks; Robert Frost spoke on behalf of the Wilderness Act in the Park’s meadow.


WHEN:  Saturday, May 4th from 10 to 2:00.

WHERE:  The entrance to the Dumbarton Oaks gardens is at R and 21st Streets, NW in Washington.

WHAT:  Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy is hosting an Open House for one of Washington’s most historic and bucolic urban parks. . The Conservancy (the group working to restore and protect the park and the landscapes within it) will celebrating the park with poetry, music, and historic tours, as well as opportunities to experience and learn about the Park’s environment.

Open House Highlights:

10:30 am: Free Children’s Music Class in the Meadow with Levine School of Music  (Parents welcome!)

12:00 noon: Poetry with Grace Cavalieri, DC poet laureate and host of The Poet and the Poem series at the Library of Congress


  • Walking tours and exhibits
  • Wildlife learning station
  • Information on RiverSmart and energy-efficient homes
  • Park restoration activities (If you want to lend the park a helping hand, join in one of several weeding parties that day and come prepared to tackle English ivy.)
  • Art in the meadow (Artists invited to sketch and paint).
Photo Credits::  From the daily blog, and Dumbarton Oaks website.