A quiet Sunday afternoon found our hardy "historic house" group at Oatlands Plantation, a beautiful National Trust property near Leesburg, Virginia. Oatlands was established in 1802 by George Carver, a descendant of the famous Virginia colonist Robert “King” Carter. Originally designed as a classic Federal-style home, the house was transformed by Carter over the years into the magnificent Greek-revival mansion we see today. The house survived the Civil War, however the fortunes of the Carter family did not, and in 1897 the Carters sold the property to Stilson Hutchins, founder of the Washington Post. Hutchins sold the property a mere five years later to William and Edith Eustis, prominent Washingtonians who used the house as a country retreat. Their daughters gave the house, its furnishings, and some 260 surrounding acres to the Trust in the 1960s. The furnishings are a wonderful mix of 18th, 19th, and 20th-century antiques, however for me the real highlights were the amazing gardens and grounds. The peak season for the gardens is May, but I loved seeing all the little green things beginning to unfurl their leaves and poke their heads out of the winter brush.