As you can imagine, Washington is quite a beehive of activity these days. Viewing stands have been set up along Pennsylvania Avenue, the inaugural platform has been constructed, and today five gigantic flags were hung between the pillars of the Capitol Building (one of my favorite sights!). Emails are flooding in from friends who will be here for the big day, asking me to suggest things to see and do that weekend. So, I have been thinking about places to visit beyond the Mall and away from the crowds. I thought it might be fun to share with you all some of the wonderful historic houses and small museums that make "unofficial" Washington such a great place. Since the list is rather long, I am breaking it up into neighborhoods, and will share it all over the next week or so. Today ~ Dupont Circle and Kalorama:
* Anderson House ~ Set in the heart of Dupont Circle and embassy row, this magnificent Beaux Arts mansion is the headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati. Stefan over at Architect Design recently did a great piece on the house and as you can see, it really is worth a saturday visit!
* Heurich House (The Brewmaster’s Castle) ~ The home of Christian Heurich, Washington’s famous brewmaster. I live (literally!) within a stone’s throw of this impressive mansion, and so I know it well. Don’t let its imposing exterior deter you ~ it has one of the most complete late-Victorian interiors in the country.
* The Textile Museum ~ One of my favorite Sunday afternoon haunts. Housed in two historic mansions on S Street, one of which was the former residence of the museum’s founder, George Hewitt Myers (and was designed by John Russell Pope). There is a lovely garden and a fabulous little gift shop. Afterwards, grab a cup of tea at nearby Teaism ~ or if you crave something a little stronger, try Veritas.
* Woodrow Wilson House ~ The only presidential residence within the District of Columbia. Administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, it provides an amazingly intimate look at a truly extraordinary statesman. Combine it with a visit to the neighboring Textile Museum.
* The Phillips Collection ~ The Phillips long ago outgrew its original 1897 Georgian Revival mansion, and now extends through a complex of buildings on 21st Street. It houses a world-class collection of modern art and is one of my favorite small museums!
(note: all of these places are within walking distance of the Dupont Circle metro station)
P.S. The above image is a detail of the exterior decoration on the Heurich House.