Marjorie Merriweather Post was a baller

Washington, D.C.

Charlotte’s time in D.C. is winding down — which means so are opportunities to “play tourist.”

The nation’s capital is rich with free museums, parks and cultural exhibits. Living here for several years, however, it was easy for me to fall into a routine and not take advantage of it all. There was always an excuse: too crowded, too hot, too hungover. Not to say this stopped us from getting out and visiting some of my favorite spots, including the National Arboretum, the Newsuem and the National Archives. (And an insider tour of the Pentagon.)

Add to that list the Hillwood Estate, the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post, the heiress to the Post Cereals empire. At one point, she was the wealthiest woman in America, splitting her time between Mar-A-Lago, the fantastic Palm Beach property now owned by Donald Trump, and her equally impressive estate in Northwest D.C.

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Charlotte’s friend, Laura, works there, so she gave us a private tour of the mansion and beautiful, manicured surrounding formal gardens — ranging from a French Parterre to a Japanese-style with a koi pond and waterfall.

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Hillwood has been preserved since Post’s death in 1973. These retro lawn chairs and umbrella from the seventies were especially cool.

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As impressive as the grounds are, Hillwood’s real treasures are inside. It turns out that Post was quite the little art collector. She had her own curator who essentially turned her house into a museum — and, in doing so, helped her amass the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia as well as a world-renowned collection of eighteenth-century French decorative art and furnishings.

Unfortunately, cameras weren’t allowed inside. But, on our way out, we did snap some photos at Post’s greenhouse devoted exclusively to orchids.

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Needless to say, this woman did not mess around.

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Comments

  1. Drue Ray says:

    Wasn’t there a collection of Faberge’egss from the Russian royal family housed here? WEre these returned to Russia? You have inspired me, next time in DC…a must see!

  2. Lovely!

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