A little chill in the air (or a lot, for that matter) never stops us from getting outdoors. In fact, sometimes that’s exactly what entices us to get out — crisp, cool weather and the brilliant hues of autumn foliage or even colder temps and the exhilaration that comes as we warm up with activity.
And at Dumbarton Oaks Gardens in Georgetown, there’s an extra appeal to al fresco outings during the cool seasons: Free admission. From November 1 – March 15, you can wander around the 10 acres of enchanting terraces and landscaped plots at your leisure — without paying a dime.
We enjoyed both the complimentary admission and the gorgeous autumn weather there with friends this past weekend, and it was a perfect time to go. Fall flowers are on display, and there are stunning views of brilliant foliage of Dumbarton Oaks Park just behind the gardens.
You can read more about Dumbarton Oaks Gardens in a post from awhile back. And this one will give you a glimpse of our most recent visit. Something to note if you plan to visit is the limited hours — the gardens are only open 2-6pm Tuesday through Sunday. But it’s worth planning around that short span of time to go. You can do like we did and enjoy a picnic at Montrose Park right next door, take a short hike on the trail just behind the grounds, or grab some lunch on M Street before making your way to the gardens.
Dumbarton Oaks Gardens are located at 31st and R Streets NW in Georgetown. It’s open Tuesday – Sunday from 2-5pm (closed Federal holidays). Admission is free from November 1 – March 15. During the regular season, March 15 – October 31, it’s $7 per person.
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“Once you walk through these gates, you don’t feel like you’re in the city anymore,” says Sarah Kelley, the docent on a recent tour.You may not feel like you’re in the 21st century either. (Is that Captain von Trapp over there on the lower terrace of the North Vista stealing a kiss from Maria?) There’s a fairy-tale quality to the gardens: An image of a faun points you toward Melisande’s Allee, a small path beyond the Lovers’ Lane Pool that disappears into the verdant foliage. An American Beech tree that is about 60 years old shades Beech Terrace, where a covered bench in the corner bids you to sit.