Local DC Gems Shine in Inaugural What's Out There Weekend

In a city of world famous and popular monuments, an under-the-radar 20-acre Country Place era estate on the edge of Rock Creek Park called Tregaron, was hands down the most popular destination in TCLF’s first ever What’s Out There Weekend (WOTW), September 25-26. It was among 25 sites located throughout the capital city for which scheduled and self-guided tours were available. The final count estimates more than 1000 people visited WOTW sites, the large majority for guided tours.

Tregaron attracted more than 125 people for each tour of the property first purchased in the 1880’s by National Geographic Society founder Gardiner Greene Hubbard. The estate was designed by Charles Platt and Ellen Shipman, and owned in the 1930’s by Ambassador Joseph Davies and Marjorie Merriweather Post (of Post cereal fortune and fame).

FDR Memorial
Francsisan Monastery
Visitors explore the FDR Memorial (top) and
the Franciscan Monastery (below) during the
inagural What's Out There weekend in
Washington, D.C.

Another site getting a boffo response, the Italianate Franciscan Monastery Gardens designed by John Joseph Earley and reminiscent of Rome’s Saint John the Lateran’s cloister. As one enthusiastic Weekend attendee emailed: “I would like to say how great the ‘What's Out There Weekend’ was. I attended the Monastery Garden … and it was a wonderful tour.”

Yes, there were plenty of people touring sites along the National Mall, including the Hirshhorn Museum’s sculpture garden, the National Gallery of Art’s East Building grounds, and the Enid Haupt Garden in the shadow of the Smithsonian’s Smithson Castle. But, gems within DC’s neighborhoods such as Meridian Hill Park, Tudor Place and Dumbarton Oaks Park drew people from around the city.

A well-attended launch party hosted by sponsor Room & Board that included representatives from additional WOTW sponsors PNC BANK, Bartlett Tree Experts, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation presaged the enthusiastic response to WOTW.

Plans are underway for What’s Out There Weekend events in San Francisco and Chicago for 2011.