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“Great escape and interesting stories”

Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens
Ranked #10 of 466 things to do in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Hillwood, the grand estate of Post Cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, sits on 25 acres overlooking Rock Creek Park in northwest Washington DC. Along with a world renowned collection of Russian and French decorative arts, Hillwood also features extensive gardens and special exhibitions.
Reviewed May 24, 2013

The beautiful Hillwood mansion has a fascinating story from the life of an insainly rich family. All the artifacts collected have a tale to tell, and the guides (we came across) we exceptionally well versed in these tales ans well as relevant historic events as well.

The garden is beautiful and each section has its own theme and story. The orchids in the special greenhouse is stunning.

Well worth a few hours !

1  Thank smbjerke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"marjorie merriweather post"
in 143 reviews
"faberge eggs"
in 91 reviews
"russian art"
in 86 reviews
"japanese garden"
in 74 reviews
"decorative arts"
in 39 reviews
"van ness"
in 20 reviews
"pet cemetery"
in 15 reviews
"post cereal fortune"
in 14 reviews
"garden tour"
in 23 reviews
"jewelry exhibit"
in 11 reviews
"soviet union"
in 12 reviews
"audio tour"
in 46 reviews
"rose garden"
in 24 reviews
"rock creek park"
in 27 reviews
"beautiful things"
in 14 reviews
"toast cereal"
in 22 reviews
"suggested donation"
in 12 reviews

706 - 710 of 1,064 reviews

Reviewed May 20, 2013

We had a lovely visit to Hillwood Estate/Gardens - home of Majorie Merriweather Post. The home and extensive art collection can be viewed with an audio tour (about 90 minutes). The gardens were beautiful in the Spring and the audio tour lasts about 60 minutes. We have been coming to DC for many years and had never heard of this museum. It is definitely worth a visit!!! There is a reasonable cafe and areas for a picnic.

1  Thank ginnyBeamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 15, 2013 via mobile

I should start by saying I feel sorry for anyone who cannot see the beauty in the gardens and exhibits. The gardens are breath taking; I wish I'd had more time to just linger in them. Yes, the house is filled with Ms. Post's collection, which would clearly not be to everyone's liking (but no sour grape posts are necessary). She was wealthy beyond imagination and chose to leave, and display, her passion to the public. The Russian exhibit is very interesting. The cafe, which will get its own review, should not be overlooked for lunch or a wonderful dessert -- perhaps with a nice glass of wine. The gift store has souveniers priced for everyone. It is truly a hidden gem only 5 1/2 miles from Union Station (the cab ride was $20, not including the tip). I am so happy we chose to visit Hillwood! I don't believe anyone would be disappointed with the visit.

Thank Voice1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 15, 2013

This is the former home of the late actress Dina Merrill. The grounds surrounding this beautiful home are wonderfully sculpted gardens. There is a Japanese garden with a pond and Japanese decorative items. You can picnic on the grounds or just wander and explore.

The inside of the house is lovely too, but my favorite part of the place was Ms. Merrill's Russian Faberge egg collection. She collected many things but the Russian collection was fabulous. Hillwood also has a little cafe where you can get something to eat.

They also host special collections in another building on the grounds. When I was there they had a wedding dress collection. They also have a nice gift shop.

Great place to spend several hours.

1  Thank Duzerma58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 14, 2013

I don’t want to belabor my point, amusing as it might be. Yet I do not like Hillwood in the least. It is chilly, pretentious, and museum-like. It is, in fact, a kind of mausoleum stuck in a house that was created to be a mausoleum.

For one thing, exterior and interior match about as well as a split-level suburban and a Grecian temple. For another, the stuff that’s inside is often spotty. Being more versed in painting than I am in decorative objects, I am perhaps too prejudiced to make an even-handed assessment. Even so, I found Hillwood’s finicky displays and expensive-but-undistinguished objets d’art disappointing.

They were the life’s work of a single woman, who found her métier in collecting All Things Russian, which she did with more rapacity than restraint. The rooms in which these objects are displayed are a garden-variety, European-inspired hodgepodge. Even the dining-room, which reeks of a Georgian manor house, has an ersatz quality. I browsed its panels and entablatures with a dual motivation: I wanted to sit down at the table and order a tossed salad, but I also wanted to scratch my name into it, as lovers do on the bark of a tree. It filled me with awe on the one hand and a certain giddiness on the other. I imagined heads of state sitting there and wanted to chase them around the table and into the potting-shed. After that, it gets fuzzy. The important thing is that these people got chased.

The woman’s name was Marjorie Merriweather Post, the wife of the guy who made Post Toasties, among other breakfast cereals that became household staples. (If you use the facilities, you’ll see a group of product posters that show the pride of a great cereal empire. I preferred them to most of the paintings.)

Because paintings are my specialty, I can’t refrain from mentioning the ones at Hillwood – or, rather, ignoring most of them by design.

Ms. Post seemed to like one subject above all others: herself. Once you get past the vestibule, which is crammed with mediocre stuff in the salon-style, you’ll see fewer paintings. Yet most of them are of Ms. Post. None are very good. They do, however, tell you a bit about her. Perhaps too much. What do I think? I think she should have specified in her will for these paintings to be distributed after the tastes and inclinations of a future curator. Or given away to other institutions. If you want to shine posthumously, you’ve got to commission the best people. For all of her money, Ms. Post was getting by with lesser lights and lousy brushwork.

I know very little about gardening or space design and shouldn’t weigh in on such things. On the other hand, I found Hillwood’s physical landscape far more captivating than the mansion itself.

If you must gawk at “rich people stuff”, go somewhere else. I would suggest that you select your subjects from real life. At least they’re works-in-progress. Hillwood is the sort of place from which life has conveniently escaped. Go there if you want to start gasping. I don’t mean in awe: I mean like a fish out of water.

Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens is at: 4155 Linnean Avenue, NW/Washington, DC 20008

Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday; and on selected Sundays from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Hillwood is closed on Mondays, most national holidays, and from January 21st – through February 1st.

A donation of $15.00 is suggested, but you don’t have to pay anything. I didn’t.

1  Thank BrettBusang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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