A La Carte
Beatrix Farrand, the first woman American landscape architect, has been seen about town promoting the preservation of Dumbarton Oaks Park. The Park is the major portion of her masterwork, Dumbarton Oaks Estate.
This Saturday, May 4th, meet Beatrix Farrand from 10:00 to 2:00 pm at Dumbarton Oaks Park during an all-day Open House hosted by Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy.
One of Washington's most historic and bucolic urban parks, Dumbarton Oaks, designed by Beatrix Farrand and once enjoyed by local gentry, foreign dignitaries, and poets, is now part of Rock Creek Park, one of 401 National Parks Service properties across the country. Over the years the park has inspired many luminaries from across this country and around the world. Igor Stravinsky wrote his Concerto for Dumbarton Oaks and Robert Frost spoke on behalf of the Wilderness Act in the Park's meadow.
The Conservancy will celebrate the Park's rich cultural heritage with poetry, music, and historic tours, as well as opportunities to experience and learn about the Park's environment. "This really is a jewel of a landscape, and it deserves to be protected and enjoyed," says Conservancy president, Rebecca Trafton. Those who want to lend the park a helping hand can join one of several weeding parties that day. Open House Highlights:
10:30 am: Free Children's Music Class in the Meadow with Levine School of Music (Parents welcome!)
12:00 noon: Poetry with Grace Cavalieri, DC poet laureate and host of The Poet and the Poem series at the Library of Congress
Ongoing: Walking tours and exhibits Wildlife learning station Information on RiverSmart and energy-efficient homes Park restoration activities (Come dressed to pull English ivy!) Art in the meadow (Artists invited to sketch and paint.)
The Conservancy is especially proud to host poet Grace Cavalieri, who has written a poem for the Park, "In
the Beauty of the City,” which she will debut on May 4th. Ms. Cavalieri invites other poets and the public join her in sharing poems about nature.
The Open House is part of the Partners in Preservation program that seeks to increase the public's awareness of the importance of historic preservation and to preserve America's historic and cultural places.
Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy is one of 24 organizations competing to receive funding in the $1million giveaway sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express.
PHOTO OPS: Poetry Reading with Grace Cavalieri, noon
Music and Art in the Meadow, ongoing
INTERVIEW OP: Rebecca Trafton, President, Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy
CONTACT: Rebecca Trafton, Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy, 434.249.3376,
Dumbarton Oaks Park is located on R St NW in Georgetown between Avon and 31st Streets.
The 2013 Patron's Party for the Georgetown House Tour officially began when Grande Dame of Georgetown, 97-year old Frida Burling arrived, sparkling in turquoise.
After all, it was Frida's idea a dozen years ago to raise charitable funds for the annual house tour. Past Patron Party hosts have included former Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee and his wife Sally Quinn, author Kitty Kelley, developer Herb Miller and his wife Patrice, and, sadly, the late Curt Winsor, Bank of Georgetown President and his wife Debbie.
Honoring the residents who have graciously opened their homes for the annual public event (this year on April 27th), the Georgetown House Tour Patrons’ Party drew Georgetowners, friends of St. John’s Church, and their guests to a landmark Georgetown home for a festive evening.
This year's Spring soirée was held at the stately and elegant P Street residence of Tom Anderson and Marc Schappell of Washington Fine Properties. Their early 19th century home, masterfully restored and renovated, was generously opened to several hundred chic and natty guests who enjoyed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.
After saving, literally, everything: receipts, bills, extracted teeth, rubber bands, letters (and their carbon copies), my Girl Scout compass, envelopes and stamps (both cancelled postage and collectible), paper clips, Mont Blanc pens, leather anything, 37 well-chewed pipes, empty cookie tins, and U.S. currency (thankfully!) … for 91 years, my father now has to decide which 200 or so volumes from his personal library to take to Brighton Gardens.
For this trilingual history professor, the selections are somewhat predictable.
Tap tap tap zing tap tap tap zing tap tap tap zing zzzzzzzip. Turns out that tune emanating from the Smith-Corona was not all about completing a lengthy thesis on the French Revolution. Erotica (many, many volumes of it), penned but never shared or published, nestle snugly between seven decades of diaries and Life magazines.
Recent maladies have made independent living impossible. The past 53 years he has resided in the home in which I grew up. For a man whose idea of leisure wear is a tweed Burberry jacket, striped button down shirt, sleeveless wool vest, and bow tie (in all four seasons), his graceful transition to nylon running suits, tube socks and polo shirts is nothing short of remarkable.
He mentally reviews every room, meticulously stuffed from floor-to-ceiling with cardboard fortresses protecting his treasure troves. He zeroes in on the essentials.
“There’s a pistol upstairs in the second drawer of my bureau on the right side next to the blue socks. You have to take it to the police immediately because you can’t transport it across state lines.” A pistol? My father with a firearm?
Well, the bullets I learned are kept in his study downstairs behind three rows deep of dusty books and a metal cabinet filled with Faroe Island stamps. The excavation has not progressed that far. Meanwhile, more surprising, the condoms found next to the pistol, expiration date 2004. And, because redundancy is his middle name, a second pistol discovered in another bedroom, also minus ammunition.
“Don’t forget to look into the book to the left of Ploetz. There’s cash inside.” And placing money inside Ploetz is too obvious for the robbers?
“You have to call The Economist and tell them I moved.”
Three months in the hospital have taken their toll. But when it’s 10:16 and the physical therapist said he was coming at 10:15, it’s time to be concerned that "the whole morning will be shot."
Besides the books, what tops this nonagenarian's must-have list is operatic music (starting with early Verdi), his favorite painting by my mother of a Puma (mine too), family photos, and Mont Blanc pens.
Ok, now here's what tops the book list:
Kurt Beermann PhD Dissertation: “Reception of the French Revolution in the New York State Press 1788-1791”
Big fat French, German and English dictionaries
Histoire Universelle, Encyclopédie de la Pléiade (three volumes)
Leather-bound literature starting with Shakespeare
Merck Manual Medical Dictionary
Holy Bible in English, 1895 prayer books in Hebrew belonging to his father
Mystery stories including Sherlock Holmes and Dorothy L. Sayers
Two-volume Dictionary of Biographies (in French)
And, of course, Ploetz.