Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Megabus ... the way to go!

I had read in the Summer 2011 IOLI Bulletin about Marjorie Merriweather Post's Lace Exhibition at the Hillwood Museum in Washington D.C. and told James that I would love to see it. I few days ago I read it again and saw that it will be over at the end of the year. Oh, no. Well, dear James said "let's go" and went to his computer.

First he bought round-trip"Megabus" tickets  from Richmond Main Station to Washington DC. Then he booked a hotel room for one night. Special rates right now since the politicions have gone home. And oh yes, he also bought tickets for a concert at the Kennedy Center.

We are waiting at Main Station.

The bus was on time and quite comfy with power jacks and WiFi. The two of us going there was $23 and coming back $14 for a total for both of us including 50c reservation fee was $37.50. Isn't that great?
The bus has an upstairs and a downstairs. We were upstairs ... quite comfy.
Only about two hours ... first sign of DC.
 Arrived. The Megabus.
The lobby of the Hamilton Crowne Plaza. Room on the 14th floor. Quite comfy too.
 At the Kennedy Center. "Christmas Music" with the Choral Arts Society Chorus and the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra, also Mezzo-soprano Irina Shishkova.
We were early because we were not sure how long it would take us with the subway and the complementary Kennedy Center shuttle from the subway station. So we had decided to splurge a little and have a cocktail and nibbles at the Center if we had time. Well, the restaurant was closed because of a private party. The only place available was the cafeteria. Merlot in plastic glasses and bags of chips were not quite what we had envisioned .... But you can see in James' face that we took it how we always take things like this.
The big foyer with JFK's head on the left. On the right is the same in a mirror. At the far end you can see a stage were we watched for a while a free performance of "Hansel and Gretel", compliments of The Embassy of Germany.
Looking in anticipation at the stage where we will soon see about 145 choir members.  The selection of music pieces was wonderful ... Bach, Rutter, Tchaikovsky, Schubert ... in German, English, Latin and Russian. We even were some sing-a-longs ... and since the Ambassador of the Russian Federation was a patron, we also "had to" learn the first verse of "Silent Night" in Russian and sing it several times. The audience was great because it sounded fantastic. Most of them must be choral members somewhere.

The next morning we took a taxi to the Hillwood Estate and Museum.
Have a look at

The first thing we learned was that the exhibition was extended to January 15.

The estate consists of several buildings.  We headed straight for the Adirondack Building since we didn't know how it would work out with our time.

No photography allowed inside here. But you can get an impression at the above website. The Hapsburg Veil mentioned in the IOLI article is truly breathtaking. But it is not the only eye-candy. Even James enjoyed the exhibition.

When you pay for your ticket you have the choice between a guided tour or an audio gadget. The audio thing where you press numbers when you want to know about something you are standing in front of is SUPER.
On the way to the main mansion a quick look. In the middle on the horizon you can see the Washington Monument.
Just a quick look at the Japanese garden section. The grounds are beautiful and must be well worth a repeat visit in summer.
 The formal garden on the side.
 The front of the mansion.
 First impression when you enter.
Close-up of some of the ornaments on the Christmas tree.
 Lots of built-ins to show the collection.
Nice, but Gretchen's lace switch plate from a previous blog might be more my thing.
The rooms were incredible. I can't really show you enough, only a taste.

But look ... lace. And you were allowed to take photos here, but only without flash.

Russian Christmas (mercury glass, unsilvered glass, and painted) ornaments in a vitrine in the Russian room. Marjorie Merriweather Post's third husband was the ambassador to Russia at one point. Many of her beautiful things came from there.

You can see the painting of "A Boyar Wedding Feast" on the website. 

 The Faberge collection is incredible. Words fail me.

Porcelain figurines.
This is one of the above. I can't figure out what she is doing. Do you have an explanation? There is a thin wire (may be posing as thread) incorporated.
I took this picture because of the lamp with the elephant. We have one (because we collect elephants on our trips) James bought at a fundraiser. May be we should take it to a PBS trunk show? It could be worth something, haha.

This table display was inspired by Dina Merrill's wedding luncheon. Dina (born Nedenia Hutton) is Marjorie's child with second husband (youngest of three daughters altogether).
The table is huge. So is the table cloth. Such eye-candy.

Look at that table setting ... the four different glasses! Our taxi driver, who was around when Mrs. Post was still alive, told us that she threw incredible parties.

One of six leaves for the table which dates 1928 and was made in Florence, Italy. It can be extended to 28 feet and is made from many different kinds of stones and marble etc. You can see the colors shimmer through the table cloth.
Another view. You can see the opening to the breakfast room.
 The breakfast room with lots of plants.
Did you notice the chandelier in the previous picture?

about 1780
It is actually from the Summer Palace from Katherine the Great.
She also liked to collect ecclesiastic things. Most of them are from Russia.

 Love this portable sacraments box. It's from 1793 and silver.
 And there is more upstairs.
Those chandelier pieces were real quartz. Some were huge, the size of a small hand. You could see the natural inclusions.

 Lace in the bedrooms.
 Lace on the shoes. She had tiny feet.

Wedding gown of a relative (stepdaughter?) in the guest quarters.
 Yes, beautiful lace.

She was also a lover of orchids and had a big greenhouse. No time for this today though.

Of to the cafe next door in the former garage/carriage house. Really nice food for lunch!
Back to the visitor center. See the birds on the roof? Not sure what they are for. Something to do with snow?
Taxi from the Museum to the bus at Union Station. Cute shops there!

Then waiting for the bus. It was on time.
The Capitol from the bus window.

Soon we are back home. All is well. What a great little trip!!!


  1. what a wonderful trip....that James, he's a peach!


  2. These are such lovely photos. I'm glad you guys had a great time. Those birds on the roof make a great accent. Ahh... I want a tour like yours ASAP. =)

  3. Lovely getaway! I was born in Washington and spent all of my young life there, but I've never toured this home. I'd love to see the whole thing.