I live across the river in Alexandria, VA, and love taking visitors to this hidden gem. Today it was three teenage grandchildren. It is always a complete surprise. The story of how Marjorie Merriwether Post created this museum and estate is well told in the opening movie in the Visitors Center. You can tour the mansion with an audio guide or accompany knowledgeable volunteer guides to see her remarkable collection of Russian art and jewelry, Faberge eggs, French and Russian furniture, and a huge porcelain collection displayed throughout the mansion in cases with built-in lighting. There is also French art and furniture in addition to Russian, including the upholstered swivel chair in which Marie Antoinette sat to have her hair dressed and powdered. The dining room, set to serve 16, but could serve many more, is memorable, as is the bright and cheerful breakfast nook overlooking the lovely formal garden. The gardens outside include a Russian style dacha, flower gardens to supply the mansion and cafe, a lovely Japanese garden with extended waterfalls, a rose garden and greenhouse with orchids. Words can't really describe it all. Do try the borscht in the cafe.
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