Day 25

Van Ness, Forest Hills, Cleveland Park (August 8, 2019)

After a week away at the beach, we once again set out to explore Ward 3 on a beautiful summer evening. We started in Van Ness and turned down Upton Street, passing by Edmund Burke School. Burke is a private, progressive school with approximately 300 6th to 12th grade students. Founded in 1968, it is named for the British philosopher, Edmund Burke, who many point to as the founder of modern conservatism. Like all the schools that we have come across so far, Burke has undergone a major renovation in recent years, adding a new building in 2006.

Further down Upton, we walked by another well known Washington learning establishment, the Levine School of Music.

The Levine School is one of the country’s leading community music schools with four campuses in the Washington DC metropolitan area. It has about 3,700 students, including 850 at-risk youth and children. The school offers a wide range of teaching to a wide range of students, everything from early childhood music experiences to choirs for senior citizens. One of our sons, when he was very young, attended for a short while. It quickly became apparent that a music career wasn’t for him. As he was being led away to class, Lauren can remember his sad face as he turned and mouthed to her “I want to go home”.

Further down Upton, we walked by a number of houses that had a distinctive European feel. Lauren thought that they may be her favorite houses so far.

We have passed many houses during our walks that have shutters. This was the first one where we have seen the shutters actually being used. Normally, they appear to be simply for decorative purposes.

Tucked into the neighborhood, we came across this little tennis and pool club. It was the smallest one we had ever come across with one court and a family size pool.

Lenore Pool and Tennis Club

We passed by the gates of the Hillwood Estate Museum and Gardens.

If you have never visited Hillwood, we highly recommend it. It is the former residence of Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973). She was the owner of General Foods and at one time the richest woman in America. She was also a prominent socialite and philanthropist and had a penchant for collecting art, particularly from pre-revolutionary Russia. The Estate is home to a fabulous collection of Faberge eggs. There is also a traditional Russian country house (Dacha) on the grounds. Hillwood is home to one of the country’s best orchid collections and there are extensive gardens of various types. Our personal favorite is the stunning Japanese garden that cascades down a hillside next to the main house. Fun fact: Marjorie Merriweather Post also built and owned a building that is often in the news these days, Mar-a-Lago.

We made our way down to Peirce Mill, at the bottom of Tilden Street, sitting next to the border of Ward 3 at Rock Creek.

Peirce Mill
Peirce Mill

The Mill was built in the early 1800s by Isaac Peirce, a millwright. It was shut down in 1993 but reopened in 2011. If you are interested in seeing a Mill at work, the National Park Service runs mill operation demonstrations on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month from April through October.

There are a number of other Peirce farm buildings surrounding the mill, including a small stone Spring House and a white carriage barn. The Spring House had spring water flowing through the basement, keeping produce and dairy products cool.

The Mill stands next to beautiful Rock Creek.

Rock Creek.

As we stood by the Mill, we watched a constant procession of joggers and cyclists pass by, enjoying the beautiful evening. We have spent many happy times, ourselves, riding down along the creek with family and friends.

Sitting down near the Mill are the Hungarian and Czech embassies, close neighbors in the District as they are in Europe.

In the grounds of the Hungarian embassy is a statue of Colonel Michael Kovats. Kovats was a Hungarian nobleman and cavalry officer who served with the Americans during the Revolutionary war. He is known as one of the founding fathers of the United States cavalry. The statue, by Paul Takacs, depicts Kovats on horseback being killed in battle, waving the American flag, as his horse collapses under him. Kovats died during the siege of Charleston, South Carolina on May 11, 1779. He was buried where he fell.

Across the road, the Czech Embassy had hung a large banner, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the non-violent transition of power in what was then Czechoslovakia away from one party Communist rule to a democracy. It’s hard to believe that it has already been 30 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Czech Embassy

Walking up Tilden Street we passed by these two fearsome warriors, guarding the gates of the Indonesian Ambassador.

Bounded by Connecticut Avenue and Tilden and Sedgwick streets is a large traditional apartment complex that we have always had a fondness for. It sticks in Mal’s mind as a building that he remembers from his early childhood but does not know why. Perhaps, his parents had friends that lived there.

Next door, on the corner of Sedgwick and Connecticut is another beautiful, traditional apartment building, Sedgwick Gardens.

A friendly resident let us in to the building to check out its ornate lobby, complete with fountain.

As we finished up our walk, we passed one last apartment building that took our eye.

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