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D.C.'s Hillwood named one of the top gardens in the country

Sunday - 4/14/2013, 7:57am  ET

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The Hillwood Estate, Museum and Garden is a hidden gem of an escape in the District. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
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Kathy Stewart, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Once the cherry blossoms fade away, there is still a chance to bathe yourself in the pristine beauty of nature at a garden oasis you might not know about in the District.

The Hillwood Estate, Museum and Garden is tucked away in upper Northwest D.C. It's the estate of the late Majorie Merriweather Post. She was a breakfast cereal heiress, businesswoman and philanthropist.

TripAdvisor.com named Hillwood as one of top ten public gardens in the U.S. Lynn Rossotti is Hillwood's director of marketing and communications. "The ranking was based on all the terrific reviews that visitors give Hillwood on Trip Advisor," she says.

There are 13 acres of pristine gardens a visitor can take in at Hillwood. Rossotti says Marjorie Merriweather Post designed all of her formal gardens into what are referred to as garden rooms and as you pass from one garden to another that it's like leaving one space and entering another.

"There's a rose garden, a beautiful French garden called a French Parterre and everybody enjoys the Japanese style garden. It mimics a mountain side Japanese garden. So the water is trickling down the hill side and there are stepping stones," she says. "We also have what's called the lunar lawn behind the mansion. And when you are standing there on a nice clear day it frames a perfect view of the Washington Monument."

Besides the gardens you can tour the Hillwood mansion. On Saturday morning Cindy Whittington of Fairfax, Va. was visiting Hillwood with a friend from Atlanta. She describes the gardens as, "Breathtaking.You just felt that it wrapped around you."

Bob Lange lives in Northwest and for ten-years his friends kept telling him, "You just have to go see this." Finally, he did and fell in love. He says, "This place is over the top."

Even with Hillwood being located in D.C. there's an added benefit that is priceless - free parking.

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