These Century-Old Gardens Are One Of The District’s Best-Kept Secrets

Mª del Rosario Castro Díaz Mª del Rosario Castro Díaz

These Century-Old Gardens Are One Of The District’s Best-Kept Secrets

Tregaron Conservancy’s gardens are located in the heart of DC but not many people seem to know about them.

Somewhere in between Woodland Park and Cleveland Park lie 20 acres of secret gardens, meadows and ponds known as the Tregaron Conservancy. The estate, which has been around for more than a century, was once home to the DC elite. Now it’s a spectacular hidden spot in which to break away from DC life without even leaving the city!

Tregaron Estate is a hidden gem jampacked with history. Built on land originally owned by Mabel Hubbard Bell (aka Mrs. Alexander Graham Bell), the estate is one of the finest American examples of Georgian Renaissance-style architecture and gardening. The Mansion that sits atop the hill was built in 1911 by Charles Adams Platt for James Parmelee, a Cleveland financier. But the beautiful gardens were designed by leading landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman, who transformed the remaining 13 acres of undeveloped land into beautiful and intricate gardens resembling a natural woodland forest.

Once the Parmelees died, The Causeway (as it was formerly known) passed on to the hands of Ambassador Joseph Davies and his wife, Marjorie Merryweather Post, in the 1940s who renamed it Tregaron. In 1979, the estate was designated a historical landmark of Washington DC. But after the Davies’ passing Tregaron Estate fell victim of neglect and multiple legal battles for the construction of luxury condos, until it was rescued by the Tregaron Conservancy.


The painstakingly slow renovations to restore Tregaron’s gardens to their former glory started back in 2006 and are still ongoing, but the property opened up its doors to the public in 2009. Since then Washingtonians have had the opportunity to enjoy its countless trails, bridges and streams for free.

So why is Tregaron Conservancy one of the best spots to escape from city life? Well, for one its gorgeous trails make for wonderful walks all year-round. And its beautiful garden ruins make for the perfect romantic walk with your SO (or your furry friends). Oh, and it also doesn’t hurt that the estate is full of spots in which to capture the perfect Instagram opp! So if you’re looking to take a break from DC life but you don’t feel like leaving the city and discovering a new spot in town, then you best head up to Tregaron Conservancy, because its fairy-like forest sure won’t disappoint!

See also: 10 Stunning Trails To Go Hiking Around DC

[Featured image: Facebook/ Tregaron Conservancy DC]

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