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The Best Majestic Mansions and Historic Homes of Washington D.C. 

by Brian Gate

Apr 4, 2018 - Despite people quickly jumping to conclusions that the historic homes in Washington D.C. may be (more than a little) stuck-in-time, the homes are actually works-in-progress. Studies are still being run, discoveries being uncovered with new pictures, new documents, new letters and even evidence that may change what we thought was 'absolutely right' about the house. That’s the work of the various historical societies and museums. Stepping into a historic home, hence, may feel less like walking into a place that is stuck in time. Instead, it’s the latest and closest interpretation of what the house or era used to be like. Even when you’re in Georgetown, where most of D.C.’s historic sites are located, what you assume to be relic may seem like they have recently received a new coat of paint.
Preservation and restoration efforts on the homes and museums in Washington D.C. is particularly important for those who love history, art, and politics. It’s a gateway to a bygone time that helped shape the people of this country. The vast array of homes-turned-museums in Washington D.C. provides an intimate look into the former homes of iconic leaders like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Clara Barton, Frederick Douglass and many more. Of course, one should not forget to make a charter bus trip to historic attractions like the National Mall, The White House, The Lindens and the Old Stone House. Most of the attractions are located in neighborhoods that are religiously preserved and have undergone little changes over the years except for imminent restorations, repairs, and additions of modern amenities like air-conditioning.  Because many of the homes were built before the Revolutionary War, taking a walk through them has a magnetic and spell-binding effect. 

washington monument at night, visit historic homes, mansions in D.C.

1. The King Hooper Mansion a.k.a. The Lindens

8 Hooper St, Marblehead, MA 01945-3213
(781) 631-2608
Formerly built in Danvers, Massachusetts in 1754 by its first owner, Robert ‘King’ Hooper, the home was bought-over, taken down and then delivered piece-by-piece to the established, chic and elite neighborhood of Kalorama Heights in 1935. Since then, it’s made its way into the National Register of Historic Places.

The couple who later owned the property, George and Miriam Morris, ensured much of the original characteristics of the building remain untouched. It retains its historic features like the Hancock staircase and balustrades, beautiful prints of France lining up along the walls and its unique wood paneling. On top of running regular tours and housing art exhibitions, the mansion is also used by the Marblehead Arts Association as its headquarters and venue to host six galleries, art classes, and community events.

2. Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens

3200 Mount Vernon Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA 22121, USA
It had a humble start as a one and a one-half story family home built by the father of one of the most important men in the country, George Washington. The former President of the United States steadily built traction in renovating the home and today, it is one of the most iconic 18th-century homes in the country. Measuring up to more than 11,000 square feet, 2 and a half stories high and with a complete a cellar, the home is surely a sight to behold, 10 times the size of a normal VA home at the time, dwarfing other homes within its vicinity.

The home received its current name during the tenure of George Washington's brother, Lawrence, and it stuck. Today, Mount Vernon is run by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. Because George Washington personally tended to the changes over the decades, the association aims to educate visitors and people throughout the world about the legacy and life of a man (and his family) whom the public often know only by name. Everything from the replica of the weathervane to the rusticated exterior or Mount Vernon Estate and Garden has been either restored or replicated in order to maintain its original intents and purposes. Although the Washingtons, during their stay in the estate, preferred a quieter and more private life, the home today receives more than a million visitors every year.

3. President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers' Home  

140 Rock Creek Church Rd NW, Washington, DC 20011
(202) 829-0436
To take the heat off of the ravaging political scene at the time, Abraham Lincoln took to the cottage from June to November from 1862 to 1864 for refuge. He lived in the cottage with his family, away from the White House, during the deliberation, drafting, and writing of various constitutional documents, which includes those related to the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. Within these walls, he sought not just refuge but the quiet of mind and inspiration to write speeches, letters and policies alike. A free one-hour tour around the cottage is offered and visitors will get intimate insights into the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. There is also a Visitors Center filled with Lincoln-related artifacts and historical documents. Solace was also sought by other Presidents in the charming cottage, like James Buchanan and it served as a Summer White House for Rutherford B. Hayes and Chester A. Arthur.

Right next to the cottage is the Armed Forces Retirement Home and the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center with its educational artifacts to quench your thirst for everything wartime Washington, and Lincoln’s role as the Commander-in-Chief during the country's crucial Civil War. As soon as you step foot on the grounds, you’ll see why it served as a refuge for these important, powerful and inspirational men. It also provides a platform for visitors to ask questions, exchange ideas and provide motivational anecdotes to and with each other. It is a MUST for history buffs trudging through the terrains of D.C.

4. Old Stone House  

3051 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007
(202) 895-6070
We know the usual drill for tourists: Washington Monument, Smithsonian Institution, the National Mall, the White House, the United States Capitol, and then maybe sneak in a tour of the National Museum of American History and the Washington National Cathedral. As intriguing as each of them are to the curious mind, visiting something like The Old Stone House is somewhat of a change.

It is the oldest unchanged building in Washington D.C. and the sight of the last Pre-Revolutionary Colonial War building is like taking a private peek into time’s oeuvre. The building and its surroundings are beautiful, to say the least, and it's an awesome opportunity to snap as many pictures of the house and its fixtures as you can. It’s a special place. Still laid firmly on its original sturdy foundation which was built in 1765, the site was a home, a shop for a cabinetmaker (Christopher Layman) and was, according to the words from the grapevine, the ‘Engineering Headquarters’ for George Washington. The last claim was never substantiated; nevertheless, if it had, it would only add to the intrigue. Setting the fuzzy memories of what transpired within its walls, pun intended, in stone, the floating stories and personal accounts would often draw oohs, aahs and wows from tourists. After the U.S. Government purchased the property and did a few tricks to restore it, the museum is now offering free admission to the public from 11am to 6pm daily except for most major holidays like Christmas, New Year and Thanksgiving.

It’s Cool To Tour Washington D.C.’s Oldest Homes and Mansions in a Charter Bus

Bus Charter Washington D.C. would love to be a part of your tour around Washington D.C., field trip or outing with your family. We offer up to 50% off Specials with programs for day trips, overnight and long-distance traveling, corporate events, student and camp travel, and religious organizations. We have built trusting relationships with many of our customers over the years, by over-delivering and helping them manage events that required more than 500 motorcoaches. Sometimes lasting months! If you’re looking for a Washington D.C. charter bus rental company to come to your rescue for a last-minute request or looking for a long, lasting partnership with a reliable ground transportation company, contact us and let us see how we can work together for all your future events in and around Washington D.C.!