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The Georgetown Inn is Back

June 6, 2012

As The Georgetown Inn celebrates half a century, and welcomes its new chief executive officer, Nayan Patel of Your DC Hotels, it’s also a good time to recall the tenure of Collins Bird, its beloved general manager for 30 years. His widow, Mary Bird reminisced in The Georgetowner recently  about a time when The Georgetown Inn “welcomed many notables, including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Charles and Ann Morrow Lindberg, Marlon Brando, Robert Mitchum, many Kennedys and the cast of the film, "The Exorcist.

The Georgetown Inn's GM, Kelly Curry receives gift from Charles Davis, Best Western GM (Photo by: Judith Beermann) The Georgetown Inn's GM, Kelly Curry receives gift from Charles Davis, Best Western GM

Wednesday evening was a chance to see old friends and look forward to “restoring the inn’s old-world elegance but with fresh and new public areas,” said Patel. “Making it a legendary hotel starts with customer service, but even before that we have infrastructure issues to address.”

Heidi Bitar, Nayan Patel and Kelly Curry (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Heidi Bitar, Nayan Patel and Kelly Curry

It was love at first sight for this enthusiastic hotelier. After a call from his broker, Patel walked over from his West End residence to check it out. After seeing a room, the former Best Western International Inc. chairman walked out of the hotel and said, “I’m going to buy this place.” Purchased late last year, planned renovations are expected to be completed in the next few years.

Gene Shiro, Mary Bird and David McDermitt (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Gene Shiro, Mary Bird and David McDermitt

Over champagne and lavishly served hors d’oeuvres and buffet that included scallops, crab cakes and margarita flatbread, courtesy of restaurant-in-residence The Daily Grill, guests celebrated a new chapter for the historic inn. “It’s wonderful to see someone take interest in the hotel and give it the loving care it needs,” said Bird.

 


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Saving Georgetown's Valley of Eden: Part 2

May 22, 2012

Who more eloquently than Robert Frost can remind us of the magic of rural nature? To a group paying tribute to Henry David Thoreau 50 years ago this month, the quintessential American poet said this. 

    "Whenever I'm weary of considering, and I can stand things no longer, I always say: Give me the woods."

Entangled weeds (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Entangled weeds

The historic event where Frost spoke was sponsored by Secretary Udall and The Wilderness Society (included guests Chief Justice Earl Warren and Justice William O. Douglas) to draw attention to a wilderness bill that had stalled in Congress. Eventually signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, the Wilderness Act created the legal definition of Wilderness and protected over 9 million acres of federal land.

In the half century since the bill's signing, Dumbarton Oaks Park has not fared so well. Invasive plants (including fragrant honeysuckle and spreading bamboo) have overrun the Park. Storm water runoff from neighboring structures has eroded the hillside and threatens the delicate ecological balance.

Fan of Beatrix Farrand, architect Liza Gilbert with Conservancy President Rebecca Trafton, (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Fan of Beatrix Farrand, architect Liza Gilbert with Conservancy President Rebecca Trafton, "This is a jewel. We have to save it."

Together with the National Park Service, the Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy is working to correct these problems. The goal is to restore the Park to it original brilliantly naturalistic design and to make it accessible to everyone.

Sandbags adjacent to stones to prevent flooding (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Sandbags adjacent to stones to prevent flooding

Its history goes back a few hundred years before then, but the Dumbarton Oaks we know was born in 1920 when Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss bought, what grew into a 56-acre Georgetown estate.

Forsythia Gate (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Forsythia Gate

The house and grounds have been well documented, generously granted to Harvard University by the family and turned into a museum open to the public.

The 27 acres that make up the northern portions of the Bliss property were donated to the U.S. government and are managed by the National Park Service. That’s Dumbarton Oaks Park.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Landscape architect Beatrix Farrand (with the help of Mildred Bliss) turned the land into a naturalistic landscape of stream, woodland, and meadow. A circular walk begins at a stone bridge, crosses through a series of waterfalls and pools, meets a forest of mixed, largely native, trees and shrubs and then winds through four meadows on the northern slope above the stream. Many plant species chosen by Farrand for the upper gardens extend into the lower gardens: Forsythia, native Rhododendron, Scilla, and Crocus.

The formal threshold to the naturalistic garden, Forsythia Gate was intricately decorated with the Bliss RBM monogram. From inside the property it reads: Dumbarton Oaks Park. From the Park it reads Dumbarton Oaks. Just one of many examples of the architects' attention to detail.

Whitehaven Street exit near Danish Embassy (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Whitehaven Street exit near Danish Embassy

In Part 3, plans for making this a park accessible for everyone ... and how to make your way in and out.

One of Bliss markers for beloved horses and dogs (Photo by: Judith Beermann) One of Bliss markers for beloved horses and dogs

Here's a link to Part 1.


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The Georgetown Dish Seeks Marketing and Social Media Director

May 20, 2012

The Georgetown Dish, a leading daily news and social media site focused on Washington's most famous neighborhood, seeks Georgetown-based writer/marketing professional to join The Georgetown Dish team.

Founded in December, 2009, The Georgetown Dish has grown in just over two years to an audience of over 40,000 visitors per month. The audience includes media, academic, political and diplomatic opinion leaders in the nation's capital.

The successful candidate will work closely with the associate publisher to build business partnerships and increase social media marketing.  Excellent writing and great people skills are required.

The Georgetown Dish offers compensation based on experience, and desired schedule, including commission on advertising and sponsorships.

Please send resume with introductory note to judith@thegeorgetowndish.com.


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