Georgetown Gets Colorful and Playful on Behalf of Tudor Place (Photos)

The annual garden party raised dollars—and hats.

By: Carol Ross Joynt

May has been a month of happy and sad for Tudor Place, the historic Georgetown museum house and garden that was built in the early 1800s for Martha Custis Peter, the granddaughter of Martha Washington. The sad came a week ago, when one of the property’s 200-plus-year-old trees, a white oak that was beginning to lean dangerously, had to be cut down. Wednesday night, though, the mood was decidedly different, as 450 supporters in colorful and festive fashions gathered on the lawn for the museum’s 21st annual spring garden party. According to organizers, the party raised a record $250,000.

Each year the garden party honors an individual, and this year it was a descendent of the Peter family, Phillips S. Peter, a lawyer, former head of the board of trustees, and former executive with General Electric.

As it always is, the party was a draw for the so-called “cave dweller” set, who enjoy the many bars and several buffet tables, as well as the chance to take a seat at a table on the five and a half acres of sweeping lawn that still have some impressive trees. There’s a lot of imbibing, merriment, and showing off of hats.

Throughout the year, Tudor Place hosts a range of events, including cultural tours, history, garden and decorating lectures, school programs, and workshops, as well as birthday parties and summer camps. As for the missing old oak, Tudor Place plans to replant a new white oak in its place.