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Franciscan Monastery, a century-old monastery is one of Washington DC's hidden delights. The garden, set on a hillside and reached by winding paths, is full of big trees and places to sit quietly among the flowers and small outdoor shrines. The public is allowed to view the upper church's full-scale replicas of Holy Land shrines. In the lower church, visitors will find a replica of the Roman catacombs, which can only be seen on scheduled tours. Guided tours last about 45 minutes.
Mount St. Sepulchre Franciscan Monastery dates back to the late years of the 19th Century. The monastery gardens are managed by the Garden Guild of the monastery. The guild was set up to protect and develop the beautiful gardens in adherence to the Franciscan norms. The gardens are home to lush rose plantations of different species. Replicas of popular shrines and grottoes are also found here. Of noteworthy importance is the mock tomb of Saint Jude and the a representation of the Stations of the Cross.
This cemetery, just one acre in size, is one of the smallest national cemeteries. President Abraham Lincoln dedicated it after the Battle of Fort Stevens in the summer of 1864. The defeat of the Confederates during the two-day battle in July 1864 saved Washington, D.C. from invasion. More than 900 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed; 41 of the Union soldiers were buried in this specially created cemetery, one-half mile north of Fort Stevens. When you visit the cemetery, take special note of the entrance, which is flanked by two smoothbore guns.
The Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens is the legacy of Marjorie Merriweather Post, a famous socialite and founder of General Foods. The 40-room mansion dates back to the 1920s and houses a huge collection of art, jewelry and other artifacts that belong to her. View rare Faberge eggs, historic portraits, exquisite tapestries and pieces of china. Walk through the landscaped gardens and enjoy the colorful flowers and plants.
A variety of European park styles are on display here at Meridian Hill Park, from long French promenades to Renaissance terraces. Waterfalls and pools abound among curling pathways. Especially delightful is the water staircase, a terraced waterfall. Nearby is the historic Adams-Morgan neighborhood, which features myriad ethnic restaurants and eclectic shops.
Enjoy a fun day as you visit the Jesup Blair Park and Blair House. The Jesup Blair park is spread across 14.5 acres (5.867942 hectares) of land and is known for multiple picnic areas. The scenic park features soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts and a playground area. Situated in the park is the historic Blair House which was built in 1850s. This house boasts of a beautiful Greek Revival architecture with a tinge of Federal architecture designs, and reflects the lifestyle of the region during that era.
Named for its acorn-shaped pavilion, the Acorn Park is a city park that was originally built by Francis Preston Blair in 1840. It was part of his estate and contains a spring with water containing mica, that gave it a silver color. This 'silver spring' in fact led to the city being named after it! A tiny park, just 0.12 acres (0.0485623 hectares), the Acorn Park can easily go unnoticed amidst the tall building surrounding it. There is an artificial cave here, as well.
The Rock Creek Park contains a beautiful wild forest and serves as an oasis for city residents and tourists. Attractions include picnic areas, winding trails and bike paths, a nature center, a public golf course, tennis courts and stables. The centerpiece is a working gristmill, complete with a turning water wheel. Rock Creek Parkway runs alongside the meandering creek. Parts of the road are closed to traffic on weekends and turned over to cyclists and roller bladers. Although the Metro is nearby, a car is required to visit many of the key sites in a single trip. The park is also a popular spot in the winter for sledding, snowballs and other outdoor merriment.