Summer in the DC area can be described in one word: stifling. It is hot, but more importantly incredibly humid. Nearly every day you can look to the horizon and see the pillar-like clouds begin to form sometime in the late afternoon — which means it’s nearly certain that a storm will race through at some point, and we’ll have to watch the sky carefully if we really want to head to the pool. On this particular August scorcher, the sky is completely covered, thunder is beginning to roll in the background and the columns of spiky storm clouds are gathered — it’s like the DC-summer storm trifecta.
The only thing you can do, should you be trapped in or near the city during the summer is seek out those spots that have some sort of breeze or some sort of tree cover. The gardens at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown provides just such a respite — lush gardens with plenty of trees, nooks and crannies to hide out in for awhile and a FREE museum that is filled with Byzantine and Pre-Columbian treasures in a remarkably well-cooled and designed space. My suggestion is to visit the garden first, sweat, and then head inside to enjoy the chilled air so that you can brace yourself for a quick run to the bus on Wisconsin Avenue before the late afternoon storm cracks its first lightening strike.
The heat may be unrelenting when walking the gardens (and picnics are prohibited), but the garden will draw you in from the Orangery (with orange trees) upon entry to the garden-of-delight swimming pool and surrounding grounds that make you wonder just whom you know that is going to have a party here that you can attend. With this beautiful thought foremost in your mind, you’ll be ready to wander down the short staircase to visually melt into the sunflower gardens — that appear at once wild, yet English in the neat rows but overgrown in a completely French manner.
Escape to the flowers, even with unbearable humidity that bears down on your skin with its weight and oppression — the flowers remain hopeful. Fall is coming.