What a treat it was to spend the evening with you in Washington last Thursday. For this gal from the Midwest, it was such a uniquely DC night, I won’t soon forget it.
First, we both had the extraordinary pleasure to be invited by the State Department and Peter A. Selfridge, the Chief of Protocol, to a holiday party at the exquisite Blair House.
Blair House is the guest house for visiting foreign leaders and sits on Pennsylvania Avenue, directly across from the White House. It is also the site of many foreign policy meetings, diplomatic receptions and dinners and has played a unique role in the diplomatic affairs of our country.
It is also a stunningly beautiful, and historically rich, home. Although it is quite large, with over 120 rooms and 60,000 square feet, it still feels quite cozy, as it retains much of the original layout of the Blair, and their relatives, the Lee, family homes.
Immediately upon entering the party, we were greeted by a Marine Corps a cappela group singing Christmas carols
We proceeded through the complex, peeking into several of the dining rooms, parlors and living rooms along the way
We had to stop for a quick photo op with GW
What was really cool about this party was that we truly felt like guests in someone’s home (or, in this case, the President’s Guest House), since we were able to wander all around, in these exquisitely preserved rooms, among this living history. To be honest, at one point, I gripped my wine glass a bit more tightly, not wanting to be the guest that spilled on the 2o0-year-old rug.
We made our way from the original Blair House toward the Lee House (Lee was built by Mr. Blair for his daughter, Elizabeth). The Lee House holds a special place in my heart, because Missouri’s-own Harry Truman made it his Executive Residence while the White House underwent major structural renovations from 1948-1952. He held weekly luncheon meetings with his cabinet in the Lee Dining Room. The tradition continues today. Blair House’s highest-ranking official guests often meet in the Lee Dining Room with the President. This is also where our President-Elect lives and dines before moving into the White House.
But, on this night, you and I were privileged to enjoy some yummy chocolate cookies in the Lee Dining Room!
All of this would have been enough for a perfect DC holiday evening, but then we walked out of Blair House, passed in front of the White House
through Lafayette Square
for a smart cocktail at the Hay Adams.
We finished our evening back on our home turf, Georgetown, at one of our favorite pubs, Martins
Best wishes to all our friends and family for a peaceful, joyful Holiday Season.
Ann and Julie
For all you fellow history buffs, you can read more about Blair House here