Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Walk Through the Boxwoods

 By Nicole Morton
Leader of Business Enterprise

Do you ever just stop and take time to relax? It can be just a moment, a second where you remember the sound of the ocean, the feel of snow on your cheek, or the smell of fresh cut grass. For me, my moment is taking time out of my busy schedule and to walk through the Boxwood Allèe at Gunston Hall. There is something quite magical about walking in the footsteps of historical figures such as George Mason, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. The boxwoods have a rather calming effect on me. I feel like I can gather my thoughts better walking between their 250 year old twisting trunks then I can walking between magnolias or even oak trees.

I think back to John Mason and what he said about his father George Mason, “My father was fond of his garden… There were then some falls on the brow of the hill looking toward the river. It was here that my father- in good weather- would several times a day pass out of his study and walk for a considerable time wrapped in meditation, and return again to his desk…” I feel blessed getting to walk around such scenic and historical grounds for my job, especially following in the footsteps of George Mason.

Part of my responsibility as the Leader of Business Enterprise at Gunston Hall includes coordinating events such as weddings and luncheons. When I am showing prospective couples around our venue, the first place they want to get married is in the Boxwood Allèe or on the point overlooking the Potomac River. The view draws couples to that point overlooking all things Gunston Hall. Excitement builds inside me every time I show a couple the grounds. There is a moment on each person’s face as they walk down the drive and see the Mansion, as they walk through the Boxwood Allèe, and as they stand on the point looking out at the Potomac River and grounds. Each person is experiencing Gunston Hall for the first time in a unique way, and I am lucky enough to be a part of that experience. I encourage everyone to experience Gunston Hall in that same light as well; it’s something you will never forget.

There is one other magical part of the grounds that not every guest ventures over to see. The gravel drive lined with reaching cedar trees makes the walk to the Burying Ground that more enchanting.

George and Ann Eilbeck Mason are both laid to rest in the Mason family cemetery, along with other Mason family members and descendants. Knowing the touching words that George wrote about Ann after her death on March 9, 1773, the cemetery becomes a place of honoring loved ones such as George Mason did in 1773. These words echo in my ear every time I walk down the drive towards their final resting place, “… Once she was all that cheers and sweetens life, the tender mother, daughter, friend and wife, once she was all that makes mankind adore …”

I encourage you to come walk in the footsteps of historic men of the 1700s and even again in the early 1900s such as the Coolidge family, Mrs. Edith Wilson, and artist Pierre Bonnard. Take a moment to soak in the history that is Gunston Hall. You will not regret it!

If you are planning an event such as a small luncheon, business conference, dinner party, or even wedding, I encourage you to think about Gunston Hall as your venue! For more information about our rental program, please contact Nicole Morton at (703) 550-9220 or by email at

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