|Mansion at Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg, Va.|
History of Oatlands
Oatlands plantation was established in 1798 with almost 3,500 acres of prime farming property. Built by George Carter, a young bachelor who had inherited the property, the land grew to become a substantial piece of prosperous property, cashing in wheat crops. Carter was a descendant of one of the first families to come settle in Virginia from abroad. The Carter history in America began in 1649 when John Carter immigrated from Buckinghamshire, England (George Carter was born in 1777, the first of his family to be born in the newly named United States).
|The house was designed differently as you can see looking upon the house from the rear|
Bridging the 19th and 20th Centuries
With the Eustis family buying Oatlands, this bridges the history of the home from the 19th to the 20th century. William was an avid horseman, and his primary motivation to buy Oatlands as a secondary home was to have a base in Virginia where he could be near the social events and fox hunts in the region. His high interest in equestrians is very evident when you tour the house.
Bachelor's cottage on Oatland's property, circa 1820. This building is not open to the public.
The Eustis' are also said to have acted as liaison to opening their Virginia home to Roosevelt meeting his mistress, Lucy Mercer, according to some accounts.
The Eustis' restored Oatlands to its former glory, without making many structural changes, and Edith Eustis made it her mission to restore the once beautiful gardens.
|Reflecting pool built by Edith Eustis in the 1930s|
|The gardens at Oatlands are quite expansive|
Touring the home and gardens
No photos are allowed to be taken from the inside of the home, but during the tour you'll see many period pieces, family paintings and photos that had belonged to both the Carters and Eustis families. The tour guides are informative and can usually answer questions about the home and history of the families. The restoration of Oatlands truly showcases both the 19th and 20th centuries, as parts of the house reflect the Carter era while others are clearly modernized, such as the upstairs bathrooms, showing how the Eustis' lived.
Today, the property is listed as a National Trust Historic Site and a National Historic Landmark, and, for a fee, tours of the house, property and gardens are open to the public. In addition to the house and gardens, there are other structures on the property where visitors can explore. The gardens, during the spring and summer months, are truly worth spending a lot of time in.
|Chauffeur's House at Oatlands. I am not sure if this ever opens for tours - I have not seen it open.|
|A glimpse inside part of the greenhouse at Oatlands - built at the turn of the 19th century, it is one of the oldest in America|
|Smokehouse at Oatlands|
Related reading: Interesting historic grand homes to explore in Northern Virginia
|The former carriage house has been refitted to serve as a welcome center, gift shop and a space where Oatlands holds scheduled teas.|