What has a greenhouse built in 1810, a stately mansion and a garden with hillside-carved terraces?
Bzzt ... time's up.
It's the Oatlands Historic House and Gardens. Just outside of Leesburg, Va., (20850 Oatlands Plantation Lane, 40 minutes from D.C.), the mansion and all of its outbuildings (a three-story barn, greenhouse and smokehouse) rest along more than 260 acres of wooded rolling hills.
Upon your arrival, you'll first step into the Carriage House Gift Shop (where you purchase your tour ticket). There you can choose two types of tours: self-guided walking tours and guided house tours. Tour the terraced garden graced by tree canopies, 19th century architecture in walls, garden dependencies, the bank barn, and the old greenhouse.
Oatlands is also part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In simple terms it means that Oatlands is really old and needs to be taken care of. Another thing that needs to be taken care of is a garden. If you have a green thumb and love to watch your garden grow, then step inside the 200-year-old greenhouse at Oatlands, where you can buy garden tools, ornaments and gifts for all your green thumb needs (summer is really soon, we promise).
For the holidays (through Dec. 30) Oatlands has special holiday exhibits. This year's holiday exhibit theme is "Women of Oatlands." It spotlights the women who have lived in the mansion over the years. Expect to see historic fashion and lots of twinkling lights, as well.
The Four Seasons of Oatlands Miniature Art Show & Sale is also wrapping up Dec. 30 at the Carriage House. This is free and open to the public during regular hours.
Oatlands is also a great point of interest for education. In the one-room schoolhouse on the grounds (which was once an all-girls school) they offer educational programs for students to inform them about the personal lives of Virginians, the role of slavery in terms of agricultural and economic development and the effects of reconstruction on the local economy.
On the lighter side, traditional afternoon tea is always served at Oatlands at 1 p.m. The menu includes scones, sweets and delicate tea sandwiches. The schedule and prices
In the summertime at Oatlands you can bring a picnic and enjoy the wooded picnic grove (oh, and the garden doesn't look too shabby, either).
Oatlands is open from March 28-Dec. 30 each year. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Cost is $10 for adults, $7 for students and children under 5 get in free.