Happy to see you again! The 89th visit to Georgetown House: perfect recipe for coming home on April 23
Since 1931, the Georgetown House Tour has been described in many ways: “architectural gems”, “historically significant”, “elegant homes with elegant owners”. But, perhaps, two words best describe this year’s house tour on Saturday, April 23: “Happy to see you again!”
“The third year was approaching since the last tour, and there was some hesitation as to what might happen for the 2022 tour,” said Donna Leanos, Georgetown House’s 2022 tour chair. “Amazingly, as the pandemic subsided, owners started offering their homes for the tour. Securing Julia Child’s home helped build excitement.
“Regarded as the oldest tour in the country and always highly anticipated, the Georgetown House Tour brings the community together to support the many ministry outreach programs sponsored by St. John’s Church on O Street,” added Leanos, who is a real estate agent and vice-president of TTR Sotheby’s, sponsor of the tour for many years. An energetic mother of two grown sons, she has a master’s degree from Georgetown University and “loves to cook, loves Shakespeare theatre, general arts, painting, tennis, cycling, bodybuilding and is passionate about most things Italian,” she tells us. “I always loved Georgetown from a very young girl when my mom used to bring us here to shop!”
“The committee of volunteers who work on the tour are just extremely dedicated and sincere about the mission of the tour,” said Leanos, a parishioner from St. John’s, and volunteer since 2017. “Our volunteers from St. John’s, Georgetown and the community rallied around the return of the house tour. The tour is very near and dear to many, and her return marks a return to socializing with friends, family and community once again.
Another big part of visiting Georgetown House is the Patron’s Day, held this year on Wednesday, April 20 at the Langhorne Residence on 31st Street, next to Tudor Place. The party is a tradition invented by decades-long tour organizer and promoter Frida Burling, who died in 2016 and was a force to be reckoned with in Georgetown.
In 2001, when Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn hosted the tour patrons party, The Georgetowner newspaper arrived at their N Street home to take pictures. An editor asked Bradlee why he was involved, and the Washington Post editor roared back, “Because Frida told me.”
Co-hosted by Emily Sower and Kathryn Minor Jones, this year’s top social stage night will raise half of the money raised from the tour to benefit St. John’s Church programs. “It’s a fun way to contribute to important work,” said Sower, a realtor with Washington Fine Properties, also a tour sponsor. She is the mother of three children and also a parishioner of St. John’s – and married to his high school sweetheart, Cleaver. She and Jones are planning “a night to remember on April 20.” Jones is a lawyer who worked in the Obama administration and is vice president of EverFi. She and her husband Geoff try to keep up with their boy and girl twins.
After all, the Georgetown House Tour with its stories of homes past and present is also the story of families and their love of this place in all its forms.
“We have eight homes on tour this year, ranging from pop culture, Julia Child’s home, to one of eight original Victorian farmhouses on P Street, to designer homes on R and P, to some of Georgetown’s earliest homes dating as far back as 1796,” said Leanos, who added that the tour “attracts more than 1,600 guests every year, gives locals and foreigners the opportunity to visit historical mansions of various styles. More details on GeorgetownHouseTour.com.”
For our story featuring the 8 houses on this year’s tour (with photos), click here.