One Book Party Is Great, But Two Are Better: Celebrating THE INN AT LITTLE WASHINGTON: A MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION at Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Welcome to Marjorie Merriwether Post’s former home, now Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens


Come on in, and have a drink!


Strolling through the lush Gardens


Patrick O’Connell (wearing the world’s best jacket, front and back) and Karen Page


Top left: Chefs Jose Andres and Patrick O’Connell, Phyllis Richman, and Karen Page; Top right: Phyllis Richman and Nycci Nellis; Center: Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg; Bottom left: Joyce Conwy Evans and Karen Page; Bottom right: Karen Page, Jose Andres, and Patricia Fernandez

“But just in time for summer weddings and backyard suppers comes [Patrick] O’Connell’s latest book….It’s a lush coffee-table fantasy that chronicles the transformation of an old gas station in the middle of nowhere into a world-class destination. O’Connell’s style is playful over-the-top perfection, and there’s a chapter on entertaining, should you aspire to a soupçon of his signature flair.  A great party, he says, is simply ‘a matter of time, sacrifice, focus and obsessiveness. Absolutely nothing done well is easy.’”
Roxanne Roberts, The Washington Post (April 20, 2015)

When we were fortunate enough to be invited to yet another party to celebrate the new book The Inn at Little Washington: A Magnificent Obsession (which hit the New York Times bestseller list May 24th) — this time, at the Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens, Marjorie Merriwether Post‘s former home in Washington, DC — there was not a ghost of a chance we’d ever decline.

After all, no one we know throws better parties than the Inn’s chef-proprietor Patrick O’Connell.  Indeed, he’s an expert on the subject, having been quoted frequently in articles like this one by Roxanne Roberts in The Washington Post, from which the tips in bold below are taken.

“Surprise, says O’Connell, is essential to a really fun party.”


Bentleys parked out front of the Museum offered fun photo opps.


Having an unexpected mix of guests is a nice surprise — here, food-loving DQ Felicia Beefeater  (aka AJ Dronkers), the Inn’s Patrick O’Connell, former Washington Post restaurant critic Phyllis Richman, and New York-based author Karen Page


Andrew is surprised to meet two time-traveling women guests from another era.


The Inn at Little Washington’s Rachel Hayden surprises designer Joyce Conwy Evans with the best mime and minstrel ever, and a female time traveler

“O’Connell likes to keep guests moving.”


Running through the grass kept the time-traveling women guests on the move.


Karen Page enjoyed strolling the Estate’s gorgeous grounds.


More of Hillwood’s beautiful Gardens.


Top left: Andrew Dornenburg and Joe Yonan (with mime photobombing); Top right: Chef Kaz Okochi at one of the many food stations; Center: One of the Hillwood Museum’s sacred chalices on display; Bottom left: Felicia Beefeater with noted interior design photographer Gordon Beall; Bottom right: Marjorie Merriwether Post’s dining room, now part of the Museum

“It’s very simple. Whatever you do should be the best in the world.”


The bestselling Inn at Little Washington: A Magnificent Obsession is indeed a world-class book deserving of not one but two (or more!) world-class book parties.  We were honored to be able to attend both parties — along with dozens of distinguished fellow guests who included chef Jose Andres and his wife Patricia Fernandez, the book’s interior design photographer Gordon Beall, Edible DC social media editor AJ Dronkers, Mark Furstenberg of Bread Furst, radio host Nycci Nellis, former Washington Post restaurant critic Phyllis Richman, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and Washington Post food editor Joe Yonan.

Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens is at 4155 Linnean Ave., NW, in Washington, DC.  Phone:  202.686.5807.

Categorized: USA