Friday, January 7, 2011

Capital Clubs

Our nation's capital is one of my favorite destinations. In many ways I actually prefer it to the other big-time cities (New York, Chicago, et al) due to the formality of life that stills exists there. It's one of the few places left in our culture today where suits and ties and dresses are still de rigeur.

Another plus to Washington is the number and quality of beautiful private clubs (like New York). Unlike New York, entry into them continues to be exclusive, not as business-focused or dependent on the size of one's wallet.

My two favorites are the Cosmos and the Historic Georgetown Club. Each has a lovely history entwined with that of Washington itself. The Cosmos was founded in 1878 by men distinguished in science, literature and the arts. In June, 1988 the Club began accepting women. The Cosmos is all about personal distinction: scholarship, creative genius or intellect. Among its members have been three Presidents, two Vice Presidents, a dozen Supreme Court justices, 32 Nobel Prize winners, 56 Pulitzer Prize winners and 45 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

There is even a lovely poetry collection published in 2000 featuring 25 Cosmos member contributors:, including Maya Angelou, Roy Basler, Thomas Peter Bennett, Carl Bode, John C. Broderick, and many others.

From the Introduction, by Robert E. Barnett: "In the remarkable history of the Cosmos Club, now spanning three centuries...the art of poetry has been...part of a tradition of humanistic principles that have been at the core of our identity...The current anthology of original work produced by our own members is an outgrowth of the [Library] Committee's desire to share the wealth of talent that is part of our noble history." One is in august company at the Cosmos, and its ambience reflects that. Its rooms are among the most elegant in Washinton, most notably the magnificent Warne Lounge Ballroom, where a wedding recption is a lifetime hallmark indeed. One can stay there in one of the beautiful guest rooms as a member or reciprocal club member.

The Historic Georgetown Club is in the former Suter’s Tavern, where President George Washington, surveyor Andrew Ellicott and Capital architect Major Pierre L’Enfant met to plan the District of Columbia. Today it is an understated enclave for social gatherings and fabulous meals, a bastion of how things used to be. Our son introduced himself to Kobe beef there at age 13 and has been spoiled now for life.

Can't wait to visit again soon.

Gtown Jonesing,


Whitney and the Preppy Puppy said...

Several years ago, I attended a wedding at the Cosmos Club (the bride was the daughter of a longtime member). It truly was a sight to behold.

Kathie Truitt said...

I love both of these clubs (who wouldn't) but nothing - absolutely nothing - beats the ambience of the Cosmos Club.
However of all the Country Clubs in Washington, D.C., Congressional is my favorite. Although my ladies club has their monthly meeting at the Columbia Country Club (in Chevy Chase, on Connecticut) we always have our year end party at Congressional.
(My blog may have the name 'hillbilly' in it, but ....;)

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