George Carter, descendant of one of Virginia's first families, began the 3,408 acre Oatlands Plantation in 1798, and began building the classic Federal-style mansion in 1804, adding to and embellishing the house for nearly 30 years.
Carter also constructed an elaborate Garden and ingenious connecting terraces. After the Civil War, Oatlands was a girls' school and later as a summer boarding house. In 1897, the Carter Family sold the mansion to Stilson Hutchins, founder of the Washington Post newspaper.
Hutchins never lived there and sold it in 1903, to affluent Washingtonians William and Edith Eustis, who restored Oatlands to its former splendor. Although Mr. Eustis died in 1921, Mrs. Eustis remained at Oatlands until her death in 1964.
Interpretive guides lead tours of the first floor of the Oatlands mansion and discuss the lives of the families who owned Oatlands, the history of the house and furnishing. Visitors are encouraged to take a self-guided tour of the mansion's second floor, and the Oatlands grounds, including more than four acres of terraced gardens and various outbuildings.
There are two gift shops and formal afternoon tea and other special events are held certain times of the year (see the website for schedule).