Ann Aldrich, the Conservancy’s Restoration Director retired in August to focus on restoring a historic stone house and surrounding landscape in Leitersburg, Maryland. We asked her to provide us with an update on her life in the country:
I left my beloved Park in August to focus my energies on renovating a historic stone house I purchased with my husband Jim, outside Leitersburg, Maryland. The house, which was built in 1803, sits in a valley on an abandoned historic road and has over 30 acres of land. Our dream is to restore the house and grounds so they can survive another century. With many acres of invasive plants to remove, the project is an extension of the work that I did in Dumbarton Oaks Park and I believe an amazing transition is possible. We have Soay sheep to help eat the invasive plants, along with guinea fowl, chickens, a livestock guardian dog, and an inside cat. It is a wonderful quiet woodland and meadow retreat with an amazing bird population.
The Conservancy and Beatrix Farrand are never far from my focus. Recently, I was able to present DOPC’s work to over 400 people at the New Directions in American Landscape conferences sponsored by meadow designer, Larry Weaner. Many of the attendees expressed the desire to see the Park in person and were inspired by how we were able to reclaim a public space with the help of volunteers..
Jim and I were recently in the Park re-taking many of his early photographs. The work that has been accomplished is inspiring! Jim and I will continue to visit to document the progress of restoration. We are excited to see the next steps as DOPC and Rock Creek Park move forward with plans to control the stormwater and restore the stream structures and plantings.