Often confused with Dumbarton Oaks (the mansion and gardens), Dumbarton House is a modest Federal historic house, constructed by a wealthy family in 1798. Now it’s run by the Colonial Dames of America, who are on hand to provide gently witty commentary. The focus isn’t just the house – chockablock with antique china, silver, furnishings, gowns and books – but quaint Federal customs, like passing round the chamber pot after formal dinners so gentlemen could have a group pee.