Georgetown, Washington D.C.

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    Georgetown's historic cemeteries

    by Jefie Updated Oct 9, 2014

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    We finished our day in Georgetown by visiting two very different historic cemeteries located quite close to one another. The first, Oak Hill Cemetery, was founded in 1848 on a 15-acre plot of land bought by William Wilson Corcoran, the same retired banker turned philanthropist responsible for the Corcoran Gallery of Art. In the 1830s, the garden-style Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, had become hugely popular, and it was Corcoran's wish to bring the same type of final resting place to Washington. It's definitely worth stopping by this beautifully landscaped cemetery, which features gentle rolling hills crossed by lovely winding roads, as well as several beautiful Victorian monuments. Several important Washington public figures have been buried at Oak Hill over the years, although my knowledge of American politics was too limited for me to be able to identify them. But what I was motly interested in seeing was the chapel designed by James Renwick, the same architect who designed Smithsonian Castle and St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC. Located near the main entrance, the chapel truly is a Gothic Revival masterpiece despite (or perhaps because of) its moderate size.

    The second cemetery we went to was Mount Zion Cemetery. This cemetery's main claim to fame is that from its very beginnings in 1808, both black and white citizens were allowed to be buried there. By the middle of the 19th century, it had become exclusively used by the city's African American families. Today, the contrast between Mount Zion and Oak Hill is rather striking: while the latter is beautifully maintained, the former has fallen into a very sad state of disrepair. This historic cemetery is now a rather spooky scene of fallen tombstones over uncut grass. I can only hope that the city plans to do something to salvage what is left of this historically significant place.

    James Renwick's chapel at Oak Hill Cemetery Mount Zion cemetery in Washington, DC Oak Hill cemetery in Washington, DC
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    The amazing gardens of Dumbarton Oaks

    by Jefie Updated Oct 9, 2014

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    This fabulous estate dates back to the 19th century and it belonged to Robert and Mildred Bliss. Robert Bliss was an American diplomat who had graduated from Harvard University and, while they were both still alive, the couple expressed their wish to give the property away to Bliss's alma mater. The famous university used the couple's extensive art collection and 8,000 volumes to open a museum and research library dedicated to Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art studies, as well as garden design and landscape architecture. Since this is what we were most interested in, we skipped the residence and went straight to the gardens. In 1920, Mildred Bliss hired a landscape gardener and began planning work around the estate. It would take almost 30 years for their shared vision to fully come to life: from a collection of small themed gardens and landscaped terraces near the house, the estate gradually takes full advantage of its hilly location to move towards orchards and lovely wild meadows. The Dumbarton Oaks gardens are open daily (closed on Mondays) from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm and admission costs $8. Guided tours of the gardens are offered on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 2:00 pm, but you can also pick up a map at the Garden Gate House and explore the estate on your own. Make sure to allow plenty of time for your visit, the gardens are huge and beautiful!

    In the Dumbarton oaks gardens Gate to the Dumbarton Oaks estate That's what I would call a mighty big flower! In the Dumbarton oaks gardens In the Dumbarton oaks gardens
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    Tudor Place Historic House & Gardens

    by Jefie Updated Oct 7, 2014

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    Located in Georgetown Heights, Tudor Place (which might as well be called Tudor Palace!) is a magnificient federal-style mansion built in 1815. Originally, it was the home of Thomas Peter and his wife Martha, the granddaughter of Martha Washington. In fact, the estate was bought thanks to money George Washington had left to his step-granddaughter, and William Thornton, the man who designed the US Capitol, was hired to design Tudor Place. Unusually, the mansion's wings were built before the magnificent centerpiece designed by Thornton was added to unite the building. The house and its beautiful gardens remained in the Peter family for six generations, until Armistead Peter III passed away in 1983. He and his wife had set up a foundation to preserve Tudor Place and its contents (it holds many items related to George Washington) as well as its 5-acre gardens, and open it to the public. Guided tours of the house are offered every hour from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, while the gardens remain open for self-guided tours (map are available at the visitor center) until 4:00 pm. Unfortunately, photos are not allowed inside Tudor Place, but the 50-minute tours give a lot of interesting information about the house's history, its tenants, and its beautiful architecture.

    Tudor Place in Washington, D.C. In the gardens of Tudor Place
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    Old Stone House, the oldest house in Washington

    by Jefie Updated Oct 6, 2014

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    Built in 1765, the Old Stone House is known as the oldest house in Washington and the only pre-revolutionary building still standing. For nearly 200 years, this humble two-storey stone cottage was used as a residence and as a shop, sometimes both at the same time. The house was bought by the federal government in 1953, and many years were spent restoring the house to its original form (so basically stripping down anything that had been added in the 19th and 20th centuries) before it opened as a museum in 1960. Today, it features a period kitchen, a dining room, four bedrooms, and a lovely garden at the back. It is open to visitors from noon to 5:00 pm daily, and admission is free. Oh, and I found my Georgetown booklet at the Old Stone House's giftshop :o)

    Old Stone House in Washington, D.C. Master bedroom of the Old Stone House In the garden of the Old Stone House
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    A historic walk around Georgetown

    by Jefie Updated Oct 6, 2014

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    We finally made it to the Georgetown area on our very last day in D.C., and I'm glad we did because not only did we end up saving the best for last, after several days of walking around downtown Washington, walking around this historic neighborhood somehow felt like we had a brand new city to explore. Georgetown was founded in 1751. At that time, it was part of the state of Maryland since Washington and the Dictrict of Columbia wouldn't be created for another 40 years. As such, it is home to several of the city's historical landmarks, including the Old Stone House (the oldest standing house in Washington; see my next tip) and the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal. Although it didn't used to be a high-income neighborhood, wealthy young professionals made the place trendy starting in the 1950s. Among these young professionals were John and Jackie Kennedy, who had a house on N Street. We very much enjoyed walking around the lovely streets of Georgetown in search of famous addresses and historic landmarks, so much so that I bought a booklet that features a guided walk through Georgetown and I fully intent on spending more time in this charming neighborhood next time I'm in D.C.!

    The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Lovely house in the Georgetown area The Kennedy residence on N Street The house Jackie lived in after the death of JFK
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    Washington Habor

    by Jefie Written Oct 6, 2014

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    It took over 10 years for the Washington Harbor project to be aproved, and another 5 years for the project to be completed. The complex was met with mixed reaction at first, mostly because its architecture is entirely different from what you find elsewhere in the city, but Washingtonians soon got used to the novelty and embraced the work of architect Arthur Cotton Moore. Bordered one one side by the the Georgetown Waterfront Park and on the other by the House of Sweden, Washington Harbor is a beautiful residential and commercial complex centered around a lovely fountain and pedestrian plaza that turn into an ice skating rink in the wintertime. A boardwalk also runs along the Potomac River. We'd already had lunch by the time we came to Washington Harbor, but I enjoyed the atmosphere around this place so much that dining at one of its restaurants (which range from casual to upscale) is definitely on my list of things to do next time I'm in Washington (oh right, because I really do plan on going back!).

    Washington Harbor in Georgetown Washington Harbor in Georgetown Washington Harbor in Georgetown
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    Georgetown: wander and enjoy the architecture

    by leics Updated Aug 10, 2014

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    I suspect many people go to Georgetown for its upmarket shopping, but that didn't interest me. I just enjoyed wandering around (and seeing more of it from the hoho bus). There is a real historical feel to this part of Washington and a a huge variety of architectural styles on show, especially if you look above the swish shop frontages.

    Georgetown is an older settlement than Washington itself (older by 40 years or so, I believe).. It was founded in 1751 as a tobacco port and also had other industrial premises such as a cement works and a flour mill.

    The Old Stone House (on M St NW) is the oldest surviving building. The interior was closed when I visited and the building has anyway, imo, undergone several changes and additions since it was first built in 1765 for one Christopher Lehman. But the gardens were open and, although small, they are lovely and somewhat reminiscent of an English cottage garden. I spent a very pleasant half-an-hour enjoying them and the peace they offered.

    Most Georgetown buildings date from the 1800s, quite a lot are brick-built and many are 'rowhouses' (what we in the UK call 'terraces'). But there are quite a few with wooden exteriors too, similar to those I saw in San Francisco (they came in a sort of 'flat-pack', apparently) and...of course..the wealthy had their own architects to design houses which pleased them.

    The Chesapeake & Ohio canal, opened in 1831 and used until the 1920s, begins (and ends) in Georgetown and eventually, after about 185 miles, leads to Cumberland in Maryland. It's now an historical park, with trails and towpaths to hike, although most of the canal no longer has any water. When I saw the canal (this part with water) running under 31st ST NW, with brick warehouses/factories alongside, it really did remind me of home...the English Midlands and the North especially. I have seen so many similar scenes when canals pass through industrialised settlements.

    There is a lot more history in Georgetown....African American history in particular, especially in the Herring Hill district. And there are links with the Kennedys, with other famous Americans and with films too. Georgetown is apparently a popular film location and people visit to see, for example, the steps used in 'The Exorcist'. I didn't bother but you might be interested.

    If I'd had more time, and if it hadn't been so warm, I'd have spent much longer exploring this part of Washington. It seemed to me by far the most interesting area from an historical point of view and history...of course...is my passion. :-)

    C&O canal M St roofline Old Stone House and garden 31st ST NW rowhouses Very narrow rowhouse
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    Lincoln memorial

    by Turska Written Mar 30, 2014

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    It was quite amazing to see this big monument since it has been seen in so many movies, documents and such.
    But it seemed to be even bigger thing to Americans, who are really patriotic in our eyes. Of course we Finns do love our homeland, but it is something so different in USA, that it is allmost strange to us, But to those people this kind of places are of course even more touching,

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    Old part of Washington

    by Turska Written Mar 30, 2014

    Coming from Europe, we had something else in mind when talking about "old town". Of course we knew it wouln´t be as old as old towns in Europe, but we thought there would not be as big roads and lots of cars, and we thought there would be some special shops maybe selling handcrafts and homely restaurants.
    Mostly it was fancy expensive shops selling expensive brands, only few restaurants.. Only one we found looking homely and some kind of personal was quite expensive, and we left without ordering anything.
    In the end we ended up to Starbucks, since it was fast and cheap.
    There was that "Old stone house", witch really was old, but quite small. We didn´t go in, since we had lost some time trying to find something to eat cheaply, and walking from railway station (should have taken a bus, there was no so much to see on the way).
    And the most interesting part of Washington was allready "behind the corner".

    Shops selling Diesel and similar brands Old stone house

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    Walk along the bustling streets of Georgetown

    by albaaust Written Jan 10, 2014

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    If you have time go for a wander around George Town. We stayed in a hotel in the area and did a lot of walking on our way to the subway. There are a lot of funky shops, art galleries and restaurants. Walk along M street (Mike Kors, Luluemon)and Wisconsin Avenue (Apple, Gap, Zara) which are the main streets.
    If interested in events in the area visit the website below.

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    STOP BY AND VISIT GEORGETOWN

    by DennyP Written Sep 11, 2011

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    Although Georgetown is mainly a residential suburb of The District of Columbia , with its tree lined leafy streets....it is a haven for Bars, Restaurants all sorts of eateries and music venues..The call of Georgetown especially at night and on weekends entices locals to Party hard in this fun town...I know I love this town and try and visit whenever in Washington DC or nearby Virginia. Being a prominent part of the Capital of the country Georgetown certainly gets its fair share of the city's visitors that come from all over the USA to see Washington DC and the many things that there are to see here..so this usually sees the local venues packed with visiting patrons.I know there are just so many places to eat and drink here ...getting through one of "Clydes" huge burgers I know takes some doing.. and a cold beer or two at the "Guards" is hard to pass up.visitors find many good venues with music here also I know an all time popular favourite is "Blues Alley" here you can listen some of the best Blues in the country with Artista changed regularly..yes...drop into George town ...you wont be dissapointed..

    THE BEAUTIFUL TIMBER DETATCHED HOUSES IN GEORGETOW LOVELY ORNATE WROUGHT IRON STAIRCASES WASHINGTON DC..A GREAT PLACE TO SPEND SOME TIME
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    Georgetown

    by mindcrime Written Nov 9, 2010

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    One afternoon after seeing many many monuments and museums we decided to get away from the city center and drink a beer somewhere else. We went to Georgetown which is now an upclass neighborhood of DC but 39 older than Washington DC. It was officially formed in 1751 with the name Georgetown because of king George II.

    The only problem is that the metro doesn’t go there and we had to walk a bit from the station, believe me, we were so tired that we were thinking even to return back to our hotel. But we made it and didn’t regret it. It’s really a charming picturesque area with nice colonial architecture. The central avenue was full of people going shopping (the prices are high) but I also loved some small cafes, ideal for people watching.

    If you have time you can walk along the Chesapeake & Ohio canal, we did it only for some minutes.
    We didn’t check any sights here though but we took a picture of the Old Stone House which is the oldest building in Washington DC! It was built in 1765!

    Georgetown buildings at Georgetown Old Stone House at Georgetown St Paul church
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    Georgetown

    by richiecdisc Written Apr 25, 2010

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    Looking at Georgetown today, it's hard to see past the trendy colorful neighborhood that attracts tourists and locals alike but it's historical past dates back to 1761 with a lifeline tied tightly to tobacco. Named after King George, its past has not been all illustrious: going from prosperous shipping center, to a fashionable living quarter, to refuge of freed slaves, to one of the city's worst slums, to home to John F. Kennedy, and finally to the dining/shopping retreat it is today.

    This was high on our list of places to see in the DC area. It's impressive old brick houses, colorful shops, and charming streets are a delight to stroll around. A bonus for us was it being home to the best beer bar in the DC area, the trendy Pizzeria Birerria.

    cool shops on M Street in Georgetown colorful Georgetown green Georgtown did JFK live here?
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    Dumbarton Bridge, aka Bison Bridge

    by von.otter Written Jan 22, 2010

    ”Only seven years ago we made a treaty by which we were assured that the buffalo country should be left to us forever. Now they threaten to take that from us also.”
    — Sitting Bull (1831-1890)

    AND THAT’S NO BULL Unfortunately, as Sitting Bull predicted, the U.S. Government did take all.

    When the Bison Bridge, also known as the Dumbarton Bridge and the Q Street Bridge, was built between 1914 and 1915, Americans were passing through a period of nostalgia (guilt?) for the nation’s native people and the West. The Indian head/buffalo nickel had been issued in 1913.

    Alexander Phimister Proctor was granted the commission to sculpt the four enormous bison on the strength of the tigers he designed for the 16th Street Bridge. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the bridge was opened to the public on Christmas Day 1915.

    Dumbarton Bridge, aka Bison Bridge, 05/09 Dumbarton Bridge, aka Bison Bridge, 05/09 Dumbarton Bridge, aka Bison Bridge, 05/09 Dumbarton Bridge, aka Bison Bridge, 05/09 Dumbarton Bridge, aka Bison Bridge, 05/09
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    Chinese Dragon Boat Festival

    by Tom_Fields Written May 18, 2009

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    Chu Yuan (340 –278 BC) was the leader of the province of Chu in ancient China. He fell out of favor with the emperor, despite his best efforts to protect his people. So he committed suicide by jumping into the Mi-Lo River. The local people tried in vain to rescue him, but it was too late.

    To this day, the people of Chu celebrate him by holding this annual boat race on the river. The sport of dragon boat racing became highly developed in China, an ancient tradition that was carried over to the US. Not much different from rowing contests in Britain, this has become a huge event in Georgetown.

    Boats at the starting point And they're off! Crews prepare The race results
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