Other places: finding a reprieve in Georgetown.

AuthorSmith, Erica
PositionCity overview

A quiet D.C. neighborhood is steeped in history

Georgetown isn't a typical college town. This vibrant, bohemian neighborhood of Washington, D.C. is clearly influenced by the cultural diversity of its prestigious university and of Washington as a whole, but with a level of sophistication that separates it from both the rowdy college scene and the straitlaced business and politics inside the city's center. The grand landmarks of political Washington give way in just a few blocks to charming townhouses in a variety of architectural styles and colors. Bistros and cafes, shaded by magnolia trees, line cobblestone and brick sidewalks. Art galleries, antiques shops and high-end retailers punctuate the main artery in this neighborhood that is reminiscent of the charm of Montreal, Boston and San Francisco. This is the place for reprieve in Washington.

Set on the banks of the Potomac River, Georgetown is best explored on foot. A boardwalk allows a peaceful stroll along the water and gives the appearance of a seaside resort town. The historic Cleveland & Ohio (C&O) Canal passes through the neighborhood, where educational boat trips are offered beginning in the spring. The canal was originally used by communities and businesses along the Potomac for delivering coal, lumber, grain and other agricultural products and is the only towpath canal in the U.S. that remains intact today. The colorful brick rowhouses and sidewalk cafes that line the banks of the canal create a picturesque scene.

Georgetown as a historic neighborhood invokes the feeling of stepping back in time. The variety in architectural styles is an observance of changing trends during its development. The Old Stone House on M Street, built in 1765, is the neighborhood's oldest intact building; Georgian mansions with curved steps line the streets away from the main artery of Georgetown. Federal-style houses are an expected complement to this area rich in architectural treasures.

The presence of several art galleries and antiques stores, featuring a fair share of American art and relics, speaks to the history of the area. High-end specialty stores abound--such as the Bryn Mawr Bookshop that offers a selection of donated antiquarian books, and Frank Milwee's antiques shop that features a collection of silver vases, corkscrews, candelabras and much more from various time periods and places. These shops are interspersed among more well-known retailers, the likes of which are found on Madison...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT