Located Northwest of Washington D.C., and founded in the mid 1700’s, there lies a neighborhood called Georgetown. With a population over 70,000 Georgetown has a rich history from the day it was first founded. Today, Georgetown is home to some of the most fabulous restaurants in the country and some of the best shops as well! This makes it worth visiting for any tourist, so make sure you have transportation to the neighborhood to enjoy your stay. From its busy M Street to the beautiful Georgetown Park, there are plenty of things to do for anyone wanting to visit. Georgetown is also flooded with historic areas from both the 19th century and the 20th century. This can include things such as the Washington Harbor or even some of its historical schools. Georgetown is not just known for its high end shops and restaurants but also for its education. The neighborhood has consistently poured its resources into its education system landing them one of the most prestigious schools to attend, Georgetown University. Georgetown is a wonderful place to visit, and while it used to be more well known for its unattainable status. Though, recently its become much more accessible to the public, with more shops and restaurants for anyone to enjoy.
Georgetown was may have been founded in the mid 1700’s but its history goes all the way back to the 1600’s. In 1632 Henry Fleet, an English fur trader, documented a village of the Nacotchtank people called Tohoga, this is where modern Georgetown is now located. Henry Fleet had actually spent 5 years as the Nacotchtank’s prisoner, he was later freed for ransom. Henry Fleet saw the advantage that Georgetown had for shipping due to its connection to the ocean via the Potomac River. This lead to a port being build in the area and trade was then established. The port of Georgetown is actually about 40 years older than the city of Washington. Then in 1745, a tobacco inspection house was constructed alongside the Potomac River by a man named George Gordon. George Beall Jr. was also a prominent figure in the neighborhood, he was the grandson of George Bell who was a strong political figure among other things. In the 1750’s the 60 acre area was purchased by the Province of Maryland, this was done to turn the neighborhood into Georgetown. Robert Peter then became the first mayor of the town, Georgetown then began to build, using the river to its advantage by building ports and warehouses. After which the establishment of the federal capital helped Georgetown become its own independent district.
In the early 1820’s the Potomac River became so filled up with ports and silt that it became hard to navigate up to Georgetown. This was becoming such an issue that it became difficult to trade in Georgetown. The solution was to build a new canal going from Harper’s Ferry to Georgetown, however the introduction to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad altered that. To start with, the railroad was finished before the canal could be done, and it was much cheaper than the ferry. This practically killed any hope for a ferry to bring in money. While the canal was still built it was not as profitable as they had hoped, this was due to the train being much cheaper and much faster. There was an upside, the canal was originally made to allow for civilian boats to pass but with most residents now taking the train, it gave another route for ships and cargo boats to take. This wound up being extremely helpful as it helped clear up some congestion and provided a boost for the economy in the town. Georgetown would follow the trend of the evolving industries throughout the decades; during the 1820’s they traded tobacco, sugar, salt, and even hemp, later incorporating flour, and even coal. For the next 40 – 50 years the area would remain largely self governed, while this was good for expanding business it would eventually become a problem. Georgetown eventually had to deal with its original problem, constant shipping of coal leading to the area becoming silted. To make things worse in 1889 a storm at the end of May washed away a poorly managed dam in the area. This nearly destroyed Georgetown, it took years for the area to finally begin to rebuild. Georgetown not only rebuilt but also expanded. This led to the expansion of the railroads and allowed for new factories to be built in the neighborhood. Georgetown’s waterfront became more industrialized, with warehouses, and apartment complexes going up in the area. None of these apartments were actually well kept. By the end of the 19th century, Georgetown was a mix of industry along the river, and “projects” for the workers to live in. However, older homes remaining unchanged though most of them would remain abandoned for a while.
The opening of the Buffalo Bridge in the early 1910’s helped connect Georgetown with Rock Creek Park. then in the 1920’s construction began on large apartment complexes along the edge of Georgetown. The C & O Canal would deal with a series of floods throughout the years until it was eventually sold to the National Park Service in late 1938.
The area would then remain largely industrial until about 1968, a series of freeways then allowed for some commuters to avoid Georgetown altogether.
Georgetown has some of the best schools in the country and for good reason. With money constantly moving in and out of the area it allowed for schools to be well founded. Georgetown is home to many university-preparatory schools, the first being Columbian Academy. Georgetown was not just fueled by wealth but also its desire to properly educate the young. Georgetown contains multiple private schools such as; Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Georgetown Day School, and many more. The schools themselves also contain some interesting history for anyone willing to read. Georgetown does contain some public schools, and most are operated by the District of Columbia Public Schools or (DCPS) for short. There are also a number of public libraries in the area, mainly due to the District of Columbia Public Library operating there. However the most well known university is without a doubt Georgetown University.
Georgetown University is one the oldest schools in the United States founded by bishop John Carroll in 1789. It stands as the best private research university in the country and is consistently ranked among the top universities in the United States with highly picky admissions. It stands as the oldest Catholic institution of higher education in the United States however the majority of its students do not follow the religion. The school’s alumni include more U.S. diplomats than any other university in the United States. Georgetown University’s main campus is identifiable by Healy Hall, a National Historic Landmark. The school now houses about 10 undergraduate and graduate schools.
It stands as the oldest Catholic institution of higher education in the United States however the majority of its students do not follow the religion. The school’s alumni include more U.S. diplomats than any other university in the United States. this means that visiting the university is not as easy as getting on a bus, often times the students take a car service to the school. This means that unless you have the funds, Georgetown University is very difficult to tour. Georgetown University’s main campus is identifiable by Healy Hall, a National Historic Landmark. The school now houses about 10 undergraduate and graduate schools.
Georgetown has 2 main roads going through it, one of them being M street and the other being Wisconsin Avenue. Wisconsin Avenue is part of the Maryland suburbs and is often being used as the main road in the neighborhood. Wisconsin Avenue actually starts in the Georgetown and passes through a lot of parks and neighborhoods. Wisconsin Avenue passes through Glover Park, Cathedral Heights, Cleveland Park, Tenleytown and Friendship Heights. Eventually the road goes into Bethesda and forms into one of the main streets in the area. M street is split apart into 4 different section. All of these sections are named after their direction Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast. The Northwestern section carries heavy commuter traffic as it connects Pennsylvania Avenue with Key Bridge and Canal Road. The Northeastern section of M street contains the Gallaudet University. Finally the southern sections of M street lead to both the Washington Navy Yard and a few National Parks.
Georgetown is packed with high-end boutiques that despite being designer pieces still capture that small town feel. You’ll often find these shops down on M street, such shops include; Rag & Bone, Bonobos, and even Kate Spade New York. This makes taking a tour of Georgetown a must while you’re visiting.
One of Georgetown’s best tourist destination is Georgetown Park. Georgetown Park is a mixed use area, consisting of both a shopping mall and condominium use. It also went through some of the most renovations throughout the decades. parts of its structure where actually used from old tobacco warehouses in the area, these parts can date as far back as 1838. In the 1850’s Georgetown Park was bought by John E. Reeside and Gilbert Vanderwerken, during which it was used to hold their Omnibus line. After it was used to hold the Washington and Georgetown Railroad, it was then converted into a machine shop for streetcars. At one point the building served as the United States Defense Communications Annex E. Donohoe Construction Co. acquired the building in 1975 and was tasked with developing the area into a combined housing and commercial complex.
When walking around Georgetown you’ll be greeted with the sight of America’s first style of home, federal-style. The town is packed with Federalist style homes built back during the 18th century. While the architectural style may be called “Federal” its actually a style from England called “Georgian”
These homes where often built by wealthy Englishmen who would hire builders and carpenters to construct rowhouses and townhouses. During this period of expansion most houses would be built in a federal-style, which was used to design homes between 1785 to 1830. These buildings feature low stoops, iron hand rails, and are well known for their Flemish bond brick layouts. The roofs on these homes are typically pitched and would often have two attic dormers, windows and entrances would also feature small cornices above them. Some federal style public buildings feature arched windows, these are typically used by churches and town halls. The standard federal-style home is built with wood framing on top of a brick basement. Federal homes are typically three stories high, flat, with six-over-six windows lined with simple masonry. the allure of federal-style homes is derived from the elegance of linear placement of doors and windows.
Washington Harbor is also one of Georgetown’s most famous destinations as well. Washington Harbor is a mixed used development that was designed by Arthur Cotton Moore. The complex contains luxury condominiums, offices, retail space, and restaurants. Washington Harbor has a postmodern architectural style. Washington Harbor has a set of floodgates designed to help protect it against river floods; the gates were later renovated after 2010. During its initial days it was mainly used as a commercial harbor, however this changed during the Industrial Revolution. At first Washington Harbor had to close because of a decline in commercial sales. This led to numerous Manufacturing plants and industry to be built in the area. After the 1960’s Washington Harbor went through numerous proposals but none were acted upon for almost a decade. Many Georgetown residents strongly opposed plans to build a series of highways throughout the city. Ironically enough the plan that eventually went through was a plan to tear down the already existing freeway. Washington Harbor was inevitably saved by President Nixon in 1971. Construction of the actual area began in the 1980’s and was opened in phases, the first phase being in 1986.
Today, the Potomac river contains multiple waterfront dining options, many of which can give you a fantastic view of The Kennedy Center. Some of the better options for seafood in the area are places like Sequoia, Nick’s Riverside Grill, and Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place. Georgetown is also home to some of the most famous restaurants in the country, so famous even presidents eat there! 2 of these restaurants are Farmers Fishers Bakers, and Fiola Mare, who have had the luxury of having guests like Joe Biden and James Bond. Some luxury hotels offer restaurants of their own, all of these restaurants offer top cuisine options for all their guests. Places like Bourbon Steak, and CUT by Wolfgang Puck can offer you a variety of Steaks and red meat options to satisfy your meat filling. There is also a restaurant called The Alex, named after Alexander Graham Bell, which features a Steampunk aesthetic for its visitors to enjoy. You can enjoy some Italian Cuisine at the Cafe Milano and Filomena Ristorante, or an all-American menu at 1798. Georgetown also features a number of stylish bars such as Richard Sandoval’s El Centro D.F., which serves up authentic Mexican food all day!
Georgetown has a number of excellent hotels to choose from, should you decide to visit. One of its more luxurious being The Graham Hotel, which is home to 50 exclusive rooms to choose and an indoor restaurant and bar. The Graham also has a phenomenal view of the Georgetown waterfront. The hotel also features an open rooftop lounge for anyone wanting to take pictures during their tour of D.C..
There’s also Greg Engert’s The Sovereign, where one can fill up their Belgian food desires. If you’re looking to enjoy a good cocktail check out Konditorei + Kafe Leopold. For those who just want to grab a quick bite to eat, you can check out places like Sweetgreen, or Good Stuff Eatery. There are also a number of clothing shops in Georgetown as well.
If you’re planning on visiting Georgetown its good to know the best way to get around the neighborhood. Unfortunately, there are no direct bus or train routes that go in and out of Georgetown, luckily there’s another solution! Washington D.C. has many great transportation services and one of which being My Destiny Limo! My Destiny Limo can provide you with a black car service to take you in and out of Georgetown. So if you’re looking for a safe car service, they have both the safest and most relaxing car services available to you. If you’re coming in from out the Washington D.C. area, or if you’re just visiting family, then you will be happy to know that some car companies can accommodate for that. My Destiny Limo can go as far out as New York City to Washington D.C. if you needed it.