Washington D.C. itself is filled with all kinds of activities to keep you entertained for hours, however if you’re looking to take in some the capitals best views than there’s no better place to do so than the gorgeous Georgetown!
Georgetown can be considered almost a love letter to early 18th century America, with most of its rowhouses being built in the nation first architectural style, Federalist.
Georgetown is a fantastic place to visit, being home to historic federalist rowhouses, exquisite dining locations, fantastic shopping and some beautiful natural sceneries for everyone to enjoy.
A walk through Georgetown will quickly reveal a fantastic sight of federal architecture that has been around since the 1780’s. These homes were often built by carpenters who were contracted by wealthy Englishmen looking to settle in the colonies. Eventually this style of architecture would make its way onto public buildings like churches and even townhalls. Today, these buildings can be found scattered all across Georgetown, making it perfect for satisfying that architectural itch.
Georgetown residents are also friendly, meaning you’ll feel right a home when visiting one of the capital’s main towns.
What is there to do in Georgetown?
Georgetown is a quiet town, with the majority of its residents and visitors relaxing within its parks. Georgetown is also home to an extensive collection of dining options. Such cuisines include French, Italian, American, and even traditional dishes. Additionally the town features a few shopping malls and even a number of clothing and souvenir shops to visit. Overall Georgetown is the perfect spot for a quiet vacation, the only question left is how to get to Georgetown.
You may at first be tempted to try your luck with a train or bus, but those options are hardly stress-free, not to mention unsafe. So then what is the best way to get to Georgetown? why a limo or car service of course! these days not only are limo service’s affordable, they offer a personalized experience unmatched by any other form of transit. Plus the right chauffeur can make the experience both fun and educational. So why wait?
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.
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.
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.
Federal style can also be seen used for the hotels in the area. Some of these buildings even feature pillars in the entryway, though these are mostly used in public buildings. With Georgetown being so synonymous with federal architecture its no wonder they offer tours to anyone visiting!
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.