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WalkingTown DC Tour Descriptions

Cultural Tourism DC will produce its 2022 WalkingTown DC (WTDC) program from September 17 through September 25, 2022.  Comprised of nine days of free, guided "bite-size" lunchtime tours, after-work "happy hour" tours, and longer weekend tours, the 2021 WalkingTown DC will offer up to 70 tours including biking tours. Plan to join us for these informative, engaging tours held across every quadrant of the District of Columbia. 

When a WalkingTown DC tour reaches capacity, registration closes, and we remove the online form for that tour. We do not keep a waitlist for the closed tours, but feel free to check back, as we continually process cancellations and reopen tours.

Below are descriptions of several tours that were offered in 2021.

Thank you for your interest in WalkingTown DC. 

Alphabet Animals of Capitol Hill -- The Capitol Hill Alphabet Animal Art Project (CHAAAP) was conceived a decade ago by a father walking with his two children in Capitol Hill. As he walked past lettered street names, he pointed out, "K Street—K is for Kangaroo." He brought the idea to the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) and the Alphabet Animals were born. The 20 were created with the spirit of linking our neighborhood by leading with great art, and promoting walkability, livability, and a whole lot of character! In this tour, we will see selected animal sculptures, including a mix of the original 10 sculptures and the 10 added in 2020. Participants also will learn about the historic B.B. French School building and its transformation into CHAW's home for the past nearly 50 years.

Tour guide: Hannah Blumenfeld, local arts consultant

Art and History are Alive in the Cemetery -- Historic Rock Creek Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in the Mid-Atlantic region and it has a full and rich history. The 86-acre Nationally Registered Landmark is known for its beautiful park-like settings and magnificent pieces of funerary sculpture, including pieces listed in the Smithsonian Institution's inventory of outdoor sculpture. Among the pieces are Augustus Saint-Gaudens' famous Adams Memorial, nicknamed "Grief". The tour also includes stories about some of the fascinating people who helped shape the DC area and the nation, such as an owner of the Hope Diamond, author Upton Sinclair, the first woman to volunteer for the U.S. Marines, and the inventor of Wonder Bread! Art and history are truly alive in Rock Creek Cemetery!

Tour guide: Donald Harrell, tour author

Burleith, Georgetown Flea Market & Holy Rood Cemetery -- Known as the Village in the City since 1973, Burleith is a small 10-square-block residential community nestled between Georgetown to the south and east and Glover Park to the north. The name "Burleith" dates back to 17th-century Scotland. Also known as Georgetown Heights, Burleith caught the attention of Charles Dickens, who wrote in 1842, "The heights of this neighborhood, above the Potomac River, are very picturesque…."

Tour guide: Dwane Starlin, author, licensed DC tour guide, historical character interpreter and professional musician

Circles and Squares: DC's Downtown Historical Parks -- Walk through DC's downtown collection of circular, square, rectangular and triangular parks and learn about their origins, and all the historical details -- great and small -- surrounding them. During the tour you'll learn -- What park provided fresh spring water to the White House?, Where was the Confederate Embassy located?, Does a raised hoof on an equestrian statue have any special meaning?, What park features a statue of a Union general sitting on a masculinized mare (and why)?, Where did Alexander Graham Bell live?, What mansion has an association with the Titanic? This tour is divided into two parts.

Tour guide: George Kassouf, Fitness instructor

Courage in Difficult Times: Clara Barton -- Washington, DC was greatly affected by the events of the Civil War, from the huge influx of Union soldiers to ongoing threat of attack. Out of these events strong women contributed to the Union cause and showed courage in difficult times, among them, Clara Barton. Barton was a Civil War field nurse who helped find missing soldiers after the war and founded Red Cross. This tour will trace the routes she may have walked in the time of the Civil War.

Tour guide: Melanie La Force, certified master tour guide
DC Street Art & Murals Tour -- Discover the exciting world of DC street art as we explore the U Street neighborhood and share the city's history, culture, and legacy. See historic U Street landmarks as well as more than a dozen public art works by an eclectic array of local artists.
Tour guide: Rebecca Grawl, licensed tour guide and public historian
Finding the French in DC -- Take a walk down a part of Embassy Row and participate in looking for French influence in the sites that are visited. The tour begins at Woodrow Wilson house with a story about President Wilson, his wife, and Paris. We'll then continue down Massachusetts Avenue stopping at various buildings, memorials, and sculpture to discover the French influence and ending our walk at the DuPont Circle fountain.
Tour guide: Melanie La Force, certified master tour guide
H street NE: At the Heart of Hip, Gentrification and Being a Good Neighbor -- Explore the interplay of historic Washington's rise through the struggles after the uprising/riots of 1968 and how gentrification is playing out today in the neighborhood recently named one of the "hippest" neighborhoods in the United States. Participants in this tour will be encouraged to share their experiences and thoughts as we wrestle with gentrification and being neighbors.
Tour guide: Kate Denson, licensed tour guide 
Hidden Gems of SE: Hillcrest Architecture -- This highly rated tour continues to challenge assumptions about neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. It highlights the many houses by legendary DC architects, including A.H. Sonneman, Leon Chatelain, Edward Burton Corning, James J. Baldwin, Wilfred V. Worland, George T. Santmeyers, and pioneering African American architects R.C. Archer, Jr. and Lewis W. Giles. Highlights include the 1935 polychrome Art Deco house designed by John Joseph Earley.  The tour concludes at one of the five new restaurants at long-awaited Skyland Town Center, the first large-scale retail development in 'far-SE' in more than a generation.
Tour guide: Jim Byers, neighborhood historian, 26-year resident of Hillcrest, and host of WPFW-Radio's Latin Flavor
 Hidden in Plain Sight: Forgotten Memorials of DC -- DC is a city with so many memorials, you are likely to bump into one if you turn left or right. The major memorials and monuments are well known pilgrimage sights. Perhaps it is because we are so flush with so many memorials, but there are many significant, fascinating, and beautiful memorials all over this city. And a few are better forgotten, but still kind of fun to discuss in our current affairs context. Heck you may have passed some of these historic markers and monuments hundreds of times but never realized it. What better way to cover some ground and see some sights scattered around DC than by bike!  The ride will be capped at 20 people max.

Tour Guide: Jeffrey Miller, tour guide and owner, DC Cycling Concierge

Hiking the Woods of Ward 8  -- Ward 8, the southernmost section of DC, boasts more than 500 acres of forested park land. Added to the National Park system nearly a century ago to preserve the woods and hills around old Civil War forts, it has suffered abuse and neglect in recent decades. At turns majestic and degraded, these woods include open upland areas of oak and mountain laurel, stream valleys lined with sweetgums and sycamores, and historical sites from several eras. On this hike you'll experience all of that and more along all the George Washington Carver Nature Trail and the Fort Circle Hiker-Biker Trail. You'll learn about the work of the Ward 8 Woods Conservancy to restore the parks and expand the trail network.
Tour guide: Nathan Harrington, executive director, Ward 8 Woods Conservancy 
Logan Circle Neighborhood Heritage Trail -- The Logan Circle Heritage Trail invites you to explore the dynamic and historic Logan Circle neighborhood, presenting  the rise, fall, and revival of the area, from humble rural beginnings as open farmland through the significant growth after the civil war to today's destination neighborhood. Stroll past the myriad beautifully restored Victorian townhouses. Discover religious institutions frequented by President Lyndon B. Johnson and President Clinton. See where the National Council of Negro Women got its start. Learn about the Whitman-Walker Clinic's heroic history during the AIDS epidemic. 
Tour guide: Ugo Fasano, neighborhood aficionado 

Springland Farm: Founding of American Viticulture -- Springland Farm – located at Tilden Street and Springland Lane in northwest Washington -- was the home to America's most important vineyard. From it came the American viticulture industry. Learn about the founding of the National Bureau of Standards, University of the District of Columbia, and then the International Chancery Center on the farmland, NBS's lead science role in World War II, and the first atomic clock. Hear the stories of John Adlum (Father of American Viticulture), Myrtilla Miner (founder of UDC), Marcia Van Ness, Jesse Reno, Emory Upton, Samuel Tilden and of the enslaved persons on the Adlum/ Springland Farm.  Discover an unsung DC neighborhood rich in history and stories. 
Tour guide: Chuck Ludlam, local historian and storyteller 
Tenley South by Southwest -- Did you know the area south / southwest of Tenley Circle was home to a spy, nuns, a fox hunting club, codebreakers, and an orphanage? Explore the neighborhood with Tenleytown Historical Society member Farleigh Earhart and learn more about the rich history of our neighborhood, originally a rural village. Tour takes place outside (no building interiors). Wear comfortable shoes. Tour starts outside of the DC Public Library on corner of Albemarle and Wisconsin.
Tour guide: Farleigh Earhart, neighborhood historical society member 

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