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WalkingTown DC 2021 Tour Descriptions

Cultural Tourism DC will produce its 2021 WalkingTown DC (WTDC) program from September 18 through September 26, 2021.  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 50 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.

Our 2021 tour selections are below.

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

Brookland: Then and Now -- The Brookland neighborhood has many landmarks that suggest its interesting and gradual development into the residential neighborhood we see today. This tour will contrast Brookland today with Brookland during five earlier historic periods, starting with the Native American Woodlands Period through the City Neighborhood (1927 to today). Armed with enlarged photos from his personal collection, your guide will also point out buildings that are on the Historic Landmark registry and the sites and homes associated with such famous Brooklanders as Sterling Brown, a Howard University professor and Harlem Renaissance poet; Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of The Yearling; Carrie Harrison, botanist and Four-H leader; and Robert Weaver, first director of Housing and Urban Development. The lives of former neighborhood residents Ralph Bunche, John Preston Davis, Walter and Jean Kerr, and Bishop Fulton Sheen will also be considered along with the various architectural styles found in Brookland.

Tour guide: John Feeley, author of Images of America: Brookland, amateur historian, and neighborhood native

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

Charles Dickens in Washington, DC -- The great English novelist Charles Dickens visited the United States in 1842, when he was 30 years old and already a celebrity author of such popular stories as "The Pickwick Papers" and "Oliver Twist". Dickens visited DC, New York, Boston and other cities and wrote the book American Notes for General Circulation." It contained a chapter about Washington, DC, and Dickens' amusing, sometimes scathing, observations about the city. This unique tour will trace Dickens' footsteps in DC as your guide recites what Dickens said about the sights along the route. He also will perform excerpts from the works that made Dickens, by turns, famous, hilarious, horrifying and moving as you walk from the Willard Hotel to the White House and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Tour guide: Stephen Mead, licensed tour guide and professional storyteller

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
Dumbarton House's Historic Landscape -- Explore the landscape of historic Dumbarton House as well as the 8-acre urban farm that surrounded the home. Learn how Georgetown and Dumbarton House changed over time while appreciating the beauty of the neighborhood during this fun & engaging program. NOTE: Capacity is limited, and social distancing is expected of all attendees. Attendees who are unvaccinated will be required to wear a mask or face gathering.
Tour guide: Dwane Starlin, author, licensed DC tour guide, historical character interpreter and professional musician
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
Frederick Law Olmsted and the U.S. Capitol Grounds -- Commissioned by Congress in 1874 to design the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, Frederick Law Olmsted created an innovative landscape, presenting the building to greatest visual effect while overcoming numerous design challenges. Explore the history and design of the Capitol Grounds while learning about its intricate features: the Olmsted-designed marble terraces; brick Summerhouse, masterful stone and ironwork; and carefully crafted views and circulation paths. The tour is presented by the National Association for Olmsted Parks and the United States Capitol Historical Society and led by volunteers from the USCHS.
Tour guide: Steve Livengood, public historian and chief 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!

Join Jeff Miller, the DC Cycling Concierge for a memorable and casual / relaxed pace 2-hour bicycle ride as we check out a wide range of different memorials right before our eyes. This 5 mile ride includes several stops. We will be riding some city streets, but the route will be on quieter streets, streets with bike lanes, and bike trails, as much as possible. The ride will be capped at 20 people max, so please RSVP today!

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 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 
Historic Chevy Chase DC Walking Tour -- Learn about the history and architecture of Chevy Chase DC, starting at the Avalon Theatre. Hear about the community's development in the early 20th Century and see examples of the wide variety of architectural styles that make Chevy Chase DC so distinctive.
Tour guide: Keene Taylor, Chevy Chase native, past president of Historic Chevy Chase DC, and a principal of Taylor-Agostino Real Estate 
Historic Oak Hill Cemetery -- Take a stroll through one of DC's most scenic and historic cemeteries, overlooking Rock Creek Park and near Dumbarton Oaks. Visit the graves of Katherine Graham and Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post, the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Joseph Henry, Lincoln's Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and his personal secretary John Nicolay, Truman's Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Union General Jesse Reno, hotelier Joseph Willard, and many others. Tour will be outside on hilly grounds.
Tour guide: Craig Howell, Native Washingtonian, licensed DC tour guide, and lifelong history buff
LeDroit Park: A Hidden Gem -- LeDroit Park is a hidden gem in DC with tree lined streets, detached homes and a lot of history! While it started as a gated "white only" community, LeDroit Park's black history includes poets, educators, politicians and more. Learn about one of the first DC suburbs--how it started, the unique architecture of the homes, and what it became through the years.
Tour guide: Canden Arciniega, historian and licensed tour guide 
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. The 1.5 mile-walk offers approximately one hour and a half of gentle exercise.
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 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 
The Hidden History of Adams Morgan -- This eclectic tour of Adams Morgan touches on everything from the geology of what's underneath the ground to the impact of banking on housing in this neighborhood. Learn about the controversies and conflict, the plan to build a freeway through the neighborhood, and its historic murals. Get a different understanding of the history of Native Americans and the legacy of slavery, local politics, immigrant communities and the impact of Adams Morgan on the world.
Tour guide: Eddie Becker, long-time resident, investigative researcher, and documentary film maker

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