America loves its Presidents (most times) although a number have been shot or wounded! Many of these Presidents have memorials in honor of them, and their names have become synonymous with American history.
One of the most famous Presidents is George Washington, and you can visit his mansion home called ‘Mount Vernon’ next to the Potomac River in Virginia about 15 miles from Washington (Tel: (703) 780 2000) and see the home and magnificent gardens, greenhouse, kitchen, 16 sided trading barn and even the slave house. The house was first constructed in 1735 and is open 365 days of the year. It is located at 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway in Virginia, and you can drive there, take a bus tour or come by Cruise boat on the Potomac River – the best way to come. See www.cruisemountvernon.com Tel: 1-866 211 3811. The cruise boat “Spirit of Mount Vernon” leaves from Pier 4 at 6th and Water Streets in Washington. There is also the cruise boat “Miss Christin” that leaves from Alexandria City Marina at the corner of Cameron and Union Streets in Alexandria. See www.potomacriverboatco.com
Alexandria – often called “Old Town” is in Virginia, but is merged into Washington. Located on the Potomac River and until the time of the Civil War, Alexandria was one of the biggest slave trading ports in America. There are around 4000 historic buildings located here, some of the most interesting ones located along the waterfront, the ‘Gentry Row’ rowhouses along Prince Street and the main street, King Street where the Visitor Center is located in ‘Ramsay House’ at 221 King Street. Museums you might like to see are the Lyceum (built 1839) at 201 S. Washington Street, Carlyle House at 121 N. Fairfax Street and the Alexandria Black History Museum at 902 Wythe Street (Tel: 703 746 4356). Also look for the Torpedo Factory Arts Center where they once built torpedos. Now the Center houses 3 floors of arts and crafts it is located at 105 n. Union Street. There are lots of boutiques and restaurants to enjoy in Alexandria, and the atmosphere in the old town is a popular place to spend time.
Georgetown – In the 18th and 19th century both Alexandria and Georgetown on the Potomac River were port towns with trade in furs, timber, grains, whiskey and tobacco. The Potomac River has waterfalls making it difficult for transporting goods up and down the river, and so in 1828 construction began on building a canal beside the river to make transporting goods easier. This canal, called the C&O Canal (Chesapeake & Ohio) Canal contained 74 locks and ran for 184.5 miles and operated from 1828 to 1924, before rail transport put use of the canal as a means of transport out of business. Today, the canal and its towpath and many of the old lock houses still exist and it is now part of a National Park. You can hike, ride a bike and even in summer take a ride on an old canal barge pulled along by a Mule.
Today Georgetown itself is home to the Georgetown University and many restaurants, bars and boutique shops with the main streets being M Street and Wisconsin Avenue.
WASHINGTON is certainly a beautiful city to visit, and it is easy to fill your days with visits to the many museums and art galleries, or just drift around and feel the atmosphere and character of the city.
There are lots of great hotels to stay, also bed and breakfast homestays and of course great restaurants, bars and coffee places.
We hope you enjoy your stay in Washington DC.