The DC-area Sierra Club has a very active hiking group, with several options each weekend. Not only do they lead wilderness hikes, but also explorations of city neighborhoods and parks.
My second Saturday here, I signed up for a walking tour of Georgetown, the historic neighborhood of pricey row houses and quiet streets behind a lively shopping and restaurant district.
Our leader was a woman who carried along a history book well marked with yellow stickers, for easy reference in explaining the sites along the way.
We saw a lot of truly fascinating things, including an alleyway that once housed 40 black families but now is filled with just a few very chick residences. We saw the home that Jackie Kennedy retreated to after her husband’s assassination; IBM’s early headquarters; a mid-19th-century school for black children; an early streetcar passenger station; and the home of the owner of the Hope Diamond.
The tour also included a stop outside Dumbarton Oaks, an estate that was the site of talks in 1944 that led to the formation of the United Nations. And, not to be forgotten, the set of very steep, long stairs featured in the movie The Exorcist.
Our leader handed out a walking map and a list of all the stops we made, with descriptions for each. She suggested visiting on a Sunday, when you can drop into realtors’ open houses and get a peek inside some of the residences in the neighborhood.