Let’s Take a Drive Through Georgetown

by hookedonhouses on July 26, 2008

Hey, everybody! I’m back after spending eight days in the Washington, D.C. area. It was a great trip but, as my daughter Lily said, “It’s good to be home again.”

We took a trolley tour through Georgetown this week because I had to see all the old townhouses there. And of course I elbowed my way into a window seat and snapped pictures as fast as I could. I knew you’d want to see them, too.

Our trolley tour guide called himself “Super Dave” (not to be confused with my Super Dave). He was full of interesting stories and information about the neighborhood. He said the area attracts lots of high-ranking government officials and news-anchor types. I kept hoping to see someone famous walking down the street, but never did. This house, according to Super Dave, was once the home of Henry Kissinger.

Now, keep in mind that I was on a bumpy, narrow street in a trolley as I took these pictures, and the traffic was crazy (cars and buses kept getting in my shots). But I think I got some good ones anyway. Take a look:

Georgetown was founded in 1751 before the city of Washington and the District of Columbia was established. It sits along the Potomac River and was one of the largest cities in Maryland before being assimilated into D.C. in 1871. There are quite a few embassies in the neighborhood, including ones belonging to France, Sweden, and Mongolia. Here’s a row of them that we passed:

In areas where developers wanted to build office buildings or other commercial buildings, they were required to leave the facades of the old houses and build behind them. It kind of fascinated me to see these "false fronts" with contemporary buildings looming behind and above them. This is one example that Super Dave pointed out to us.

In areas where developers wanted to build office buildings or other commercial buildings, they were required to leave the facades of the old houses and build behind them. It kind of fascinated me to see these “false fronts” with contemporary buildings looming behind and above them.

There were lots of little shops and restaurants.

Streetcar tracks were installed in the 1890s but have been out of use since the 1960s. You can still see them here on P Street NW (I didn’t get photos of these because I was on the wrong side of the trolley, so I’m borrowing them from here):

This old stone house, built in 1765, is the oldest surviving building in the D.C. area (on M Street):

Movies that filmed scenes in Georgetown include St. Elmo’s Fire, Dave, Wedding Crashers, and Election. Now I want to go back and watch some of them again.

You can see how close all of the houses were to the (busy) street.

This house is hard to see behind the tree, it's so tiny. It is basically the width of that pink door and the window to the right of it. It looked like a Spite House to me. Super Dave said it had recently sold for $600,000. So you can just imagine what the bigger townhouses in the area go for!

This house is hard to see behind the tree, it’s so tiny. It is basically the width of that pink door and the window to the right of it. It looked like the Spite House to me. Super Dave said it recently sold for around $600,000. So you can just imagine what the bigger townhouses in the area go for!

I hope you enjoyed the tour of Georgetown as much as I did! Do you have a favorite house? I’m kind of partial to the yellow one right here. I think it’s interesting how paint is often the only distinction made to show where one house ends and the next one begins.

I’ve got a lot to post about in the next few days, so be sure to check back often. I wouldn’t want you to miss anything!

If You’re Hooked on Old Houses:

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booklover164 July 26, 2008 at 9:53 am

I’m so glad your back. I have missed your daily blogs. It seems like you had a great vacation so yay for that. I have been to DC before but we never did the Georgetown part of it. What I missed! So glad you were able to show it to me :)

My favorite house had to be the old stone house. That just took my breath away. I loved all the houses. Thanks for including us in your tour.

Amy July 26, 2008 at 10:15 am

I live about 10 miles from DC/Georgetown, so it’s neat (and a little weird) to see it from a tourist’s perspective! I agree that the old rowhomes down there are really amazing. Maybe if I saw off an arm and a leg I might be able to afford one someday LOL

hookedonhouses July 26, 2008 at 10:44 am

Amy–you’ll have to let me know if I got any of my facts wrong. I’m relying a lot on things I remember Super Dave telling us! -J :-)

rue July 26, 2008 at 11:31 am

I’d have to say that the oldest house built there and the tiny pink door house are my favorites :)

I just love DC and I hope to see it again one day :)

rue

sarah a. July 26, 2008 at 11:49 am

Thank you for the photo tour. It was a bit nostalgic for me as my (now) husband lived and worked in D.C. (not in Georgetown, but right by the Capitol) a few years ago while we were dating, and it was always so fun to visit there! I’d loved to go back with our son to show him everything and just soak up the character of the area again. My favorite house has got to be the peach-colored house that’s shown undeneath your caption about movies being filmed there.

alison July 26, 2008 at 11:55 am

i grew up in N. Va, so I have fond memories of all the old houses. We walk around Old Town Alexandria a lot. Just like Georgetown. One benefit of having to pay so much for the houses is that since they’re so close to the road you don’t have to worry about upkeep on a front yard.

reagan July 26, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Thanks for posting these pictures, it’s so fun to see them! I love that style with all the different facades. My favorite was the light one with green gray shutters…I think..

Marie July 26, 2008 at 12:45 pm

I love those old brick houses! Did you happen to see any of the red brick houses that Senator Kennedy lived in before becoming President?

I believe he and Jackie lived at 3307 N Street before living in the White House, and afterwards Jackie lived at 3017 N Street for a year after the assasignation.

From the Nat’l Parks Service walking tour brochure:

3017 N Street – This massive brick house is called the Thomas Beall House. This house was built in 1794 by Thomas Beall a descendant of the first GEORGETOWN family. Distinguished occupants of the home have included, the Secretary of War during World War I, Newton Baker, former Miss America Yolanda Fox, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Mrs. Kennedy-Onassis and her children lived here for a year following the assassination of President Kennedy.

Thanks again for another great post!

hookedonhouses July 26, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Marie–
No! I didn’t see those! They must not have been on our trolley route. The guide pointed out where Joseph Kennedy lived, which the Kennedys considered “campaign headquarters,” but it was on the other side of the trolley where I couldn’t get a picture (hate when that happens).

I’m fascinated by the Kennedys, so I would’ve loved to have seen the brick houses you mentioned. Thanks for telling me. I’ll mark that down for my next trip! -J

Tori July 26, 2008 at 2:53 pm

When I saw the last house I said ”I like how houses are separated
by a straight line of paint” and then I read what you said and had to laugh. I love these houses, they are so pretty and interesting.

Rhoda July 26, 2008 at 3:24 pm

I’ve heard about Georgetown all my life & love those old brownstones. So pretty! It’s hard to pick a favorite. Thanks for the tour. I’d love to go one of these days.

RHoda

sfitzg July 26, 2008 at 3:27 pm

thanks for the pics!! We used to live in DC and I loved it. Fabulous houses and just an all around beautiful place. those pics made me want to go back and visit soon. Glad you had a great trip.

Marilyn July 26, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Welcome back! You provided a lovely tour – it’s like we went with you. I like that neighborhood too – you probably also checked out Adams-Morgan, where the restaurants are fantastic. Hope you had a few delicious things on what looks like a great trip!

Starr July 26, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Great tour of the townhomes. Did you notice the guy in the peach house taking out the garbage? Or maybe he was leaving the place with a bag of loot!! LOL

Great to have you back and am glad to hear that you enjoyed your awesome trip.

Starr

laura @ the shorehouse July 26, 2008 at 8:15 pm

I never met an old house tour I didn’t like! :-)

I love that oldest house — I bet it’s amazing inside those stone walls. And that last picture (yellow house). Come to think of it…I kind of like them ALL. I’d take any one of them (but $600k for that mini house. Yikes!).

Thank you for the amazing tour, and welcome back!

Angela July 26, 2008 at 9:49 pm

You are so thoughtful to your readers–working hard on your vacay to give us something to enjoy here!

Glad you all had a fun and safe trip.

My favorite is the old stone cottage.

Marie July 27, 2008 at 7:08 am

Welcome back! I love that big red townhouse about 8? or 9 house pictures up from the last. And that crazy turquoise blue one. :o)

And don’t you love watching movies that are set in places you’ve been? Or lived? One of the reasons I love “50 First Dates” because it was filmed on Oahu and we lived there when it was released. It’s fun to recognize all the places in the movie. Well…we do that when we watch “Dog the Bounty Hunter” on tv, too. Kind of scary to see them in the area you lived busting crack addicts. Kwim?

Anyway…can’t wait for your recap tonight on HGTV’S Next Design Star!

CC July 27, 2008 at 7:47 am

Thanks for sharing your vacation pics with us. I’ve never been to Georgetown so I really enjoyed seeing it through your eyes. :)

I’m with your daughter…its always nice to travel….but oh so good to get back home!

Here’s to a beautiful Sunday~

Karla & Karrie July 27, 2008 at 8:43 am

Oh how fun!! Reminds me of when we were in Boston…..love looking at old houses, they are soooo charming – I’d take pictures of them all day if I could! Thanks for sharing…..by the way, LOVE that blue fridge!!
Glad you had a nice time on vacation!!
Karla & Karrie

Robin July 27, 2008 at 11:35 am

Great pics!n I think townhouses are one of my most favorite house styles – very “house” looking but more neighborly than a suburban neighborhood because “next door” is so much closer! (at least that’s been my experience).

Nikki~ The Scarlett Rose Garden July 27, 2008 at 3:59 pm

Thanks for the tour! I can’t beleive the price of that pink/purple place. Whoa.
Nikki

Kathy :) July 27, 2008 at 6:29 pm

Hi Julia,

Welcome back….and I agree with your little Lily, it’s nice to travel but ohhhh so nice to get home ;)

Thanks for the tour I loved them all…they just ooze history.

Big night tonight who do you think is going to win ?? I am going to have to switch over during the Sox game…. Of course I will be recording but I can’t wait lol.

Have a great night,
Kathy :)

Bonnie July 28, 2008 at 2:24 pm

Don’t you just love Georgetown? When I was in college, lo those many years ago, my boyfriend was from the DC area, so I would visit there a couple of times a year. We used to dream about living in one of the Georgetown rowhouses. Then, when my kids were in college in Baltimore in the late ’90′s, I would get to visit DC a lot. Haven’t been back for 8 or 9 years, but would love to go. If I had to pick a favorite from the pictures you posted, I would pick the second to the last (turquoise blue) because it would match my Vespa!
Oh, and for another movie set in Geogetown, check out the chilling The Exorcist.

BE THE CHANGE July 28, 2008 at 3:23 pm

I’m glad you had a great time here in our fair city! I work in Georgetown and walk to work past these houses everyday – I’m glad you love them as much as me. I feel so lucky to be here!

Aubrey July 28, 2008 at 5:20 pm

I think I remember taking a field trip to Georgetown, so thanks for taking me back…I love these houses. Next time I make a trip out there, G-town is where I’ll be dragging my husband.

I loved so many, it’s hard to pick a favorite–but I have to give the turquoise one’s owners some credit for daring to be contemporary in a traditional house–at least it stands out and I think it’s a little refreshing.

Kellye July 28, 2008 at 8:30 pm

Thank you for all the pictures, Julia! I’ve been to DC a few times, but have never made it to Georgetown. I will definitely have to do that next time.

Mamacita July 29, 2008 at 12:43 am

I took some similar photos when we were in D.C. I love the townhouses, but I can’t believe that little skinny one is $600,000!

Amy Jo Trager July 29, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Thanks for the photos! I’ve never been to Georgetown, but it reminds me of Alexandria, VA which i’ve visited a few times. It’s fun to walk streets like that, but I wouldn’t want to live there. I like my space, grass, driveway, ect…

Cindy Jurie July 29, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Love the wonderful pictures! Although I’m not crazy about how they’ve built big ugly buildings behind the older homes facade.

But you forgot probably the biggest movie to be filmed in Georgetown – the Exorcist! Most of it was filmed in the neighborhood and at Georgetown University.

Bettsi July 29, 2008 at 5:49 pm

What a fun tour! Thanks Julia! I think I’m partial to the brick houses best. Especially the one with the pretty wrought iron railings over the bay window. The French mansard ones are very pretty too. As beautiful as they are, I guess I’m a true westerner- give me wide open spaces, please!

Janet August 5, 2008 at 11:59 pm

Sounds like you had a great time visiting our fair city! Georgetown is a beautiful neighborhood. If you come back, but sure to venture out into Penn Quarter, the U Street Corridor, 16th Street (particularly around Meridian Hill), and Logan Circle. All of these neighborhoods have some great historic homes that have been lovingly restored. Oh, and of course, Capitol Hill is great for famous dwellings, people watching, and celeb sightings.

Just a couple more recommendations for your next trip and then I’ll scoot: The Frederick Douglass House in Anacostia; the National Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception near the campus of Catholic University, (which has the largest collection of religious mosaics in the world); the Library of Congress; President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Old Soldiers’ Home (now the Armed Forces Retirement Home); and Rock Creek Cemetery.

Sue August 6, 2008 at 3:07 pm

You had a wonderful trip didn’t you? : )
(As fanous as you are, weren’t you stopped a lot by people asking for autographs? *smile*)

Georgetown is a favoirte place of mine….your photos were wonderful!

Love,
Sue

Norma August 10, 2008 at 2:36 am

Julia, thankyou for the wonderful trip through George Town, there sure is alot of old beautiful homes there.

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