Off the Beaten Path Georgetown Sites

Have a bit of extra time during your visit to Georgetown? Want to see some of the unique, lesser known historic sites and homes?

We’ve compiled a list of some of favorite off the beaten path Georgetown sites:

1. Julia Child’s House: In 1948, Julia and Paul Child, who met while working for the O.S.S. (whose head also lived in Georgetown), purchased this little house. Research hasn’t shown if it was this color when she lived here, but the buttery color is the perfect color for the soon to be famous chef. It wouldn’t be long until the couple moved to Paris and rented this house out for eight years, but when they returned to Georgetown, Julia would host cooking parties for neighborhood ladies – such as Katherine Graham, of the Washington Post. The husbands were allowed to attend the cooking events under  two rules. They had to eat everything on the plate and they could make no criticisms!

The little butter colored house is located at 2706 Olive Street NW.

2. Herring Hill: the northeastern part of Georgetown by Rock Creek has a historic distinct from the rest of the neighborhood. Often called Herring Hill, after the herring caught in the nearby creek, this was a self-sufficient and successful black American community, even before the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. With the heritage of tobacco farmers starting Georgetown, there was a large number of slaves but here in Herring Hill you would also find many successful black owned businesses and professions. Though not much remains today, you can see a distinctiveness in the architecture in this area, as well as many area churches still standing. For self guided walking tour of the area that focuses on the black history of Georgetown, visit our Self Guided Tours.

Herring Hill was generally  the area south of P St NW between 29th St NW and Rock Creek.

3. Evermay: This private estate has always been such – built by a recluse, Samuel Davidson, who put an ad in the newspaper warning neighbors to “avoid Evermay as they would a den of evils or rattlesnakes…” The beautiful home and grounds are only occasionally open to the public when there are events – usually musical concerts – held in the former home. Today it is owned by the S&R Foundation who often hosts visiting artists in Evermay. If no events are scheduled, you can often sneak a peak in as you walk past the driveway. On their website is an armchair tour of the house for the very curious.

Evermay is located at 1623 28th St Nw.

4. Montrose Park: Visiting this public park in the north of Georgetown makes you forget your in a bustling city. The quietness used to be called Parrott’s Woods, named aft er it’s owner Robert Parrott. Parrott was a ropemaker and the long sidewalk from R St NW through the park isn’t a sidewalk at all. In fact, the concrete walkway bordered by red bricks is an old rope walk used to measure and braid links of rope.

You can find the park on R St NW between 30th and 31st St NW.

5. Lover’s Lane: This is a serene, pedestrian-only walk down Lovers’ Lane between Dumbarton Oaks and Montrose Park. Lovers’ Lane separates Dumbarton Oaks estate from Montrose Park and is marked by the sign “Dumbarton Oaks Park, Open Dawn to Dusk.”  As you exit the short walk at the top of the hill, if you see a house with a red door across the street from the Danish Embassy – that is the newest residence of Bill and Hillary Clinton!

Lover’s Lane is accessible from R St NW, east of 31 St NW.


6. St. John’s Episcopal Church: Land was given by the Church of England in 1769 for a church at this location, but the church was not completed until 1804. The church as it looks today has gone through many changes – in the 1830s, it was an artist’s studio! Dolley Madison and Francis Scott Key were members of the congregation. The intimate wooden Chapel of the Carpenter is located around the corner.

The church is at the corner of O St NW and Potomac St NW.

7. Volta Bureau: Alexander Graham Bell began working out of the carriage house in his father’s backyard on 35th St NW. Using the money he won from the Volta Prize for his invention of the telephone, he opened the Volta Laboratory for the education of the deaf. This new temple style building for the Volta Bureau broke ground in 1893 in a ceremony led by Helen Keller. It was here that the graphophone was invented – an improved version of the phonograph. The recording device first played by a quote from Hamlet and an introduction “I am a graphophone. My mother was a phonograph.” This invention would later lead to Volta Graphophone Company that today is Columbia Records.

The temple-like Bureau is located at 3414 Volta Place NW.


About the author

Canden is a historian and tour guide in Washington DC with 3 published books about the city. She has written for HuffPost Travel and has been featured in the Washington Post, WTOP, and numerous other DC papers. She's also been interviewed by the Travel Channel and Discovery Family Channel. Canden is the host of our podcast, Tour Guide Tell All

With a M.A. in History from University College London and a B.A. in History from Elon University, she is an authority on D.C. history, and has led tours in the city for over 10 years. She currently resides in DC, but has also lived in London and South Korea, and has travelled to 25 countries. Her two children (both under the age of 3) have their passports and own frequent flier accounts.