If I walked fast enough, I could probably reach Georgetown within 10 minutes.
But because I tend to take my time when I walk, as my mum frequently tells me, I usually arrive in 15 minutes, flat.
It’s slowly becoming my favorite neighborhood within DC, and given that it’s so close to our apartment, at practically less than 6 blocks away, Georgetown‘s accessibility only adds to its historical English charm.
A bridge (busy with pedestrians and vehicles alike) connects my neighborhood, West End, and Georgetown, but if anything, that is probably the only thing both neighbourhoods have in common.
While West End is more modern and spacious, Georgetown exudes an attractiveness that most quaint, small English towns naturally possess.
Rows of shops line both sides of M street, the busy hotbed of traffic and activity that defines Georgetown.
You know how you can better appreciate a side of a street when you’re on the other side of it?
Everytime I stroll about in Georgetown, my eyes darting from here to there at the buzz of activity and abundance of shops available, I feel like I need to be on the other side of M street to fully soak in the views of the side I’m walking on.
Walking in Georgetown is a sensory experience in every sense of the word.
With every few meters that I walk, the smells that fill my nostrils and sights that capture my eyes take me from one journey to another.
When I first cross the bridge, walking on the left side of M street (with the Potomac river to my left) and passing the Four Seasons hotel, I’m greeted with a small bookshop with its books displayed on the sidewalk, and I invariably stop, my hands running over one book to another, my eyes glancing quickly at their titles in search of something that catches my attention.
Next to the bookstore is the tu-o-tu cafe, which I’m guessing is a pun intended on the Washington DC telephone prefix “202”, but I’m not quite sure. I cross the first street that intersects M street from there and there is a line of shops that still make me giddy with excitement each time I pass by.
There’s a tobacco store somewhere – you can smell its prized wares from a few meters away – and if you keep walking past the few clothes shops that follow it, you’ll see Lush, a place where you can get all sorts of luxury soaps in all shapes and sizes possible.
Keep right on strolling and you’ll pass Haagen Daaz, on the left of Starbucks, where the aroma of freshly brewed coffee is perpetually tingling in the air. Cross another small street and you’ll pass by Clyde’s – a bar that my Argentine friend Maria recommends and remembers from her teenage days in DC but I haven’t yet tried.
Now, if you cross over and walk on the other side of M street, which is usually the side that the sun beats down on in the afternoons, you’ll see the Old Stone House, apparently one of the oldest buildings still standing in Georgetown – you can take a walk in the little garden behind it, or even check out the small souvenir shop that’s open almost daily until 6pm.
Move on a little bit more and you’ll see a small sign that offers to read your palm for just $5, and then further up is Maxine, a bar which advertises its 4pm to 7pm happy hour on a small chalkboard with writing in bright chalk colors.
When you’ve reached the Wisconsin Avenue (and you’ll know you’ve reached because the large PNC bank stands at the intersection of M and Wisconsin, it’s golden dome shining bright under the sun), turn to the right, uphill, in the direction away from the Potomac.
Just being away from M street, you start to get a much more residential feel, and quaint row houses line the roads, shaded by the green, leafy canopy above.
Apart from the countless restaurants, bars, and numerous shops you can be entertained by in Georgetown, this beautiful neighborhood also hides another gem – the Georgetown University campus.
During the day, the campus teems with its students, their faculty attire mostly shorts and a sweatshirt paired with flip-flops or sneakers, their main accessory the laptops clutched to their chests.
Being on campus ground makes me miss my university days back at SMU, and strolling around the Georgetown University made me temporarily wish to be transported back to my student days.
The spacious campus houses various buildings, most of which look almost as if they had jumped out of the Harry Potter’s movie scene. There is a serenity that makes it hard to leave. But I eventually do.
And so, this is Georgetown, the prettiest neighborhood I’ve come across in Washington DC, which looks and feels nothing like the rest of the US capital.
I’ll be back, many many more times.