C&O Canal Towpath
Old Stone House
Built in 1765, the capital’s oldest surviving building has been a tavern, brothel and boardinghouse (sometimes all at once) and today,...
This is as divey as they come in Georgetown – sawdust and dusky interior concealing patrons that only get more rowdy and roaring with...
Sweet and savory crepes are the specialty in this cute little pea-green spot. The execution can be inconsistent, but it’s one of the...
1057 Jefferson St NW · interesting places nearby
C&O Canal Towpath information
There are all kinds of green escapes from Washington’s urban jungle, but the C&O is one of the more pleasant, if only because of the unexpected way it leaps out at you. There you are, wandering through the Valley Girl paradise that is Georgetown on a sunny day, and all of a sudden: wooden water wheels, a green canal, shaggy horses, flat-bed barges and a cobbled path running alongside, all so bucolic you expect hobbits to emerge from the bushes with fiddles and ale. The canal, one of the civil engineering feats of the 19th century, runs 185 miles from here to Cumberland, MD, and once brought goods and passengers from the capital to the then-beginning of the American West. Today the canal’s towpath (boats were once hauled by horse) marks the start of a fabulous hiking-cycling trail. Rangers and costumed interpreters are on hand at the visitor center (1057 Thomas Jefferson St NW; 10am-4pm), and rides in old-time boats are also available. If you follow the path out of the city and into Maryland (heads up: this isn’t a casual undertaking as you’ll be heading several miles upstream before you cross the District line), there are many spots to get off the path and venture down to the river – some spots are all rocks and rapids, others calm and sandy holes perfect for a quick dip. With that said, beware: the Potomac has a very strong current.