Summer makes for some slow news days, so GM is going to re-run his Seven Georgetowns series from a few years back. And as NBC used to say, if you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you!
A common refrain you’ll hear from longer time Georgetown residents is that the neighborhood isn’t what it once was. GM doesn’t have to list all the old stores or restaurants that people miss. Or any other neighborhood amenity lost to history.
What GM would like to suggest today is that maybe Georgetown is somehow less than the sum of its parts. In other words, when considered as an entire neighborhood, there are countless complaints about what it lacks or has in excess. But people rarely experience the entire neighborhood on any sort of a regular basis. If most residents are like GM, they spend most of their time in the neighborhood within 5-7 blocks or so.
And when you start breaking up Georgetown into some natural groupings around that premise, you end up with seven smaller “neighborhoods”. And each is distinct from the others with impressive strengths and unique drawbacks. So maybe Georgetown as a whole is great, and maybe it isn’t. But the seven sub-neighborhoods are pretty great when judged on their own.
GM came up with a map, seen above, with these seven sub-neighborhoods. Is it a perfect map reflecting all residents’ views? Of course not. But it is GM’s best guess. Suggest your own changes below if you’d like!
So without further ado, GM will begin with his home sub-neighborhood: Book Hill
Book Hill is the residential area surrounding the commercial district on Wisconsin Ave from P St. up to R St. The name came from the park south of the library, which was saved by the efforts of the Friends of Book Hill Park, founded in 2000. The shops adopted the name several years later. Good enough for GM.
Book Hill is a neighborhood that boasts a large number of independent shops and restaurants. It also hosts two civic gems in the Georgetown Library and Volta Park, the only city-run park in Georgetown.
Here is a list of the standout features or shops in Book Hill:
- No fewer than ten restaurants, with menus ranging from French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and more.
- A huge collection of high-end antique shops
- Several art galleries
- Volta Park, with tennis courts, basketball courts, a large playground, fields (with annual concerts), and a public pool
- The George Town Club, a fancy private club popular with neighbors
- Two full service autoshops
- A food market with butcher at Via Umbria
- Top notch wine and liquor at Bacchus
- Easy access to several very useful bus lines (D series, and the Wisconsin Ave. lines)
- There’s even a corner store tucked away in the neighborhood (Le Petite Corner Store at 34th and Dent)
Here are some of the few drawbacks for Book Hill:
- While it is not as bad as to the south, traffic on 34th St. in Book Hill can be bad during rush hours
- With the introduction of more popular restaurants in Book Hill, parking in the neighborhood has grown increasingly challenging, but it’s still not intolerable
- The pool gets very crowded on summer weekends, which can be particularly frustrating since so many of the people inside are just sunning themselves while looking at their phones
So take what is above and just ask yourself: what would you think about a neighborhood that had all that stuff without being part of a larger commercial/residential neighborhood? It would be pretty good don’t you think? And GM thinks you find that almost all the seven will seem that way when considered on its own. (The tricky one will be the last one: Central Georgetown.)