Washington DC isn’t just our national capitol, it is an amazing city with sounds, flavors, and sights with connections from around the world. From diplomats and embassies to businesses and global nonprofits, you can experience a multitude of languages, amazing food, and people from diverse backgrounds in Washington DC—a city that ranks among the most international in the world. One of the things I love doing with my customized bike tours is to bring that diversity home for my guests and to help connect the city to their interests or homeland.
In June, I had a family as guests that I learned were descendants of President James Garfield, the 20th president of the U.S. I knew that Garfield had been shot at the Baltimore and Potomac Railway Station, which was torn down over 100 years ago. On our ride together, I showed the family the National Gallery of Art and explained it had been the site of the railway station in the late 1800’s and was where their ancestor had been shot in the back in 1881. A few blocks further, at the southwestern edge of the Capitol Building, I took them to Garfield Circle, the memorial for President Garfield.
Another of my guests in mid-July was the Beghetto family from Italy. Early on our ride from the Four Seasons Hotel, I took them down the Rock Creek Trail towards the Lincoln Memorial. As we got close I pointed out the massive “Arts of Peace” fire-gilded, bronze statues that stand as sentinels on each side of the street. “Aren’t these beautiful?” I asked, pointing to the 17-foot high sculptures featuring a Pegasus in each with symbols for music and literature, harvest and aspiration. The four teenagers and mom agreed. Then I pointed to the engraved base of the statues, which stated they were a “Gift from the People of Italy.” “Thank you!” I said.
In August, I met the Horwood family, visiting from Toronto, at their hotel for a Monuments at Night ride and designed our route to ride down Pennsylvania Avenue to admire the U.S. Capitol Building all lit up, but also so we could stop by the Canadian Embassy. There we got to not only admire the Silver level LEED certified building and its cool architecture, but also play around in the echo chamber created in the Rotunda of the Provinces (a column and crest for each of the 10 provinces and 2 territories that existed when the embassy was built in the late 1980s).
In my previous blog I mentioned the orientation ride I did with the Caruthers family from Texas. I also helped them see some fun connections to their great state. In addition to visiting their Representative’s office, we visited the statue of former Speaker of the House Rep. Samuel Rayburn of Texas in the Rayburn Office Building. Later on our ride we biked by the lesser-known and even less visited Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Memorial, which has wonderful views across the Potomac River to the Washington Monument.
I can’t promise to make homeland connections on each and every ride, but I do love doing everything possible to help my guests appreciate Washington in a personal way.
What interests, goals, or themes do you want to explore? What connections can I make for you? Let me know—I look forward to customizing a bike tour to meet your goals wishes and give you the best possible experience in DC.