Great guidebooks aren’t just for tourists. Are these new ones worth your time?
A Literary Guide to Washington, DC by Kim Roberts
Four walking tours take you where famous authors lived, worked, and partied. Learn about Walt Whitman’s experience tending injured Civil War soldiers or stop by the house where Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and other luminaries met for salons.
111 Places in Washington That You Must Not Miss by Andréa Seiger
This wide-ranging checklist is a mix of the familiar (the “Exorcist steps”) and the fascinating (a Civil War colonel’s amputated leg is entombed at the Navy Yard?). Natives will be thrilled to see atypical guidebook fare such as Sullivan’s Toys and Vace Italian Deli’s pizza.
Lost Farms and Estates of Washington, DC by Kim Prothro Williams
Wondering what your neighborhood was like before it was developed? This book pieces together the history of rural Washington, such as John Adlum’s Cleveland Park estate and free black carpenter John Payne’s land, which later became home to Payne’s Cemetery.
Strange and Obscure Stories of Washington, DC by Tim Rowland
Rowland has an entertaining voice and a keen eye for detail. Maybe you knew that the George Washington portrait Dolley Madison saved from the White House before it burned in the War of 1812 was a copy rather than the original. We didn’t.
This article appeared in the August 2018 issue of Washingtonian.