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“Excellent walking tour about the War of 1812”
Review of Washington Walks

Washington Walks
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US$20.00*
and up
Washington DC Georgetown Walking Tour
Ranked #52 of 142 Tours in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
Rockville, Maryland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Excellent walking tour about the War of 1812”
Reviewed 25 August 2014

I am a docent at the Smithsonian American History Museum, so I know quite a bit about American history, but am always seeking opportunities to learn more. I certainly knew about the White House being burned down in 1814, but this tour gave me lots more information. I gained lots of insights that I did not have before, and I really enjoyed it. The tour guide, Jim, was very knowledgeable, spoke clearly, and set a good pace. He was open-minded to some additional tidbits of knowledge that some of the people on the tour had, and demonstrated a good sense of humor.

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
Thank arnoldwal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
washwalks, Owner at Washington Walks, responded to this review, 10 September 2014
Coming from a docent at the Smithsonian American History Museum, your review is quite a compliment. Thank you very much! We are glad "Washington is Burning! August 1814" added to your War of 1812 knowledge base. Jim, the guide who led the tour, genuinely enjoys hearing from walkers who share facts and figures with the group. (We've gleaned a lot of good information that way as tour guides.) Carolyn Crouch, Founder, Washington Walks
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73 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Centreville, Virginia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A fun and abundantly informative day outing”
Reviewed 25 August 2014

My wife and I signed up for a Washington Walk entitled "The Burning of Washington" scheduled for August 24, 2014. By some fortuitous happenstance, the tour took place 200 years to the day of the calamitous event. What had surprised me is that Americans often rush to celebrate those episodes in our history where we were victorious, but shrink from learning about those passages in our past where we acted as bumbling, incompetent - and outright dumb - cowards. I praise Washington Walks for offering this walk - which essentially represented the only commemoration, in our nation's history, of the destruction our most important public buildings: the Capitol and the White House. On 9/11, we learned after the fact that both these buildings were targeted by those terrorist planes, and the horror among the populace was palpable ... but when such destruction actually happened once in our history, we don't seem to want to remember. Sunday's Washington Walk tour about the conflagration was both entertaining and abundantly informative. Actually, the tour was broken into two sections, morning and afternoon, between which was an enlightening talk in downtown D.C. by the author of a noted book on the attack on our capital, Steve Vogel, who provided special insight into the events of that fateful day. The highlight of the tour came at the end of our four-mile hike from Capitol Hill to the Octagon House on the border of Foggy Bottom. At the Octagon House, we were entertained by a brilliant actress impersonating Dolly Madison, who related important details, in character, of his narrow escape from the British late on August 24, 1814. All in all, this was a great day, under perfect weather, in downtown Washington, D.C., and I am eager to sign up for more Washington Walks, to learn much more about the history of my adopted home city.

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Donnagha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
washwalks, Owner at Washington Walks, responded to this review, 4 September 2014
At the very first meeting held for Washington Walks guides interested in leading "Washington is Burning! August 1814," we each answered the question, "Why do I want to lead this particular tour?" The responses indicated that all felt a keen desire not only to relay the story of (to use your words) a "calamitous event", but also to delve into its history ourselves. It proved to be a richly rewarding undertaking, and one that afforded the opportunity to work with talented colleagues such as "Through the Perilous Fight "author Steve Vogel, Leigh Jameson from the History Warehouse, and the generous staff at the Octagon House. We plan to offer the tour as an annual event every August, inspired by participants like you who share our never ending curiosity about Washington history. Many thanks for attending! -Carolyn Crouch, Founder, Washington Walks
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
“Rainy day...sunny tour”
Reviewed 25 August 2014

I did Part II of the War of 1812 Walking Tour (Part I was sold out). The rain tried to ruin the day, our tour guide Jim made sure the experience was still great. Fun, interesting, and informative. Would recommend it to tourists and locals alike (I happen to be a local). Oh, and the finale with Dolly Madison was excellent! I really had a great time.

Washinton Walks did a great job and I will be looking forward to more in the future!

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
Thank reggieb03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
washwalks, Owner at Washington Walks, responded to this review, 4 September 2014
It was not lost on our guide Jim as he led your group in Part II of "Washington is Burning! August 1814" that rain actually played a role in the events of August 24, 1814. He decided to embrace this soggy coincidence! Glad you were not discouraged by a bit of wet weather either. (And let's face it, rain is preferable to the 98 degrees that the British faced when they marched into Washington, D.C.) Thank you for joining us. Until the next walk, Carolyn Crouch, Founder, Washington Walks
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Towson, Maryland, United States
1 review
“Go for a History Walk”
Reviewed 24 August 2014

It was wonderful. I'm a native Washingtonian whose high school history did his thesis on the Battle of Bladensburg or, as he called it, 'The Bladensburg Races.'
The tour guide, Michael, was very knowledgeable, spoke loudly and clearly, and walked briskly. I learned about Barney and several other historical people who had a roll in the events that lead to the burning of Washington 200 years ago as I type this.
Yes, I will go on other walks.

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
Thank Roger D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
washwalks, Owner at Washington Walks, responded to this review, 4 September 2014
Thank you for attending "Washington is Burning! August 1814." We had the best time putting this tour together to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812. I feel confident that the guides who led that walk over the two weekends would agree that Admiral Joshua Barney was the hero of the Battle of Bladensburg; he was one of our favorite personalities to research as we prepared. As you know from participating, your history teacher's descriptor "Bladensburg Races" was all too apt, at least as regards the U.S. troops. Yikes! Look forward to having you along on another walk. -Carolyn Crouch, Founder, Washington Walks
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Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
109 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 271 helpful votes
“A BIG Disappointment - Arlington National Cemetery Walking Tour”
Reviewed 16 August 2014

This is a review of Washington Walks' "Walking Tour of Arlington Cemetery" only. Other tours by this company may be much better.

We live in the D.C. area and have been to Arlington National Cemetery many times, but I was interested in doing this tour because: 1) I had discounted tickets for it, 2) I thought I would learn some new and interesting things about the cemetery and some of the people buried there and 3) the weather was going to be good for a walk around the cemetery. Well--I guess 1 out of 3 ain't too bad--the weather was good, but I learned nothing new and even the discounted price wasn't worth it.

The tour began badly with a long wait for it to begin. The instructions on my ticket voucher indicated we should meet our guide outside the Arlington Metro station 10 minutes before the tour began, i.e. 10:20 am. We arrived at 10:15 and our guide arrived shortly thereafter. He said that people sometimes stay down in the Metro, so he went down there to wait for people and, as a result, our tour did not start until 10:45 am--25 minutes after everyone was to have arrived and 15 minutes after the tour was to have begun. The simple solution to this problem is to have everyone meet outside the Cemetery's Visitor's Center--easy to find for anyone.

I expected we would make several stops during the course of the tour to hear about prominent or interesting people buried in the cemetery. Instead, where the guide did make stops, we either heard no information about the person buried there or erroneous information. In the case of the Kennedy gravesite, there was little information given about JFK and no information about RFK or Ted Kennedy. The information about Joseph P. Kennedy III was just wrong--he's not buried there! (I know his body was never recovered after being shot down during WWII, but the tour guide certainly didn't know that.) At the site of the memorials to the Challenger and Columbia astronauts, we learned nothing about them other than Christa McAuliffe was a teacher. At the memorial to the men who died in the rescue attempt of the U.S. hostages in Iran, the guide kept talking about "Iran Contra"! At the Audie Murphy gravesite, we were told nothing but that he was "probably" the most decorated war hero in WWII and was in the movies. (Well, I'd sure like to have heard more about his decorations, including the Medal of Honor which is noted on his tombstone.) My companion and I decided we were DONE after we reached the area where Adm. Richard Byrd and Gen. "Chappie" James were buried. The guide mentioned their names and who they were, but did not even point out their gravesites or tell us anything interesting about these people. At this point, we left the group and headed home.

The one highlight of the tour was being led to the area at the far end of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where we got an excellent view of the Changing of the Guard ceremony. But, again, the guide provided no information about the ceremony and the one interesting fact we did learn (i.e. that the men who guard the tomb do not wear their ranks so that they do not outrank any man who might be buried in the tomb) was provided by a member of the tour group--not the guide!

At a regular price of $15 per person, you would pay less and learn more by taking the Arlington National Cemetery bus tour ($9.00). In fact, you'd probably learn a lot more (and not get any incorrect information) by just reading a guidebook about Arlington National Cemetery before walking around on your own.

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank longhorn74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
washwalks, Owner at Washington Walks, responded to this review, 22 August 2014
Thank you for the feedback. We have been trying to figure out the best spot for the "Arlington Cemetery" walking tour start point; obviously we haven't gotten it right yet. I am sorry you had such a frustrating experience. Although starting the walk at the Arlington Cemetery Visitors Center might seem like a no-brainer, it's not quite that simple: the National Park Service, overseers of the site, take a dim view of outside tour operators setting up shop in their immediate vicinity. The Visitors Center is off limits to us. The "Arlington Cemetery" guides and I will continue to brainstorm about how to achieve a stress-free, streamlined customer experience for this tour.

Although this walk did not meet your expectations, I'd like to encourage you to give Washington Walks another try. We would welcome the opportunity to provide you with an excellent outing in the nation's capital.

Thank you for attending the walk.

Carolyn Crouch, Founder, Washington Walks
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