Departing from Southwest Waterfront, a boat skipper begins another journey down the calm, flat waters of the Potomac River. The multi-decked boats, such as the Patriot II catamaran, power DC Harbor Cruises's daily tours of the capital's famous waterway. The tour crafts are furnished with bars, snacks, full audio systems, and plush seating for sightseers to enjoy as they drift along the Potomac's smooth waters and collect eyefuls of national treasures. Guests can admire the imposing Capitol Building and whisper about how silly the Washington Monument looks without its powdered wig. The Coast Guard–certified staff points out other notable visuals such as the National Cathedral's stately towers, the Pentagon, and Fort McNair.
The trio of seasoned tour guides understands that being a guide is more than just being able to carry a microphone and CDL driver’s license with style. Being a guide is a great responsibility; it means safeguarding history and passing its great secrets and wisdoms on to others. Whether visiting DC’s iconic structures and memorials in the daylight or evening, they passionately share the stories of the individuals, ideals, and food-based dares that shaped the United States into what it is today. Fueled by the realization that planning a trip to the nation’s capital may be a once in a lifetime experience for some people, they put extra effort into ensuring that experience is as memorable as possible, leading all of their tours in a luxurious 2012 Mercedes bus.
Committing their enterprise to eco-friendly tourism, the women at SegZone Tours guide visitors through the historic streets of Annapolis, along the city waterways of Dover, and around the track at Dover International Speedway—all aboard segways. For groups or private parties, tour leaders can also focus excursions on local gardens, architecture, and wildlife in areas often unreachable by car or paraglider. They also guide themed seasonal tours, such as rides along haunted-house routes or past holiday-light displays. With an eye toward safety, staff members always provide thorough instruction on riding before tours or rentals, though they often give customers license to race or argue over whose segway would look better with flames painted on the side. When not leading guided excursions for customers or school groups, the team organizes corporate team-building events as well as indoor obstacle courses for recreation.
Founded by Post cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens is a premier art collector's museum. Featuring the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia, 18th-century French decorative arts, Faberge eggs, Beauvais tapestries--and situated on 16 acres of gardens.
French-trained photographer E. David Luria loves many subjects, but he directs most of his attention toward Washington, DC's historic architecture. His images, which lovingly depict the city's landmarks, have been published in Time magazine as well as several local Washington papers. Luria teaches tricks of his trade privately for the Smithsonian Resident Associates Program, but also through Washington Photo Safari's tours.
Luria, along with a team of 11 other instructors—many experienced independent photographers and photojournalists—shepherd small groups through the capital's streets, gardens, and halls while teaching them photographic techniques. These include how to use selective focus, control F-stops and shutter speeds, and remove vampires from pictures taken at night. They then help participants practice these skills on expeditions through buildings such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington National Cathedral, and the National Building Museum. More seasonal tours let guests document the short-lived cherry blossom season, challenging them to capture striking tableaus of the pink petals from land or water. They also teach composition among the verdant garden landscapes and elegant buildings at Hillwood Gardens and the US Botanic Garden to foster tourists’ appreciation for nature and their ability to heckle squirrels.