the chorister's c

Washington detours


More Resources

last update: Tuesday, 23 November 2004

last link check: Monday 31 March 2003

For an architecture guide, look for E. J. Applewhite's wonderfully waspish Washington Itself. Originally published in 1981 by Knopf,

This is a personal guide whose aim is to inform the visitor, entertain the resident, and—at times—admonish some of the guardians of the sacred places.... Each architectural description is presented in the context of what goes on inside the building itself...

Applewhite covers what he thinks is interesting, and leaves it at that. The pen-and-ink illustrations by Fred H. Greenberg are meticulous. This book was reissued in 1993 by Madison Books, ISBN 1-568-33008-1.

More comprehensive and more recent is the AIA Guide to the Architecture of Washington, D.C., by Christopher Weeks (third edition, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994). ISBNs are 0-8018-4712-5 (hardcover) and 0-8018-4713-3 (paper). This guidebook likewise maintains a personal tone, and the plentiful thumbnail photographs are effective.

There are three excellent birdfinding guides for the area. First is Finding Birds in the National Capital Area, by Claudia Wilds (revised edition, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992, ISBN 1-56098-175-X). The book focuses on Maryland, Delaware, the District, and the Northern Virginia suburbs, but ranges from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to Highland County, Virginia. Going beyond the premium birding information, it's the peripheral advice that makes Claudia's book invaluable, like her warnings about speed traps in small-town Delaware.

More recently published is the great-looking A Birder's Guide to Virginia, compiled by David W. Johnston for the American Birding Association (1997, ISBN 1-878788-12-4). I have lightly field-tested this one; from the armchair, I can say that the maps by Cindy Lippincott and Eng-Li Green are models of clarity. On the downside, the lack of a unifying authorial voice is missed.

The book includes more than fifteen sites in Northern Virginia, as well as full coverage of the rest of the state.

Both books include appendices on pelagic trips and hawk watches. They are available at the bookstore/gift shop at the ANS Woodend Sanctuary.

Also available from ANS is A Birder's Guide to Montgomery County, Maryland (ISBN 1-930867-00-X), prepared by the county chapter of the Maryland Ornithological Society in 2001. Thirty-two locations are described, evenly divided between "major sites" and "litte treasures."

There are two good local publications that provide current information (theatre showtimes, restaurant reviews, personal ads, and so on), and they are complementary. Washingtonian magazine caters to the self-important fiftysomethings in town, but its restaurant reviews cover a lot of ground and are very reliable. At the down- end of the scale, the free weekly Washington City Paper delivers the right amount of urban attitude -- from its D.C. vs. New York defensiveness to the occasional cover story that manages to offend everybody.

Kate Bishop, for, has assembled a useful guide to other web sources (now maintained by Rachel Cooper).

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