Fischer, Washington Sidewalk
The U.S. Navy's first shore facility – originally a
shipbuilding yard opened in 1800 – was burned by the British
in 1814 and now does duty mainly as the ceremonial
"quarterdeck of the Navy," with administrative
offices and museums. The Navy Museum displays a
flotilla of model ships and a collection of rare submarines.
Visitors can take a grand tour of the USS Barry, a Vietnam
War-era destroyer that is docked in the Anacostia River. There
are no boats but many things nautical to see in the Marine
Corps Museum and the Navy Art Gallery, also in the
BOAT/U.S. The Boat Owners Association of the United
States (880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria, Va., 703-823-9550)
is a 500,000-member lobbying and educational organization
based in Alexandria. Check its Web
site for safety tips, buying guides, information on boat
loans and a page of "free boat stuff."
most fashionable watery parking lots are the Washington
Marina (1300 Water St. S.W.) and the Capital Yacht Club
(1000 Water St. S.W.) in Washington Channel behind the
Wharf, an open-air fish market. Around 250 boats dock at Gangplank
Marina (600 Water St. S.W.), more than half of them
serving as year-round residences. Keep an eye on the yachts
and houseboats from the nearby Gangplank restaurant
(202-554-5000), Washington's only floating eatery.
National Museum of American History. Nautical
exhibits on the third floor include the Philadelphia, an
American gunboat commanded by Benedict Arnold that was
launched and sunk in 1776. The American Maritime Enterprise
exhibit on the east wing of the museum's first floor displays
scale models of merchant ships from every era, authentic ship
equipment (engines, propellers, cabins, anchors) and a
life-size seaman's tattooing parlor.
Cruising. Most local cruise lines are in hibernation
for the season, but the Odyssey III (202-488-6000),
a vessel specially designed to fit under the historic
Potomac River bridges, offers an abbreviated schedule of lunch
and dinner excursions. The Spirit of Washington (202-554-8000)
will awaken long enough for a couple of three-hour Valentine's
weekend dinner-and-dancing cruises. Both boats dock at Sixth
and Water streets S.W. in Washington.
U.S. Navy Memorial and Naval Heritage Center. On
Pennsylvania Avenue opposite the National Archives, a
subterranean museum displays oceans of ship models and screens
At Sea, a 35-minute film about life aboard an aircraft
Washington Canoe Club. The clubhouse is an
architecturally distinguished, New England-style (ca. 1890)
summer house beside the Potomac River, above Key Bridge in
Georgetown. The best view of the house is from across the
river in Rosslyn, Va.
"Remember the Maine!" The mast of the
battleship Maine, whose 1898 sinking in Havana harbor
precipitated the Spanish-American War, is part of a memorial
within Arlington National Cemetery.
Bethesda Yacht Club. A landlocked, nautically themed
dance hall for mature, moneyed singles in the basement of the
Bethesda Holiday Inn.