The word “Potomac” is a Piscataway Indian expression that translates into “where the goods are brought in,” which hints at the river’s significance. It was the Potomac’s strategic location that led to the region’s development and, eventually, to the establishment of Washington, District of Columbia, as the American capital.
Success is all about access. Explorer-Captain John Smith sailed up the Potomac River in 1608 and recognized the river for what it was: an avenue of access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay and the world. A way to bring the goods in.
The rest is history and enough already. The most obvious thing about the river today is how beautiful it is. The Potomac travels 380 miles and measures 11 miles at its widest point. It forms the natural boundary between DC and Virginia as it flows past the memorials, the Kennedy Center, and Georgetown.
You won’t see anybody swimming in the Potomac, but you’ll likely notice assorted boating activities, from local schools’ crew teams rowing away in early morning, to touring vessels cruising the river from Georgetown Harbour to Old Town Alexandria.