Exploring Our Capital the “See DC Today” Way
By Bob Tagert
It is always nice when you run into a former Alexandrian and friend who has also started a successful business in the area. This time our friend Dean Goldsmith took his organizational and IT skills to Washington, D.C. and opened what we think is one of the best ways to tour the Nation’s Capital. Many of you can attest to the fact that the best way to tour any city is to have a local show you around. That is just what Goldsmith brings to the table with See DC Today. I understand this philosophy. I grew up here and I love showing the sights but also telling the stories about each of them and about the District of Columbia in general. This is what Dean and his team are experts at.
Dean started his business in 2017, got his feet wet and made adjustments. Then Covid hit and, like many businesses, he suffered but made it through the pandemic a better company.
See DC Today operates on the premise that the quality of the tour is what matters most. While they have the capability to provide a “bus” tour, they prefer to cater to families and small groups. Their vans can accommodate up to eleven individuals who want a more personalized and exclusive experience. See DC Today also has two luxury SUV’s for those who prefer a more upscale mode of transportation and a more intimate tour of our city. This option is popular with couples who are looking for a special experience the likes of marriage proposals, anniversaries and such.
Private day and mid-day tours last approximately four hours and the night tours last about three hours. In my opinion, the night time is a great time to tour the city. It is beautiful at night, however, some attractions may not be open. All major attractions are included in the tour or can be customized to your personal interests.
When one thinks of “tours” that usually refers to tourists. I think these tours are excellent for locals with friends in town as well. To coin a Greyhound phrase…”Leave the driving to us”. Keeping this slogan in mind, Dean has picked the right drivers…folks who either grew up in the area or have lived here long enough to know the history as well as how to navigate the city.
The beauty of these tours is the live narration. While the canned recordings can be informative, having a warm body to ask questions and get personalized answers is a treat. Dean is very proud of his guides. “They are all interesting, and they all have a special place in my heart,” he says, “They all have a story to tell.” I asked him to tell me something about each of them. See the sidebar to this column.
If you go to their web site, SeeDCToday.com, you can pull up some of their recommended tours and a few of the driver’s favorites. As I scrolled through some of their recommendations I rediscovered some places that I haven’t seen since I was a kid. I think I’ll give them a call!
See DC Today
MEET THE TEAM
Steve is 70 years old, born in DC and now a retired career bartender. He was behind the stick downtown everywhere from Clydes to Old Ebbitt and Martins Tavern. He has read the Washington post from cover to cover for 40+ years, this guy can spin a yarn and nothing in DC that he does not know something about. Super friendly guy, always an hour early and well prepared for the show.
Andy is another 70+ year old working with us, he was raised in Alexandria, has a huge family, served in Vietnam, pretty sure he was drafted, spent a career in education in different counseling roles in high schools. He usually gets deep into conversations with guests that have kids that are university bound. Andy kept the professional gig while wanting to do comedy. He worked the comedy circuit, and still does, and he has broken bread with everyone from Chapelle to Seinfeld – the list goes on and on. He also has a very good book about the history of comedy and the role DC played for 50+ years or more.
Kareem is a practicing attorney in his mid-40’s. He saw our vans on the mall and approached us about getting on board. It didn’t take long for him to learn the ropes. He studied up on what needed to be known to do our tours and he is another one of those guys that we – back at the office – ponder “how does he do it?” What kind of hypnotic tricks does he have? The reviews this guy gets are so impressive we think he is paying someone to write them.
Ramon is the youngest in our gang – the guy just turned 30. Growing up in a military family, he is well traveled. He graduated from Hayfield Secondary in Alexandria, attended Arizona State and now makes the DMV his home. He has some very interesting tales to tell. He is another one of those guys that is just a natural and people are always raving about his tours. Ramon really connects with the kids, and speaks fluent Spanish – that comes in handy in this business.