Mapping Georgetown: A Walking Mindfulness Guide


Is there stillness in your life? Contemplation? Are the roses smelling sweet? Is there ever enough mindfulness?

In case you haven’t noticed, Kripalu Certified Outdoor Mindfulness Guide, Susan West Montgomery, is taking us to a whole new depth of experience as she gently guides us on one of her regular walking tours through our Georgetown Gem, Oak Hill Cemetery at 3001 R St. NW.

    Susan West Montgomery. Photo courtesy Susan West Montgomery.

Washington banker, William Wilson Corcoran, mindfully chose the site of Oak Hill Cemetery –where beauty and vision are so much more than meets the eye — as a final destination for those who have passed as well those who wish to visit.

“By 1849, when William Wilson Corcoran was looking for a site for a cemetery, Georgetown was a bustling place of commerce and industry. Streets, laid out in a grid pattern, were rapidly becoming lined with stately homes and infilled with modest working class dwellings. Corcoran, along with his engineer George de la Roche, mapped out a burial ground that turned its back on the city. Facing north and east and sloping dramatically away from the town precinct toward Rock Creek, Oak Hill was and is the antithesis and antidote of the city. Winding roadways and paths, lush plantings, soaring trees offered and continues to offer rest and repose not only for those interned there but their loved ones and neighbors,” Susan West Montgomery.

Susan is a Kripalu certified Outdoor Mindfulness Guide providing outdoor mindfulness excursions in the Washington D.C. region and beyond. She specializes in developing customized excursions at historic and cultural sites where she can deepen the mindfulness experience by layering in the nature-culture connection.

She is also a passionate advocate for natural and historic places, committed to leveraging these places to connect citizens, promote social justice, and foster health and well-being. She provides consulting services to local, state and national non-profits and government agencies in the areas of strategic planning, meeting facilitation, research, writing, project management, public advocacy, fundraising, and training. She’s committed to acknowledging and addressing organizational biases, and exclusionary and inequitable practices and she presses organizations to think beyond their traditional allies to build broader coalitions to support their missions. A former Vice President for Preservation Resources at the National Trust, she has served as President of Preservation Action, the national grassroots lobby for historic preservation.

Susan makes her home in Takoma Park where she and her husband, a journalist,  raised two daughters who share her affinity for the outdoors.

Susan West Montgomery’s Mapping Georgetown Story


I believe in the power of places to educate and to heal, to embolden and to change us. At Oak Hill Cemetery I led outdoor mindfulness walks using our senses to deeply connect with the landscape.  I spent hours walking the historic streets of Georgetown – learning, reflecting, knowing.  I worked at Preservation Action to lobby for historic places.”  


Mindful George Saunders, in town recently to receive the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction at the 2023 National Book Festival for “Lincoln in the Bardo,” tickled us to death with a visit to Oak Hill Cemetery. The scene is of his (George Saunders) vision of Lincoln, devastated by the untimely death of his son Willie, stealing time in the dead of night to mourn.

To join Susan for the full experience of mindfulness at Oak Hill Cemetery, learn more here.  You can also visit

These Mapping Georgetown stories can be viewed in full at

We invite you to add your story to our Mapping Georgetown collection. Blank templates can be printed from the home page of or picked up from The Georgetown Public Library.

To learn more about the Mapping Georgetown project see Marilyn Butler can be reached at





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