Old Town AlexandriaAmidst the hustle and bustle of Northern Virginia, there is a quaint oasis of a town on the waterfront, beautifully preserved since the days of our forefathers. Grab a spiced hot drink and stroll the cobblestone streets in easy pursuit of Old Town Alexandria’s many hidden delights. It is a pleasurable town to simply amble through, taking in the colorful and stately historic homes and marveling at this town which has witnessed much of our country’s story. There are countless ways to enjoy Old Town Alexandria, and we are going to cover just a few of our historic favorites in this post.
Have a Meal at George Washington’s Favorite Tavern
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum dates back to the 1780’s and was frequented by George and Martha Washington, who enjoyed visiting with friends, celebrating birthdays and cutting a rug at this elegant establishment. The menu features local Virginia specialties, such as oyster, crab and Smithfield ham. A meal here feels particularly special in the sumptuous, colonial dining rooms. You may recognize the names of other patrons of this tavern: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Madison, to name a few!
Visit a Historic Home
The history of Carlyle House parallels the early history of Alexandria and Virginia, from its colonial inception, to its part in the French and Indian War and its famous role in the Civil War. Built by John Carlyle, a British merchant turned American patriot, in 1753, this home has an incredibly rich and interesting history that will leave you wanting to learn more after taking part in one of its enriching tours. If you are a fan of the American drama ‘Mercy Street’ on PBS, you will recognize this as the home of the Green family!
Ride the King Street Trolley
Hop aboard the Free King Street Trolley, which runs all the way from the waterfront to the Old Town Metrorail Station, with stops every two blocks. Hitch a ride if your feet are aching, or if you simply want to see the beautiful charm of King Street from another viewpoint… check the website for hours of operation and stop locations. King Street is particularly magical at this time of year: the still golden trees are now illuminated with twinkle nights for the holidays and evergreen wreaths adorn the shopfront doors.
View Art in a Repurposed Factory
The Torpedo Factory has a storied past that makes a visit even more worthwhile. It opened in 1919 as a torpedo factory for the US Navy, then was used as a munitions storage facility. It was used by the US Government for a hodgepodge of storage needs, until the City of Alexandria purchased it in 1969. Now a working studio space for over 150 artists, The Torpedo Factory is world renowned and used as a prototype for other visual arts facilities.
Old Town Alexandria offers a glimpse at historic America, mixed with all the coffee and shopping and nightlife of today. It is one of our favorite spots in Virginia, and you can bet we will write more on Old Town very soon!