One of my excursions I took when visiting Washington D.C. was to discover and explore Old Town Alexandria in Virginia. It was a quick hop on the Metro to get there. My niece and I got there quite early on a Saturday morning so, the visitor’s center wasn’t open yet.
Year Round Farmer’s Market
The good thing was that the Farmer’s Market was up and running. I didn’t realize that this Farmer’s Market is open year round which is nice I’m sure for people who live here. In the Midwest, our Farmer’s markets are only open in the summertime. The other neat fact is that this is the same Farmer’s Market that George Washington sold his fresh vegetables and fruit. It has been running for over 250 years. We managed to find some yummy breakfast snacks before we headed to the Ramsay House (Visitor’s Center).
We opted to do our walking tour of the town. Picked up a map and started trekking through the streets admiring the restored 18th & 19th-century buildings.
Since most stores weren’t open yet, we headed down to the Waterfront Park to take some pictures. While we were waiting for the Torpedo Factory to open at 10 am, we hung out on the waterfront doing a little people watching. Also waiting along with us were a huge group of bicyclists that were also deaf. It was a very impressive sight watching them all communicate with sign language. It made my niece, and I want to learn how to sign.
Once everything started opening up, we went in to explore the Torpedo Factory. This building is where they made the torpedoes during World War II. Now it has been converted to house artists’ studios and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. If you love art, you will love exploring these buildings around the waterfront. Lots of history here! Down by the waterfront, there are some historical signs explaining the significance of King street but, they are not that easy to find.
Our next stop on our walking tour was a trip down Captain’s Row. This section of town is one of the oldest blocks in Alexandria. Sea captains built their homes and lived here while Alexandria was a thriving shipping port.
This section is by far one of the most picturesque streets in Old Town Alexandria. The architecture of the houses are impressive and that a good majority of the homes have the oval plaques on the front designating them as part of the Historic Alexandria Foundation certifying that they are at least 100 years old. I think my niece took at least two rolls of film (she’s learning photography on a film camera) on this street alone.
Walking through the town another but, there is one that I found more impressive than most and that is Alexandria’s, City Hall. This building was the site of the Assembly Hall and on March 22, 1785, the first conference between representatives from Virginia and Maryland that resulted in the framing of the Constitution of the United States. You will see one famous building after another.
Right down the road from the City Hall is George Washington’s Townhouse. George built this house for his use when in Alexandria on business. This house was also the only home he left in his will to Martha outright. It is a quaint little home although it looks out-of-place between the two larger homes next to it. We spent some time walking through the cemetery of Christ Church.
The tombstones were stunning of details that were put on them beside the dates. The mound by the gate is for the Confederate Soldiers that were not originally from Alexandria.
“How sleep the brave who sink to rest
By all their country’s wishes blest.”
George Washington Masonic Memorial
You literally can’t miss the George Washington Masonic Memorial because you can see it for miles. Getting to the memorial takes a bit of stamina since it is a bit of an uphill climb. If you want to see the impressive view of Alexandria from the 9th-floor observation deck, you will have to buy guided tour tickets. Otherwise, you can roam through the first two floors without tickets.
This town is a great side trip, and you can see almost everything in half a day. I recommend a visit to discover Old Town Alexandria if you are a history buff!