December 10, 2018, Alexandria, VA-
In the years in which I was stationed at Fort Myer, VA and in the several visits I’ve made to the Washington area, since then, I had not been in Old Town Alexandria. The place was just enough off the beaten path that we always made to the National Mall, that I just never got over here.
The Metro has changed things and Alexandria took its rightful place on my itinerary, all the more so because our family dinner, the night before my mother-in-law’s interment, was held at The Warehouse, a fine dining establishment, in lower Old Town.
This would be one of the best meals I’ve had, in a long time, and that’s saying a lot, in a year of fabulous repasts. Yet, let;s get back to the start of this visit.
I took a Blue Line train to Alexandria’s Union Station, just after noon.
Being a bit hungry, and with dinner nearly five hours away, I stopped in at this simple, but charming, little cafe, across from the train station. As good as the coffee was, I relished the gyro sandwich, as well.
Old Town, especially on King Street, has a variety of shops with interesting names: Hard Times Cafe, Stage Door Deli, and this- a unique place, which was closed-it being Monday.
Here is an eastward view of King Street. The air was cold, but the vibe in Old Town is uniformly warm.
Even a broken bench was inviting.
I spent about ninety minutes enjoying the scenes along the Potomac Riverfront, one of the key ingredients in the Alexandria Story. This town was one of the first great shipbuilding and sail rigging manufacturing cities in the U.S., and continued in that role, right up through World War I.
In Waterfront Park, the lone statue is that of a shipwright.
Oystering is Alexandria’s other claim to fame, and Potomac River oysters are proudly served, both on and off the half-shell. These pilings are left from an old oystering wharf.
I could not resist zooming in on the U. S. Capitol, nearly six miles away to the north.
Animals make do with the weather they’re given. Here, a duck is grooming its mate, in the bracing Potomac waters.
Jones Point, named for an indentured servant of the Eighteenth Century, is Alexandria’s largest wilderness park, and the southernmost point of Old Town. It is the site of numerous archaeological digs, a couple of left-over border markers. From 1801-1847, the City of Alexandria was part of the District of Columbia. A retrocession was passed by Congress in 1846 and took effect the following year, returning Alexandria to the Commonwealth of Virginia. During the Civil War, however, the city was occupied by Union forces, thus temporarily reversing the retrocession.
This house was occupied by the keeper of a lighthouse, at Jones Point, in the nineteenth century.
On the walk back into Old Town, I noted the area’s awakening Christmas spirit.
The last forty-five minutes before dinner were mostly spent in Torpedo Factory, which is actually Alexandria’s fascinating three-story arts haven. More than fifty individual galleries are housed here, as are studios to encourage children’s art.
The bear reminded me to stop by the small, but heartfelt, Old Town Books, and look for a children’s book-for my ten- month-old grandniece, who was at the dinner. I found a flip book on horses, which she found most interesting, both to sight and to touch, a good early sign!
The superb dinner ended a day, the likes of which “Bunny” always approved.