Old Town, Alexandria

I feel like there are still SO many things that we haven't seen out here surrounding the district AND the East Coast. It gives me slight anxiety because I don't know how long we will be out here...so I decided that we would take a night and explore a little bit of Old Town, Alexandria. King Street is a major street with a lot of treasures and old historic buildings. I did the research and took my history lover along to verify the facts. I'm sad we didn't get down there until later and took up time by eating dinner at a place that would have been qualified to be on 'Restaurant Impossible'. The night was still so charming, regardless of the fried food, and I'm glad we got to see a tiny bit of the east side of the Old Town. (By the way, King Street has a trolley that runs up and down all day which is not only adorable but free!) 

We started out grabbing dinner at a place that was cheaper (being the millionaires that we are). And oh boy, was that a bad decision. I think it's so smart to be mindful of money BUT when it comes to having a dining experience where you haven't been, it's almost worth it to have a nice meal and experience the culture surrounding you. The picture above is NOT of our dining spot, but was a sweet little flower shop that I'm sure came all the way over here from Great Britain. I loved it.

After getting through our dinner, we stopped by this cute gelato place and shared double chocolate 

I love these cobblestone streets found back east! This was "Captains Row", named after the captains who docked their ships at the Alexandria wharves. 

Old Town Alexandria has the most adorable Christmas shop selling....yes....all things Christmas. It kind of made me want to just skip over fall and go straight into December...but then I remembered how much I love fall and stepped back. Plus, the few Halloween decorations they had there kept me in the right place including this wonderful cat mask Kyle modeled for me. 

Next was some more sampling of ice cream on King street. It was between "The Creamery" and....

And "Pop's"....which won in the end for their variety of flavors and Christmas lights strung throughout. More ideas for Kyle's AWESOME hobby. 

The inside of Pop's. 

Filmed with the 8mm iPhone camera app. I'm sad the music can't be heard that well because it which completely added to the whole mood of the '60's Ice Cream/Soda Pop Parlor feel. 

I love the old historic buildings with hanging bushes, outfitted with all different kinds of shops and restaurants. 

I also love the old fashioned oil lamps hanging everywhere. 

This is Alexandria's City Hall and Market Square. They say the farmers market still held here today, is the oldest continuously-operating one in the nation! George Washington sent wagon-loads of produce from Mount Vernon to sell in Old Town. They also say Washington drilled troops here for the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars. I love the huge American flag draped from the center.

Our next stop was visiting George Washington's Old Town House. It was built in 1769 and he would stay here (even though his house was at Mt. Vernon) some nights if the weather was bad.

A bust of Washington himself sits in the window. 

Since it was getting dark, we weren't able to go to all the stops on my list, but the one I wanted to see more than anything was the Spite House. Built in 1830, this is the NARROWEST home in America at only 7 feet wide! It was originally an alley but the owner of the home next to the small space built this tiny thing to keep horse-drawn wagons and loiterers out.....hence, built for spite. 

Yep....7 feet. 

We ended our night at the Christmas Village looking at all of the intricately designed drinking glasses for each state. Wouldn't it be cool to own all of these someday? It's like a little state history lesson while drinking your orange juice at breakfast time. Lots of treasures in Old Town. I can't wait to head back down when the leaves have changed and are falling onto the cobble streets! 

God Bless the U.S.A.

 Kyle and I had wanted to visit the Pentagon Memorial and finally found a chance to go one evening right after the 13th anniversary of September 11. They make it pretty accessible even though the Pentagon is really intimidating and you feel like you will get tackled by just walking through the gates. You enter through an underground tunnel and walk along the south wall until you get to the memorial. 

This was a neat handout the Senate had on the morning of September 11.

This is at the front of the memorial. There were a lot of rose bouquets since we visited right after the anniversary. 

This memorial was cleverly thought out and implemented. There was a bench for every person who passed away either on American Airlines Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon or those who were in the Pentagon near that Southeast wall. The benches were set out based on age.

Once we got there, the sun began to set and the sky started turning the most amazing colors. 

Each bench has a little pool underneath it and the colors were reflecting off of the benches and water. 

The side that was hit. 

I found this quote on September 11 and made this graphic because I believe this with all my heart. The Savior makes up for everything that is unfair in this life. Even though these were horrible events, it brought our country together and allowed us to show our strength won't crack. It's moments like these that help me to remember what matters most.

Our New Favorite BBQ Place and A Satisfied Space Nerd

I had been dying to visit Chantilly and we found the perfect time over Labor Day weekend to go check out a couple sites. We hit up the highly talked about Willard's BBQ, went over to Sully's Historic Place and went to see (geek mode commencing) the SECOND Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (yes, they need a second one to store all the planes, rockets and other gadgets that have been considered Smithsonian worthy). Chantilly was really beautiful and had a lot of the lush green found outside the D.C. metropolitan area. 

Willards is known for having all different types of BBQ from all over the country. So your original North Carolina Pulled Pork to your Kansas City Burnt ends as well as your Texas Sliced Beef Brisket. I'm a sucker for pulled pork so I jumped on that combo meal. Kyle took more time deciding and went for a regular BBQ sandwich. We got amazing sides of baked beans and mashed potatoes and vowed we would make it out to Willards within the next year. 

Next, we went to the Sully Historic Site, a nice plantation and home that belonged to Richard Bland Lee, northern Virginia's first congressman. It had a cute house, a garden, an outdoor kitchen, a smokehouse, slave quarters, a stone dairy and a school house. 

Our final destination was my ALL-TIME-FAVORITE of this trip. A little fact about me...I'm a space nerd and love anything that has to do with the final frontier. And since I knew NASA's oldest and most traveled shuttle, Discovery, permanently holds her home here, it was all I could do to not burst through these doors at full speed. 

First off, we went up to the Observation Tower where you can watch planes flying in close by and landing in the Dulles Airport across the way. 

Then we hit up the main airplane hanger with all types of airplanes from the earlier models to present day.

Cool WWII airplane (P40 Warhawk so the husband says). I liked it because it looks like it could belong in a Disney cartoon...

This plane was the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. This place was chock-full of history. 

Tiny, skinny hang glider. 

Little baby helicopters that are also Disney worthy. I wish we could have our own personal helicopter. 

An Air France Concorde. So big! It can travel twice the speed of sound but it's too expensive for people to afford tickets, even though it's convenient for long flights. 

And there she is! I just had to stand by her for a while, looking up close, thinking of everywhere she has been and what she has seen while in orbit. 

My space nerd has been satisfied....for now. 

What's a trip without homemade custard ruined by Reeses, hot fudge and a waffle chip? It was a good Labor Day quick trip and one we definitely crossed off the list.