It’s a dog-friendly town!
One of the exceptional
historic American cities that I visited recently is the charming town of
Alexandria in Northern Virginia, voted No. 1 on the “Top 10” list of
America's Best Cities by readers of Ladies Home Journal. Interestingly, it
is not only noted for its historic attractions, pre-Revolutionary Olde Town
Quarter and Potomac Riverfront location, but also for the residents’
exceptional love and concern for the welfare of their dogs.
Banks in Alexandria
welcome customers’ dogs. So much so that every teller in one centrally
located bank, situated opposite the visitor center, has a transparent jar of
colorful cookies placed on the counter for when they arrive. The larger dogs
even manage to put their paws up on the counter ready to receive their
“Fetch” is the name of the
local dog bakery. It has many drawers filled with irresistible, freshly
baked cookies. The shop has thought of everything that this greatly loved
member of the family could possibly desire! On certain street corners unique
bone boxes have been placed, just high enough for the local residents to
reach and place a juicy bone inside, ready for the next hungry dog passing
by, on his or her walk.
Personal dog trainers from
the highly reputed Olde Town School for Dogs are frequently spotted walking
their clients along the tree-lined pavements. They learn quickly and are so
well-behaved. Many are dropped off in the morning and collected the same
evening after work. And, there’s even a happy hour arranged for them on
certain days of the week at a local hotel.
Founded as a seaport in
1749, the town still has retained some of its cobbled stone streets and
ship’s captains houses. Today, it boasts over 200 restaurants, 50 art
galleries and a plethora of boutiques, bookstores, antique shops and
numerous exquisitely preserved buildings.
Gadsby's Tavern & Museum
is a favorite choice with diners as it provided the inspiration for Mark
Twain's book, "The Man who stopped at Gadsby's". Listed among their specials
is Surrey County Peanut "Soup" and Corn-breaded Catfish over Blackeyed Pea
Succotash served with a fine sauce. Once frequented by George Washington,
Thomas Jefferson, the likes of James Monroe and the Marquis de Lafayette,
the tavern is furnished in a typical 18th century style.
What to see:
Don't miss the farmer's
market held on Saturday mornings where you can observe Alexandria's famed
Take a cruise on the
Potomac River to the Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, first owned by
George Washington. *
Explore "Olde Towne" in
a horse-drawn carriage with owner Ann Crockett and her affable horse,
Hobo. She has many fascinating tales to relate!
Relax at the newly
opened Sugar House Day Spa and Salon. Spa packages are available.
Take advantage of
"Dash About", a free shuttle bus service that operates from King Street
Metro Station to Market Square in Old Town Alexandria.
Join a walking tour and
stop by at the intriguing Apothecary Shop!
Visit the Alexandria
Visitors’ Center at 221 King Street for a plethora of interesting
information. Check out their new Key Pass to visit historic estates of
Virginia. The Pass provides the opportunity to visit, take a guided tour
and attend special events at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and
Gardens, Woodlawn Mansion and Gunston Hall Plantation, all for the
discounted price of $20 for adults and $11 for children aged 6 and over.
These three estates are found just outside the town, across the Potomac
River from Washington, DC.
Another very good
saving is their VIP Pass (Very Important Patriot) that offers selected
admissions, a River Cruise and walking tour, with a 20 per cent saving.
The story of
Alexandria’s African American history is told through a dramatic, newly
published, illustrated guide, “A remarkable and courageous journey”, which
takes the visitor to 20 historic sites and neighbourhoods that have
mushroomed around early African American communities.
A 7ft. bronze-sculpted
Shipbuilder Monument in Waterfront Park rests on top of a three-foot
structure – designed and sculpted by Michael Curtis whose numerous public
sculptures adorn buildings in Washington, DC.
Where to stay:
Among its newest hotels
are the centrally situated Hampton Inn, the luxurious Hilton Old Town
Alexandria, close to King Street Metro and Homestead Guest Studios and the
Marriott Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott. And Fairfield Washington,
DC offers the first urban holiday timeshare condominium in the area.
Don’t miss seeing the
impressive Carlyle House, close to the Visitor Center and the Frank Lloyd
Wright "Usonian" home built for a family of moderate means. Further details
on www.FunSide.com Or Fax: (091) 703 838 4683.
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