Home for the Holidays 2021
By Bob Tagert
Home for the Holidays 2021
Every month we write about fun and inviting destinations in the DMV. Some are close to Alexandria and some are states away, however, every December we stay home and write about our beautiful city. Recognized by Oprah Magazine as one of the most magical Christmas towns across the World in 2020 and by Southern Living as the perfect southern town for a Hallmark Christmas movie in 2019, Alexandria brings an old fashioned sense of holiday wonder to the area with centuries-old brick-lined streets, twinkling with holiday traditions that make visitors feel transported. Step back in time and enjoy Colonial Christmas programming at George Washington’s Mount Vernon or skate through Ice and Lights: The Winter Village at Cameron Run. Dozens of independent boutiques are going above and beyond to make their shops dazzle. Stroll among al fresco dining spots along 18th and 19th century streetscapes or pick up gourmet goodies to go. Under a canopy of sparkling lights, a stroll on historic King Street is like being in a real life Dickens Village, complete with a European flair. Recognized as a Top 3 Best Small Cities (up from #5 last year) in the U.S. 2021 for the fourth consecutive year by Conde. The Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards are the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of excellence in the travel industry and are commonly known as ‘the best of the best of travel.” More than 800,000 Conde Nast Traveler readers across the globe submitted responses rating the travel experiences across the globe that they long for most when they couldn’t travel and decided to visit first once they could. This year’s awards reflect the ways the world of travel has begun to welcome back guests and the travel professionals that have never stopped serving them to the highest standards. As a resident and business owner for 40 years, I know how hard the leaders of this town work to maintain this excellence.
As everyone is aware, the pandemic had an adverse effect on the holiday season in Alexandria last year. Many of the popular events were cancelled but this year they all return. On December 4th the Scottish Christmas Walk will return celebrating the 50th anniversary of this popular event. Also returning will be the 21st annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. Be sure to be on the waterfront for this magnificent sight. Don’t forget about the Waterskiing Santa on Christmas Eve as well.
Also located on the waterfront is the Tall Ship Providence. This full-scale reproduction of one of the most renowned ships in the Continental Navy arrived in the summer of 2019 to great fanfare and opened as a permanent attraction in 2020. The ship is open to the public and tours include family pirate cruises, adult pirate cruises, craft beer cruises and occasional evening cruises.
Discover art in person and in progress at the nation’s largest collection of working artists open studios under one roof. A fully operational munitions plant during World War II, The Torpedo Factory Art Center is now home to 82 artists’ studios, galleries, the Alexandria Archeology Museum and The Art League. When I came to Old Town in 1977 the two original buildings from WWII were still standing. Much has changed since then.
Other changes brought by the pandemic was the closing of the 100 block of King Street to vehicular traffic and it is now a pedestrian walkway. This allowed the restaurants to increase their outdoor dining space when social distancing was the norm. Since last year there is now enclosed and heated areas to accommodate outdoor dining. Although the 100 block of King Street usually gets the most attention, there are numerous other restaurants that have heated areas for outdoor dining throughout the city, including the side streets. This will certainly be a festive area this holiday season.
There is much to see this year as we still try to get back to normal. Old Town Alexandria covers some 18 blocks from the Potomac River to the King Street Metro stop in the west end. First Night will be celebrated the evening of December 31st as we usher in 2022. This is a great night for the family with entertainment throughout the town at select locations.
If you have never been to Old Town Alexandria, this holiday season would be the perfect time to take in all that we have to offer. You won’t regret your decision to join in the holiday magic of Old Town.
We would like to wish all of our readers a very Happy Holiday no matter how you choose to celebrate! Maybe by some miracle we will see a little bit of snow this year!!