Free Things to Do With the Kids (and Almost Free)

The days are finally warm and sunny!  Here are a few ideas for free things to do with the kids around Alexandria.

 

Feed the ducks in Old Town

 

There are plenty of ducks and other birds at the Waterfront looking for a little snack.  We did a little research and instead of bread you should feed them:

  • Corn (canned, frozen or fresh)
  • Duck pellets (sold online and at pet stores)
  • Lettuce, other greens (torn into small pieces)
  • Frozen peas (defrosted)
  • Oats (rolled or instant)
  • Seeds (including birdseed or other varieties)

 

 

Go to the Masonic Temple

 

 

You can climb the stairs and check out the view with a snack.  Counting the planes is a fun way to pass the time!  For a small fee you can take a tour of the temple and go outside of the top for an even better view.

 

 

Walk the Dogs in Monticello Park

 

 

Walk the dog, get some fresh air, and probably meet a new friend.  There are so many downed trees to climb and explore!  A gem of a spot in the city.

 

Enjoy!!

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is this Sunday.  If you are still looking for a gift that will make you Mom’s favorite, look no further than Del Ray. Here are some shops that have treasures that will make Mom smile!

 

Top It Off (1906 Mt. Vernon Avenue).  Anything in this store will be a hit but this Ladies Embroidered Tunic in orange is the perfect piece for lunch or a night on the town.

 

Kiskadee (2205 Mt. Vernon Avenue)  Again, you can’t lose in this store. Choose an accessory like a bangle that she will wear again and again.  Or these monogrammed rain boots would be a hit.

 

 

Greenstreet Gardens (1503 Mount Vernon Avenue)  A potted plant is always a winner! Choose one in your loved-one’s favorite flowers and colors! You will be a hero!

 

greenstreet

 

Any of these gifts will show your Mom just how much you care! Happy Mother’s Day to all you Mom’s out there!

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Let’s Go Eat on the Patio!

Spring is here which means it is time to eat outside!  Here is a list of some of our favorite spots that have outdoor seating.

Live Oak Restaurant
1603 Commonwealth Ave
Southern

Evening Star Cafe
2000 Mount Vernon Ave
American (New), Breakfast & Brunch

Del Ray Cafe
205 E Howell Ave
French

Rosemarino d’Italia
1905 Mount Vernon Ave
Italian

Stomping Ground
2309 Mount Vernon Ave
Coffee & Tea, Breakfast & Brunch, American (New)

Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap
401 E Braddock Rd
Pizza, Italian

Junction Bakery & Bistro
1508 Mt Vernon Ave
Bakeries, Cafes, Sandwiches

Kaizen Tavern
1909 Mount Vernon Ave
Japanese, Sushi Bars

FireFlies Restaurant
1501 Mt Vernon Ave
Breakfast & Brunch, Pizza, American (Traditional)

South Block
3051 Mount Vernon Ave
Smoothies, Acai Bowls, and Juice

Front Porch
2006 Mount Vernon Ave
American (Traditional)

St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub
2300 Mount Vernon Ave
Coffee & Tea, Breakfast & Brunch

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We All Scream for Nicecream!

 

If you are looking for the freshest handcrafted cup of ice cream possible, you must check out Nicecream at 726 King Street. It all comes to be by combining fresh, local grass-fed cream and local ingredients from nearby farms. Then, using their freezing agent, liquid nitrogen, they freeze the ice cream before your eyes.

 

 

Local farmers give products that yield the freshest ingredients and best flavors. That much we know but why liquid nitrogen? Liquid nitrogen freezes food within seconds and leaves no trace once evaporated. This freezing process makes smaller ice crystals, leaving a final product that is more dense and much creamier than ice cream that is produced in a traditional method.
They also serve Swing’s Coffee and hand-crafted hot chocolate. Something for everyone!

 

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Spring2ACTion 2017

 

On Wednesday, April 5  Spring2ACTion, Alexandria’s giving day, will take place. In case you didn’t know, Spring2ACTion is a 24-hour online fund-raising event that provides a great way to connect donors to the charitable causes they care about most.  This virtual fundraising effort, hosted by ACT for Alexandria with the help of generous sponsors, offers Alexandria’s nonprofits the chance to raise thousands of dollars for the benefit of all Alexandria.

In 2016, $1,337,493 was raised by 8,613 donors for 152 nonprofits serving Alexandria! 

There is a wonderful search tool that you can find by clicking here.  Select the categories that mean the most to you (like animals and education, for example) and see which non-profits come up.  Maybe you will give to RunningBrooke or the TC Williams Baseball Team or the GW Band Boosters.  There are so many to choose from.

Give today!

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New Places to Dine Coming in 2016

Last week we talked about some local businesses that closed in Alexandria in 2015.  Well, in with new!  We have news about three new places opening in 2016.

 

Junction-Bakery-Bistro-logo

Junction Bakery & Bistro

Late Spring will bring Junction Bakery & Bistro to 1508 Mt. Vernon Avenue.  You know this location as Mancini’s.  They will serve American cuisine with a twist, three meals a day.  They will also offer a wholesale bakery courtesy of Nathan Hatfield (former baker at Restaurant Eve, Society Fair and Le Diplomate).  Noe Landini (behind Landini Brothers, Fish Market and Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream) is Hatfield’s partner, which excites us!  Not much is known yet of the menu, but expect it to follow the French Bistro concept.

The new restaurant’s name is homage to the Potomac Yard railway system and its hard workers who lived in Del Ray at that time.  Can’t wait to try this one!

 

pornter

 

Portner Brewhouse

Alexandria has long been a city of craft brews.  And in summer 2016, we will see Portner Brewhouse (5770 Dow Avenue) revived by sisters Catherine and Margaret Portner, great-great granddaughters of Robert Portner.  From 1869 until 1916, the Robert Portner Brewing Co. was the South’s largest pre-Prohibition brewery and Alexandria’s largest employer.

The new location will offer craft brews and German-American, family recipes.  Sounds like a fun meeting place to look forward to!

 

hanks

 

Hank’s Pasta Bar

You have probably tried Hank’s Oyster Bar and you probably like pasta so what’s not to love about Hank’s Pasta Bar (600 Montgomery Street)?

Hank’s Pasta Bar’s ribbon cutting is slated for February 4, 2016 and we can’t wait!  The restaurant is highly anticipated and will offer fresh Italian fare.  If you don’t believe us, Zagat named Hank’s Pasta Bar one of the Most Anticipated DC Openings of 2016.  We’ll be there!

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Saying Goodbye to Some of Alexandria’s Favorite Businesses

Alexandria loves to shop in local, small businesses.  Last year we lost a few of our old favorites.  And, sadly, this year, we will lose a couple more.

 

why not

 

Why Not?

Everyone who as ever had a baby shower or a kid’s birthday party to attend has been to Why Not? on King Street.  The two-level shop was a joy to peruse.  The items were thoughtful and special and fun!  After over 50 years the doors will be closing!  As of January 15, 2016, the sale on all of their merchandise had been dropped down to 40% off, excluding a couple little sections of display and other special items.  This calls for one more visit to an old favorite shop!

 

hannelores

 

Hannelore’s of Olde Town

The end of February will mean the end of Hannelore’s of Olde Town, the bridal boutique that has been offering designer wedding gowns since 1984.  And the sales are ridiculous!  According to their website all designer sample gowns are reduced up to 75%, and all accessories (including jewelry and veils) are all 50% off.  And bridesmaid gowns are $50 each!  Call or email the store to arrange an appointment!

 

 monroes

 

Monroe’s

Located in Del Ray, Monroe’s was staple for Alexandria residents looking for a family-friendly, locally-owned Italian restaurant.  Christmas Eve marked the end of the era!  The owners decided to retire from the restaurant business.  A new restaurant will open in its space after a few months of renovations.  We are sad to see it go!

 

As we say goodbye, we keep an open mind to the new businesses that will begin fresh this year!

 

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Traffic Control Box Art Project Call For Artists

Have you seen the traffic control boxes along Duke Street?  Rather than looking like this:

 

(Courtesy Photo)

 

Some of them look like this:

 

TrafficBoxes3

 

We love it!  And now, the city of Alexandria invites artists and artist teams to submit their artwork for this year’s Traffic Control Box Vinyl Wrap Public Art Project.

 

Up to three (adult) artists will be selected to design vinyl wraps for twelve traffic control boxes located in the West End of Alexandria.  The wraps are designed to cover all four sides and the top of the box.  Artists are allowed, and encouraged, to use a variety of media to produce their designs.  These include, but are not limited to, photography, painting, collage, and digital imagery, etc.

 

The unveiling of this public art project will coincide with National Public Works Week beginning on Sunday, May 15.  The application deadline is coming up so don’t delay.  It is Sunday, January 31, 2016.

 

For more information on how to enter click here.  Good luck!

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Whim Pop

IMG_3304

 

Looking for a place for a cold, tasty treat (despite the falling temperatures)?  Look no further than Whim Pop (1309 King Street).  Whim Pop has the most amazing variety frozen fruit pops!  All their products are made with real fruit, no color or artificial flavors are added.

 

 

Whim Pop started its journey in the Spring of 2012, selling frozen fruit pops at Oakton, VA Smart Markets.  The idea was created by Maria Romano, a woman looking for a way to integrate her Mexican culture with the local community.  She decided to create frozen fruit pops, which are popular in the Mexican culture, while integrating flavors from the world.  The result is a unique selection of products for folks who like to try new things and for immigrants who miss the taste of their home countries.  Year round flavors include

Apple cinnamon

Coconut

Coffee

Cucumber

Cucumber & chile

Hibiscus pomegranate

Lime

Mango Yogurt

Strawberry basil

Strawberry yogurt swirls

Tamarind

Tangerine

 

Cocktail flavors include Bloody Mary with seasonal flavors like Blueberry Lemon and Plum Basil for sale.  They also have deliveries and catering available.

 

And if you don’t find the flavor that you want you can contact them to see if they can create it for you.

 

For more information on Whim Pop click here.

 

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First Night Alexandria’s Fun Hunt

Downtown historic Alexandria. Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org

Alexandria’s annual New Year’s Eve First Night takes place Thursday, December 31, 2015 with more than 175 performances at 29 indoor venues,  live music, dancing, and children’s events.  And the fireworks finale returns with an amazing display over the Potomac River at midnight.  But what we are looking forward to is the Seventh Annual Fun Hunt.

The Fun Hunt begins at 2:00PM.  Get a group together for an afternoon of fun.  Although teams can be of any size, you will probably have more fun if you keep your team to six people or less.  As long as one of your team members has purchased a First Night admission badge, your team can pick up a clue sheet and map at the Torpedo Factory (105 N. Union Street).   The Fun Hunt takes place from 2:00PM – 5:30PM.  Although it is not a timed event, it should take you approximately one hour to complete the hunt if you don’t stop for side excursions.

 

torpfac

 

Bring all completed Fun Hunt forms to the Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron Street, between 5:30PM and 5:45PM, .

Starting at 6:00PM, a drawing of completed Fun Hunt forms for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place adults, and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place children (12 and under) prizes will take place at the Durant Arts Center during the kickoff at 6:00PM.   Just decide whether you want to enter the adult or children competition (you can not enter both).  Winners must be present to claim their prizes.  They are handing out some serious cash to the winners!

Good luck and happy hunting!

Click here for more information on the night and how to purchase tickets.

 

 

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