Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

Walking the streets of Old Town Alexandria was very nostalgic for us and reminded us of walking the streets of old towns in Europe. The history of Old Town Alexandria may not go back as far as those medieval towns, but it does have its roots in the foundation of the United States. Situated just outside of the Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C., the cobblestone streets of the city were once walked by many historic figures that influenced and shaped the country. Even today, you can still find gas lit lamps on the sides of the brick buildings that date back to the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

King Street is the Main Street of Old Town
Walking the Side Streets
Beautiful Homes
Historic Streets with Shops and Restaurants

Today, of course, the streets are lined with upscale cars and tourists enjoying the variety of restaurants, retail stores, antique shops, and museums that are in the area. It is a residential area with a very walkable lifestyle, although it is a very expensive area to live in. At night the streets are lit up and the streets are full of people enjoying a night out on the town, especially during the summer, but even in the fall when we were there.

Nighttime in Old Town Alexandria
Autumn in Old Town
Brick Buildings
Working Gas Lamps

In the early days of its history, it was a busy seaport as boats would make their way up the Potomac River to deliver their goods to be sold in the Northern Virginia area. Today, the waterfront area is a bustling art district with the focal point being the converted Torpedo Factory, which houses a variety of artists selling their artwork. There are also many restaurants with views of the river where you can enjoy a nice meal while watching the yachts, river taxi, and dinner boats that make their way along the Potomac.

Waterfront Restaurant
Sitting Riverside
Yacht on the Potomac River
Marina in Old Town

We had a short visit, so we spent most of our time walking the streets and stopping in a few shops and restaurants, but we did take the time to tour the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum. Founded in 1792, it was an active apothecary in this particular location from 1805 to 1933. Upon closing, it was immediately purchased and preserved as a museum, with all of the original ingredients still in their glass jars almost a hundred years later. Although most of the sales of the apothecary were to other pharmacies around the area, but they did mix and fill prescriptions for many people, including George Washington and his family as they have notes from Martha Washington requesting prescriptions.

Apothecary Sign
Inside of the Museum
Glass Bottles
Unicorn Root and Mandrake Root

A visit to the Washington D.C. area should definitely include taking time to step back in time and walk the streets of Old Town Alexandria. Although the restaurants can be a little pricey, there are an abundance of choices and something can be found to suit anyone’s tastes. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, walking through the art district and window shopping as you walk by the various shops is still a great way to spend an afternoon.

Cobblestone Streets
King Street Trolley
Historic Buildings
Apothecary Entrance
Glass Harp and Christmas Music
Close-Up on the Glass Bottles in the Apothecary
Enjoying the Harbor
Diversity of Buildings

The Wharf Restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia

We tend to try and find good seafood whenever we travel places and our recent visit to Old Town Alexandria in Virginia was no different. We chose to go to The Wharf Restaurant and we were not disappointed. Located on the historic King Street in the heart of Old Town in a building that is over 200 years old, it has wonderful charm as well as fresh and delicious seafood. We stopped in for lunch and were surrounded by a variety of locals, a sure sign of a places popularity.

Outside of the Restaurant
The Bar Area

We started with a half-pound of steamed shrimp with an herb butter and what we assumed was Old Bay Seasoning. That probably could have been lunch on its own, but we followed it with Salmon Chesapeake, which is salmon stuffed with lump crab and a crab butter cream. The salmon was cooked perfectly and the crab was fresh and delicious. Although we didn’t get dessert while we were there, the bartender told us about a local ice cream shop called Pop’s because we kept seeing people walking by the window with ice cream cones.

Peel and Eat Shrimp
Salmon Chesapeake

With its exposed beams and stone walls, the ambiance couldn’t have been more perfect. Although we were there for lunch, it would be a wonderful location to have a romantic dinner for a special occasion. Every member of the staff that we talked to were all very friendly and welcoming. We certainly hope to have another opportunity to enjoy a meal at The Wharf again on a future visit.

Old World Ambiance
View of the Restaurant