Here’s this months curated calendar to help you live a beautiful life and create some new conscious memories in Old Town ALX.
Sending lots of love and wishing you many happy moments. See ya around town. xxx
Hello Spring! Hello Neighbors! Hello Friends!
It’s springtime in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia. Our hometown. Aren’t we lucky?!!!
I was thinking of where we live and describing it to someone in Vienna — the Austria Vienna, not the one down 123. I was trying to explain: it’s like Old Town is somehow simultaneously a Washington DC neighborhood, and an alluring small town with a unique charm all our own. It’s the kind of place that you’re so proud to live in you’ll correct people when they say: Oh, you’re from Washington DC?! Yes. Well, Old Town, actually, Alexandria, just outside DC.
I think Spring is my favorite time of year here. The cherry blossoms. The green. Boats getting ready to start the season. Flowers perfuming our antique streets.
I love to sit and stare at the pretty that is our home. Soak in the beauty. The spring cleaning on it’s way to being finished. Lillies of the Vally, cut by moi, in a Waterford salt shaker vase. An iced cuppa royal blend from Fortnum’s, the King’s Grocer, for sipping — big month for the royal fans! Soft French instrumental music in the background. Doggie on my lap. Ready to read or write the afternoon away. C’est manifique!
At home in Old Town is fantastic. But so is being out and about town. We’ve got so many fabulous events not just in the city, but right here in our neighborhood. And I love doing things in the spring.
This is the organic new year, new life is blooming, the weather is glorious, and my hair isn’t all frizzed-up or crazy curly from our tropical summertime climate. I want to walk around, eat alfresco, and spend a bunch of hours outside.
I curated a calendar of some local and global things. I hope this will help you create some conscious memories this May! And hope to see you around Old Town!
xxx – Jennifer
p.s. If you’re just seeing this post and the event has already passed. Have no fear! It will probably happen again next year.
Springtime Flowers, Festivals & Frolics
May Memory Making
Coronation of King Charles III
I confess I’m a sucker for British pomp, circumstance, and pageantry! And given this is the first time we’ve seen a coronation in my and Miles’ lifetime, I’d love to have an open house of sorts. Come watch. Grab a tea sandwich, or breakfast quiche. Processo in a juice glass. Ya’ know, share this extremely rare occurrence with friends. But honestly. I take this stuff so seriously. It’s just going to to have to be me, Miles, and our petite furry princess. Otherwise I’d be shushing people the whole time! lol.
Saturday, 6 May — 11am London / 6am Old Town Time (note Charles & Camilla will be in a procession to Westminster Abby so the coverage starts even earlier then 6 in the morning)
Here’s a Town & Country article on where to watch. All major US networks have coverage. Also, here’s a BBC article if you happen to be in London and are looking for where to stand on the procession route! The BBC also has some good info about the whole weekend — the concert, big lunch, big help out, etc.
The 149th Kentucky Derby
The Derby is a great time for a fun party. I’ve been to informal ones at places like Overwood when that blessed place was still around. And I’ve been to more elaborate parties at the Boat Club where you plan out your outfit and get judged for your hat. And honestly, if we didn’t have a Boat Club party this year, I’d be all over throwing a Derby Party. With finger sandwiches, Prosecco, and hats!
Saturday, 6 May, Churchill Downs • Watch on NBC & Peacock • Race is at 6:57, coverage begins at 2:30pm on NBC & noon to 2:30 earlier on USA Network
Here’s the official Derby Link -> https://www.kentuckyderby.com — you’ll be able to find lots of info including for entertaining and wagering ideas.
My favorite wagering is when everyone picks at random. This way the race gets a little more heightened as all the spectators have a sense ownership in the race. I like this for a party, everyone kinda gets a fair shot in the betting. People that actually follow horses, and all the stuff that goes into a race, odds, and that I have no idea about don’t get an advantage when you’re picking at random. Here’s how I’ve done the wagering in the past: Write down all the names of the horses on individual cocktail napkins. And let people pick at random from the hat. Charge the amount you want for the draw — $2, $10, a quarter, whatever. Winner takes all. You could also do it for a prize if you didn’t want to put money in a pot.
Kentucky Derby Party • Old Dominion Boat Club (Private Club)
Who doesn’t love an excuse to wear a derby outfit! Miles’ is allready all picked out and ready to go. I’ve still got to find a hat!
Saturday, 6 May, Old Dominion Boat Club Ballroom, 5 o’clock
This sold out event is sure to be a splendid spectacle. Members and their guest gather at 5 o’clock for a festive party celebrating the greatest two minutes in sports. For the second year in a row, Monte Durham will award the Derby Hat and Attire content winners (6pm). This years categories are: Most Colorful Outfit, Most Unique Hat, Biggest Hat, Best Theme, and Best Dressed Man & Woman. Michael Catts is managing the Derby Pool Station (5-6:45pm). And Chef Miguel is preparing derby appetizers (6pm). The live Kentucky Derby 2023 race will be on all the screens at 6:30.
Secret Language of the Fan and Chocolate Bon-Bons at Carlyle House
We’re booked already. But I think this would be a great event. I’ve seen them offer it before so I’m sure it’ll be back soon!
Saturday, 6 May • 7 o’clock (doors open at 6pm) // Admission: $40 per person
Carlyle House, 121 N Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314 // 703-549-2997 // novaparks.com
“Discover the secret language of the fan as many women in the 19th century did. While practicing fan skills, enjoy different flavored chocolate bon-bons from Potomac Chocolate. Tours of the first floor of the house will run from 6 to 7 p.m. with the program starting promptly at 7 p.m.” – Visit Alex
Art Night in Old Town Alexandria
I’m excited about this! We happened upon a night like this in the very chichi Bozeman, Montana. Note this western town is nicknamed Bozeangelous due to their glittery costal guests in cowboy boots. Anyhow, while on our Western roadtrip we spent a little time there and happened upon the art night on their Main Street. It was fun! We didn’t purchase any art on the spot, but we did take some artists cards, and I got some chic westernware. lol.
Thursday, 18 May, 5 – 8 pm // Admission: Free // Various locations throughout Old Town, Alexandria, 22314.
This is the kick-off of the monthly event that will take place the third Thursdays every month, 5 o’clock to 8 pm, from May to October!
You can get more info at -> oldtownbusiness.org
Explore fine art and studio crafts found in the boutiques and galleries of Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia.
Sunday, 14 May
Always the 2nd Sunday in May in the United States, this breakfast-in-bed / brunch-well holiday celebrates mom’s across America. It’s a day to honor mothers with cards, flowers, chocolates, larger gifts (like jewelry!) or or some smaller yet meaningful tokens of appreciation (like handmade works of art!). Also, as a side note, I’m also a huge fan of pajamas and matching dressing gowns as Mother’s Day giftwares.
And Mother’s Day is no longer just for the mom’s of human children. Not around here, anyway. Alexandria, VA — the most dog friendly city in America! So many Old Town restaurants, bistros, and café will have special brunch and other offerings. And so many places have fantastic outdoor dining. Also, since everyone is all prettied up for this special Sunday it’s a great day to do a photoshoot around Old Town.
If you’d like a little more history on Mother’s Day you can check out History.com’s write-up -> History.ComMothersDay
Tiki Bar – Season Opening • Old Dominion Boat Club (Private Club)
The Friday night tiki bar tradition has migrated from the luscious lawn and docks of One King to the swanky rooftop of Zero Prince. Old clubhouse. New clubhouse. Doesn’t matter. It’s been proven the club’s tiki nights are filled with good times, good people, good drinks, and good music!
Friday 19 May — 6 – 11pm — 6pm Bar Opens / 7-11pm Musical Entertainment
The Rooftop Tiki Bar season kicks off with musical guest: Black Moon Tonics. For the season opening, the ballroom has been reserved in case of inclement weather. The Rooftop Tiki Bar will continue with musical entertainment every Friday evening throughout boating season. Please see the Club’s website for specifics.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon Spring Wine Festival & Sunset Tour
This sounds lovely. But we’ve not done it. I think if there was a Watertaxi or Trolly chauffeuring back to Old Town I’d be more inclined to get tickets for Miles and myself. Also, this could possibly be a fun boating party if you’re a fan of Mount Vernon and the vino.
Friday – Sunday, 19 – 21 May — 6 – 9pm
Admission: Friday: $49 for members; $59 for non-members; Saturday: $53 for members; $63 for non-members; Sunday: $43 for members; $53 for non-members
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy., Mount Vernon, VA 22121
703-780-2000 // MountVernon.org // event link -> mountvernon.org
This is Mount Vernon’s most popular event. Bring a blanket and relax on George’s lawn and enjoy tastings from Virginia’s finest wineries. This year’s musical guests include Bruce Ewan and the Solid Senders.
Blessing of the Fleet
Save the date! This event is great for creating a little boating party. With drinks and appetizers, or finger sandwiches.
Saturday, 20 May • 11:30am – 2pm
Port of Washington Yacht Club // Info & Registration Website
The Blessing of the Fleet is a time honored tradition that’s been taking place for centuries. Originating in predominantly Catholic, Southern European fishing communities, the local priest would bless the seafarers and their vessels. Prayers made for safe travels and a bountiful season. There’s also a reminder to stay humble to the mighty and mysterious power of the sea. This centuries old tradition continues in our hometown. Modern day boaters participate in an annual boat procession in the Potomac River where boats, their crews, and guests are blessed and baptized for the season.
Discovering Alexandria Architecture Walking Tour
One day we’re gonna do this! But we’re already booked this month with the Blessing of the Fleet.
Saturday, May 20, 2023 • 2 pm (was also held on 18 March & 22 April at 10 am)
Admission: $20 per person
Carlyle House // 121 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314 // 703-549-2997 // novaparks.com
“Alexandria has grown from a small town in the 18th century to a bustling small city in the 21st century. Join for a tour of Alexandria and explore the various architectural styles that adorn the city streets. Reservations are required as space is limited. Please wear comfortable shoes for this 1.5-hour guided tour. Tours are held rain or shine unless there is severe weather. ” – Visit Alex
147th Running of the Preakness Stakes
This could be a fun time for a party too. Especially if you know people that already have Derby attire. And it falls on a three day weekend! And it’s held in Baltimore so if you wanted to experience a day at the races it’s not that far away.
Saturday, 20 May • Watch on NBC & Peacock • Coverage starts at 4:30 on NBC Race is at 6:50
Here’s the website -> https://www.preakness.com
Preakness is a thoroughbred horse race held annually on the third Sunday in May (Armed Services Day). It’s held at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. It is the second, and shortest just One and 3/16 miles, of the Triple Crown Races in the USA.
Flag Raising • Old Dominion Boat Club (Private Club)
When Miles and I started going together this gathering often fell on Mother’s Day. It’s the one event in the year when the ODBC breaks out the silver. So it really looked like we were doing something super special for our moms. But it was the club’s pomp, not ours. lol.
Sunday, 21 May • 2 – 4pm
Old Dominion Boat Club officers and invited dignitaries raise the new flags for the year. Followed by fancy hors d’oeuvres and drinks.
Alexandria Old Town Springtime Art Festival (3rd Annual)
This one is double edged for me. I like the theory of an art exhibit lining up and down King Street. I think an art event on King Street exudes the kind of unique artistic flair and charm that tipped the scales for Old Town to become an international travel destination. I do like that the multimedia piece above our bed I bought on the street in front of The Fish Market. But I can also see why neighbors think closing King Street is a pain if you actually want to do anything other then go to the art festival.
Anyhow here’s the festival in John Carlyle Square. I’d walk or Uber, maybe even try your hand at the DASH bus (they’re free!). Also, couple places on my list to try over there – Laporta’s with live jazz nightly, and the French place Bistro Sancerre. If you go let us know how it is!
Saturday & Sunday, 20 & 21 May • 10 am – 5pm // Admission: Free
300 John Carlyle St. in Alexandria, VA
“The Annual Alexandria Old Town Art Festival is heading back to John Carlyle Square in 2023. All artwork is juried, which provides a higher level of quality, diversity and creativity of art on display, exemplifying the gifted artists in regions from all over the country. The show was rated as one of the top 100 art shows in Sunshine Artist Magazine.” – Visit Alex
Old Town Festival of Speed & Style
We’ve missed this every year. Traveling. So I don’t really have much to say. I did hear that Monte Durham is now involved with the charitable event, and he’s a super guy.
Sunday, 21 May • 10am – 3pm // Admission: Free
200-400 blocks of King Street, and the 100 blocks of North Royal and North Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314
Style, history, architecture, art, delicious food, fabulous people, and fanciful energy — just some of the unique offerings that make-up Old Town Alexandria — come to the forefront in the Old Town Festival of Speed & Style. Our portside town displays dozens of cars made famous by their elegance, performance, and speed. Participants view rare and exotic cars up-close. The event also has live music and a presentation of fashion and style. Over 40 local merchants are involved and all proceeds benefit The Campagna Center and ALIVE!.
Memorial Day Weekend
Monday, 29 May (Memorial Day weekend 2023 is Saturday – Monday, 27-29 May)
Originally known as Decoration Day following the Civil War, Memorial Day became a Federal Holiday in 1971. It’s always the last Monday in May, and honors those in the military that passed on in service to our country. It’s also a time when many participate in parades, and go to cemeteries or memorials to pay their respects to loved ones that are no longer with us — both military and civilian.
People gather with family and friends, often holding cookouts, and the weekend has become known as the kick-off of summertime in the USA. Pools are open. People are picknicing. And while we don’t have a Memorial Day parade in Old Town Alx, we sure do have lots of other stuff going on….
Two Boxes of Oranges and Admonia Jackson — Temporary Waterfront Public Art Installation
Every year, there is different public art at the foot of King Street, by water’s edge, to be enjoyed by the tourist and locals alike. This piece is inspired by pieces discovered in 2015 & 2018 on Old Town’s own Potomac waterfront. I have a greater respect for the piece after learning of the inspiration leading to it’s creation, versus just the aesthetic alone.
Late March to November 2023 // Admission: Free
Waterfront Park, 1A Prince Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
“In late March, Two Boxes of Oranges and Admonia Jackson will be unveiled as the fifth temporary public art installation on Old Town Alexandria’s waterfront, part of the City of Alexandria’s Site See: New Views in Old Town series. Created by Jamaican-born, New York-based award-winning artist Nina Cooke John of Studio Cooke John, the installation is inspired by the ships uncovered on Alexandria’s waterfront in 2015 and 2018 and the many layers of history that are not readily seen. The installation forms an abstracted ship’s hull with steel vertical elements that rise and bend, referencing the curve of the hull’s frame. Visitors can stand within the space and imagine a time in Alexandria’s history when the ships carried not only cargo like tobacco, molasses, rum and limes, but also enslaved people who were traded as part of the transatlantic and domestic slave trades. The outer blue of the installation is contrasted with an orange inner surface depicting text pulled from ships’ manifests listing items like herring, coconuts and gin, alongside names and descriptions of enslaved people, such as “Jane Tailor, female, 5’ 2”.” Also listed are “two boxes of oranges” and “Admonia Jackson.”” – Visit Alex
Floriography in the Victorian Era at Lee Fendall
I love stuff like this! We’ll definitely walk over and see this a few times.
Now through 30 August • Daytime // Admission: Free
Lee Fendall House Museum & Gardens • 614 Oronoco Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
The Victorians used flowers to send messages of love, empathy, and even disinterest. Learn how they did it by wandering through the Lee Fendall garden. They’ve put signs next to the planted flowers that explain more about this “secret” intriguing language.
Art Night in Old Town ALX
I’m excited about this! We happened upon a night like this in chichi Bozeman, Montana — note, this western town earned the nickname Bozeangelous due to their glittery costal guests. Anyhow, while on our Western roadtrip we spent a little time there and happened upon the art night on their Main Street. It was fun! We didn’t purchase any art on the spot, but we did take some artists cards, and got some chic westernware. lol.
Third Thursday Each Month • May to October • 5 – 8 pm // Admission: Free
Various locations throughout Old Town Alexandria, 22314
You can get more info at -> oldtownbusiness.org
Explore fine art and studio crafts found in the boutiques and galleries of Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia.