Much to enjoy, both old and new, in Alexandria, VA

SHERYL NANCE-NASH | 10/24/2019, 3:06 p.m.
Alexandria, Virginia was the stomping ground of the nation’s first president. George Washington lived in nearby Mount Vernon, but Alexandria ...
The view from Vola's Dockside Grilll and Hi-Tide Lounge

The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary once doled out medications to George and Martha Washington and General Robert E. Lee. The museum still has jars with their original contents. Check it out. The Gadsby Tavern Museum and Carlyle House Historic Park will round out your afternoon. You can get a Key to the City museum pass for $15 at the Alexandria Visitor Center for access to nine historic sites, and a 40% off coupon for a visit to nearby George Washington’s Mount Vernon and access to the Observation Deck atop the George Washington National Masonic Memorial.

A great spot for dinner is Vola’s Dockside Grill and Hi-Tide Lounge. Do, however, indulge yourself before heading back to your Airbnb accommodation, the Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa (the spa is reason enough to stay here, as is BRABO, the outrageous menu is as good as it gets), or boutique hotels, like the stylish Hotel Indigo, Alexandria’s first waterfront hotel. Alexandria is big on sugar, with 20 artisanal sweets and dessert spots. Don’t miss Nicecream, with its grass-fed cream and local ingredients. Forget Ben & Jerry’s; Nicecream stands out. Employees use liquid nitrogen to freeze the ice cream on the spot in front of you. With flavors like Mexican chocolate, Sweet corn and Peanut butter white chocolate, you’ll likely come back before you leave town.

If you’re in the mood to hang, hit King Street for live music at the Basin Street Lounge. Another hipster spot for those in the know is Captain Gregory’s, a secret speakeasy with to-die-for cocktails. Be warned, you might be challenged to finish two of anything on the menu.

When you’re in Alexandria, you’re so close to Washington, D.C., you have a big decision to make. Do you head to Washington, D.C. and check out all the landmarks and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture that the whole country is still talking about, or spend the day biking or boating 8 miles to George Washington’s Mount Vernon? The riverside estate includes the mansion, outbuildings, tomb, working farm and museum with interactive displays, movies and more than 700 artifacts.

Alexandria is a great mix of old and new, sophisticated, yet chill.