Northern Virginia Community College
NOVA, or the Northern Virginia Community College, is a two-year community college, founded in 1965, with locations in Arlington, Annandale, Alexandria, Springfield, Manassas, Woodbridge, Loudoun, and Reston. In 2003-2004, the college enrolled 63,000 students in credit courses and some 250,000 more in non-credit offerings.
The Annandale Campus is the largest in the NOVA system. The campus is about a mile outside the Capital Beltway at exit 52 in Annandale, VA.
Mount Vernon Recreation Trail
Biking or jogging in Old Town Alexandria? The city streets are rough cobblestone and there are lots of lights, not to mention those locals who roll through stop signs without looking for pedestrians. A much better bet is to head down to the waterfront and enjoy the Mount Vernon Trail.
The Mount Vernon Trail runs along the south and west bank of the Potomac from Roosevelt Island to Mount Vernon, a distance of some 18 miles. The trail is paved and almost perfectly flat for its entire length. In Old Town Alexandria the trail is at its worst as it runs along the water in places, but cuts around the back side of warehouses and along the city streets in others. The confusing stretch only lasts about a half mile, however, and once you leave town the trail becomes an excellent bike and running route. To the south of Old Town you'll pass under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and the Jones Point Lighthouse. To the north you will run past some Egyptian-looking artifacts then the city power plant before entering Arlington.
There are also many other running trails in the DC/Northern Virgina area:
Hains Point is one of the most popular running locations I have found, even though it is a relatively uninspiring, flat, maybe 4.5 mile loop surrounded on all sides by water. I did this run once in December 2008 and the winds blowing across the open Potomac were fierce and cold. On most weekends this place is packed with runners, cyclists, and rollerbladers.
C&O Canal Towpath is a 185 mile long trail that follows the Potomac River from Georgetown through much of Maryland. The trail is on the original towpath, so it is a pretty wide, flat, dirt, trail.
The National Mall is where I log most of my running miles. It is about 2 miles end to end, and it connects to some of the trails along the river, including the Hains Point Loop and the route to the C&O Canal.
Roosevelt Island has about four or five miles of trails, mostly dirt, that circle the island. While it may not be the best place for your entire run, it makes a nice scenic detour off the Custis Trail.
The Martha Custis Trail parallels Interstate 66 and runs about four miles from the W&OD trail to the Potomac River. The trial is paved along the Potomac, and I assume for the rest of its length.
The Christmas Attic
One block off King Street and near the waterfront, this shop has EVERYTHING you could possible want related to Christmas and a smaller selection for other major holidays. In one of the oldest buildings in Old Town, this shop is a treat for the senses.
Alexandria National Cemetery
Not to be confused with Arlington National Cemetery, Alexandria National Cemetery is located three or four miles away from its famous neighbor. Alexandria National Cemetery was established in 1862, as one of the original 14 national cemeteries. This cemetery is just five and a half acres and contains the remains of 4,240 people, mostly Union soldiers from the Civil War. By 1864 this cemetery was almost filled, prompting the creation of Arlington National Cemetery. The only monument in the cemetery is dedicated to four soldiers who died pursuing Lincoln's assassin.
The Superintendent's Lodge at the front gate is the oldest structure on the grounds, and it was built in 1870.
The African American Heritage Park borders one side of the cemetery, but can not be reached from inside the cemetery grounds.
Friendship Fire Company - Old Town
The first volunteer fire department in Alexandria was the Friendship Fire Company. It was created in 1774 and purchased its first fire engine the next year. Until 1838 this fire company was housed near Market Square, then it merged with another local fire department and moved to Columbus and King Street. In 1851 the fire department moved to the present location, and the current facility was constructed four years later.
The Friendship Fire House is managed by the City of Alexandria and is open to the public. The first floor of the museum contains historic equipment such as antique hand-drawn fire engines, leather water buckets, and axes. The second floor contains 19th century furnishings from the company's peak years, as well as parade uniforms, capes, and banners.
The museum is open just three days a week. Friday and Saturday 10 am to 4 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm.
The sign on the side of the fire house reads:
"Firendship Fore Company
Original building erected July 23, 1855
New addition erected October 30, 1972
Housing relics for future generations
Bernard B. Brown"