Alexandria Off The Beaten Path

  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Ewingjr98
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Yaqui
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by Yaqui

Best Rated Off The Beaten Path in Alexandria

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    Yes there are still cobble stone streets in VA

    by zanzooni Updated Oct 6, 2009

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    Cobble stone streets still in existence.

    Wander off King Street and you will find the cobblestone streets. You can drive down them, but I don't advise it as it's a pretty rocky drive and you must go slow! Otherwise you may find your vehicle needing some repair work done to the undercarriage.

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    Gadsby's Tavern Museum

    by Yaqui Updated Aug 14, 2011

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    Tavern
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    In 1749, Charles & Anne Mason erected a house measuring a minimum of 20 feet by 20 feet within two years near this lot. By the mid-1750s, the Mason's were operating a tailoring business and an ordinary for their business and home. Soon after Anne's death in 1761 the buildings began its long journey of being rebuilt into several types of establishments: as tavern, hotel, ballroom, barracks, auction house, club house and museum. The Hawks ran their establishments here from 1774-1775. In 1782 John Wise was the next owner and enlarged the structures and built the City Hotel 1792. The property was leased to John Gadsby from 1796-1808.

    Many American presidents and foreign dignitaries have been lodged and entertained within their walls as have tourists, merchants, actors, circus performers, Federal troop housing, and the pomp and splendor of George Washington’s birthday celebrations.

    Now is stands a tribute to our past to educate and enjoy.

    Located at 134 N. Royal Street Alexandria, Virginia 22314

    Tour Hours:
    November to March:
    Wednesday - Saturday,
    11 am to 4 pm
    Sunday, 1 pm to 4 pm
    Monday and Tuesday, Closed
    Last tour at 3:45 pm

    April to October:
    Tuesday - Saturday,
    10 am to 5 pm
    Sunday and Monday, 1 pm to 5 pm
    Last tour at 4:45 pm.

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    Alexandria Seaport Center

    by Yaqui Updated Jan 2, 2005

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    This floating museum houses a boat building program, a marine sciences lab, and offers a boat livery of small sailing and rowing craft that visitors can rent. They also teach the skill to youth groups with the hopes of passing on a centuries long skill and craft. The gents that run the operation were so friendly and very earger to display what was being crafted right there on the spot.
    Located at : North of the Torpedo Factory on the waterfront, at the base of Queen Street

    HOURS: Daily 9am - 4pm
    ADMISSION: Free

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    Historic Homes Walk - George's footsteps

    by Yaqui Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    When you are in the downtown area or even by the marina. You need to just walk around and take in the historical homes. You know when you’re on an actual historic street because of the very narrow streets and many of these homes have historical markers on the front by the door with the year it was built. It's almost hard to know the difference in the new and old homes, because the builders take such care in building the new ones authentically. The streets a much wider on the new homes.

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    Music in the streets

    by Yaqui Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    I think this is pretty cool when wonderful individuals are willing to share their gift of music. This gentleman was performing just down from the restaurant. He played beautifully! Be sure to say thank you with some small gift;-)

    They have many cultural events, so checkout the website for more information or just take a walk in the evening and hear them play downtown or by the marina.

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    Gadsby's Tavern Ice Well

    by Yaqui Written Aug 14, 2011

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    I surprised my sister because she had passed by here many times but never realized the steps to the Ice Well. When you see a plaque on a building, stop and read it. You never know what you may find.

    One of the plaques reads:
    Underground ice wells were used in the 18th and 19th centuries to store ice for use during the warm months. In Alexandria, blocks of ice were cut from the Potomas River. Ice was placed in this well through a square opening which is marked in the pavement above. The well consist of shallow brick dome, a circular brick shaft 15' deep and 17' in diameter and a sand floor. A brick tunnel extends from the well to the basement of the tavern. Originally the well was completely underground. In 1976 it was strengthened by the installation of steel bands, and the wing area and windows were installed. This well, a rare survivor, served the tavern and the town. Tavern keeper John Gadsby sold ice in 1805 for 8 cents per pound. The ice well was restored by the City of Alexandria in 1976 as part of the restoration of Gadsby Tavern. You may tour Gadsby's Tavern Museum to learn more about the well or the tavern.

    Located at around the corner on Cameron Street from 138 N. Royal Street, Alexandria Va 22314

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    Alexandria National Cemetery

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Nov 1, 2008

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    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.

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    Alexandria's Slavery History

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Feb 24, 2009

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    The office of Franklin & Armfield, Duke Street
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    Alexandria has kind of a split personality in dealing with its history of slavery and racial equality. Alexandria was home to the Franklin & Armfield Slave Market, one of the largest slave trading companies in the country, and they sent some 1,000 slaves a year to Mississippi and Louisiana. On one hand it recognizes this dark past by maintaining various historical markers, numerous buildings, and even a new museum that is planned. One the other hand it celebrates hometown heroes such as George Washington and Robert E Lee, as well as other pro-slavery figures like Jefferson Davis and the town's Confederate soldiers. It's a delicate balance that will never make everyone happy. As long as the issues are presented fairly, people really can't argue the approach to preserving history, good and bad.

    I have visited Franklin and Armfield Office at 1315 Duke Street that was a slave trading holding area from 1828 to 1861. During the war the Union Army took over Alexandria, the slave trade in the city was ended, and this building became a prison for captured Confederate soldiers... that could be called karma, irony, or maybe even called poetic justice.

    The Alfred Street Baptist Church is just a block or two from my apartment, and was founded in 1818. This is known as the city's oldest African American church. Alfred Street Baptist Church is located at 313 South Alfred Street in Alexandria, Virginia.

    Other sites in Alexandria recognizing and commemorating the black community include Beulah Baptist Church, Bruin's Slave Jail, Dr. Albert Johnson House, George Lewis Seaton House, Moses Hepburn Rowhouses, and the Odd Fellows Hall.


    A plaque in front of the Franklin and Armfield office states, "Isaac Franklin and John Armfield leased this brick building with access to the wharves and docks in 1828 as a holding pen for enslaved people being shipped from Northern Virginia to Louisiana. They purchased the building and three lots in 1832. From this location Armfield bought bondspeople at low prices and shipped them south to his partner Franklin in Natchez Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana, to be sold at higher prices. By the 1830s, they often sold 1,000 people annually, operating as one of the largest slave-trading companies in the United States until 1836. Slave traders continuously owned the property until 1861."

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    George Washington Masonic National Memorial

    by Ewingjr98 Updated May 13, 2009

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    The George Washington Masonic National Memorial is a Mason's lodge and memorial for President George Washington, a mason, and former president of the local lodge. The nine story tower is designed after the ancient lighthouse at Alexandria, Egypt, and the exterior was built from 1922 to 1932. Work on the interior was not completed until 1970, and the monument and plaques on the front lawn were just completed in 1999. The building's replica lodge room contains Washington's masonic artifacts such as his apron and the silver trowel he used to lay the cornerstone of the Capitol Building. The top floor has an observation deck offering views in all four cardinal directions.

    During our visit, we were between tours of the tower, so we stuck to the ground floor and the basement. The ground floor is dominated by a huge hall with a tall bronze statue of Washington flanked by great white columns in front of murals and stained-glass windows. To the left of this atrium is a small room with artifacts and photos of previous Mason commanders, then a modern-day meeting room. Downstairs you will find a central hall with small paintings of some of the great Masonic lodges of America, and there is also a small museum and gallery for the Shriners.


    The monument stands on a tall knob called Shuter's Hill, that overlooks downtown Alexandria. In 1781 this was the site of John Mill's plantation house, which burned to the ground in 1842. In the 1850s a large brick house was built on the site, and this was incorporated into the Civil War-era Fort Ellsworth. The brick mansion was destroyed by fire in 1905. It is said that Thomas Jefferson once proposed this hill as the ideal site for the nation's capitol, prior to work starting across the river in Washington.

    The monument is open to the public from 9am to 4pm daily with guided tours daily at 10am, 11:30 am, 1:30 pm and 3 pm.


    The monument has three plaques that read:

    "Let prejudices and local interests yield to reason. Let us look at our national character and to things beyond the present period. — George Washington"

    "This classic sculpture commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. The bronze bas-relief is a gift from Eastman Kodak Company, and was first commissioned as part of America's Bicentennial observance. It is the work of Isabel Giampietro Knoll. Dedication August 1982."

    "This monument erected with the support from Grand Lodge of Ohio; Scottish Rite, Hartford, CT.; Corinthian-Philo Lodge No. 368, Philadelphia, PA.; Scottish Rite, Bridgeport, CT.; Demolay Foundation of New Jersey, Inc.; Mt. Lebanon Lodge, Boston, MA.; Supreme Council, Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction; Supreme Council, Scottish Rite, Northern Jurisdiction; Scottish Rite, Southern New Jersey; Holland Lodge Foundation, Inc. N.Y.; to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial."

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    Christ Church Historical Markers

    by Yaqui Updated Aug 14, 2011

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    The Markers Reads:
    Christ Church
    Has beeen designated a Registered National Historic Landmark
    Under the proveision of the hsitoric sites Act of August 21, 1935 this site possesses exceptional value in coommemorating or illustrating the history of the United States
    U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service 1970

    The second reads:
    This building is dedicated to the Service of Glory of God and in loving memory of all the faithful departed members of Christ Church and of those whose names are recorded in the Book of Rememberance kept in this building and of those whose mortal remains have been interred in this churchyard.
    Remember thse Thy servants, O lord according to the favor which thou bearest unto Thy people, and grant that uncreasing in knowledge and love of Thee, they may go from strength to strength, in the life of perfect service in They Heavenly Kindom: thourgh Jesus Chrust our Lord who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost ever one God world without end. Amen.

    In Memory of the Honorary Plll Bearers of General George Washington
    Fellow Townsmen, Brothers Masons,
    Trusted Friends, Comrades in the cause of American Independence
    Col. Charles Simms
    Col George Gilpin
    Col. Dennis Ramsay
    Col. Philip Marsteller
    Col. William Payne
    Col. Charles Little
    In Memory also of the Lieutenants
    William Moss
    Lawrence Hoof
    James Turner Jr.
    George Wise
    of the 105th regiment of the Virginia Militia who bore his body to the tomb, December 18th 1799.
    Erected by the Mt. Vernon Chapter National Society Daughters of the American REvolution of Alexandia, Va in 1909

    Alexandria Visitor Center
    221 King Street Alexandria, VA 22314
    (703) 746-3301

    Located at: 118 North Washington Street Alexandria, Virginia

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    E-86 Historic Alexandria Marker

    by Yaqui Updated Aug 14, 2011

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    Aleaxandria was named for the family fo John Alexander, a Virginia Planter who in 1669 acquired the tract on which the town begaon. By 1732, the site was known as Hunting Creek Warehouse and in 1749 became Alexandria, thereafter a major 18th century port. George Washington frequented the town; Robert E. Lee claimed it as his boyhood home. From 1801 to 1847 Alexandria was a part of the District of Columbia, and was later occupied by Federal troops during the Civil War. By the 20th century it had become a major railroad center. In 1946, Alexandria created the third historic district in the United States to protect its 18th and 19th century buildings.

    Located on the street next to the Ramsay House (Alexandria Visitors Center) 221 King Street

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    Ramsay House Marker

    by Yaqui Updated Aug 14, 2011

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    The Ramsay House

    Inscription. Owned by William Ramsay, a founder of Alexandria in July, 1749, and first Mayor. Restored by the City of Alexandria in 1956 and dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Robert Miller Reese (Rebecca Ramsay) (1870–1955), great-great-granddaughter of William Ramsay.

    Marker is at the intersection of King Street and Fairfax Street, on the left when traveling east on King Street. Marker is at sidewalk level, on the side of the house.

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    Wise's Tavern

    by Yaqui Updated Aug 14, 2011

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    This was the site of when they held a reception for George Washington when he left in 1789 to become the President of the United States. Washington use to dine here quite frequently when it was a tavern. Now it is also the site of the one of the places the ghost tours visit.

    Located on 201 North Fairfax Street and Cameron Street

    Visitor Center
    221 King Street Alexandria, VA 22314

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    George Washington Town House

    by Yaqui Written Aug 14, 2011

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    Replica Washington's Town House
    Lot purchased by George Washington 1763 and house completed 1789. Torn down 1855 rebuilt by Gov. & Mrs. Richard Barrett Lowe 1980 Bricks & Stones from excavation used in construction.

    Site of Washington's Town House
    Used by him in his surveying where he maintained an office with the secretary to recieve and accomdation belated visitors to Mr. Vernon.

    Located along 508 Cameron Street between North Pitt and North St. Asaph Streets

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    Fort Ward

    by seagoingJLW Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Fort Ward

    Fort Ward is the best preserved of the system of Union forts and batteries built during the Civil War to protect Washington, DC.

    The fort has exhibits on Civil War topics, tours, and living history activities throughout the year.

    It is located at 4301 West Braddock Road in Alexandria, Virginia 22304

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Alexandria Off The Beaten Path

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