Posts Categorized: travel

Alexandria VA Travel Guide

Alexandria VA Travel Guide

One of my favorite places for a staycation in the DC area is Alexandria, VA. There is so much to do (see my post about Mt. Vernon from last fall, here) and it’s a great escape from the city, plus Old Town is so cute! Whether I just need to get out of town for a few hours or I’m looking for a longer staycation, it’s one of my favorite places to head to, I also highly recommend it if you’re planning a trip to DC and don’t want to stay in the city but want to be close by.

 If you’re planning a trip, here’s my Alexandria, VA travel guide, full of my picks of where to stay, what to do and of course where to eat in and around Old Town!

Alexandria VA Travel Guide

Where to stay:

Y’all, I cannot recommend the Kimpton Lorien Hotel and Spa more! It’s right in Old Town, at the top of King Street and only a few minutes walk to the metro. From here you can easily hop on the trolley and make your way down King Street or jump on the metro and head into DC for a day trip in the city.

On top of being super convenient, it is amazing. I first stayed here when I was a freshman in college and it has remained one of my favorite hotels in the world. I have a soft spot for Kimpton’s in general, but The Lorien is my favorite. Incredible food at Brabo, the most comfortable beds in the world, amazing bathtubs and rain showers, plus a gorgeous spa. The list goes on but you get the idea. As far as Alexandria goes, you really can’t go wrong with The Lorien!

Another great perk of staying at The Lorien is the free happy hour they have every day in the lobby, after a day of exploring (or a day at the spa) stop by for a glass of wine and some amazing treats from Brabo!

Alexandria VA Travel Guide

Where to eat:

Brabo
Hanks Oyster Bar
Sonoma Cellar
Magnolia’s on King
Blackwall Hitch
Virtue Feed and Grain
Del Ray Pizzeria

Alexandria VA Travel Guide

What to do:

There is history around every corner in Alexandria, home to George Washington and Robert E. Lee, one of the ten busiest ports and a Civil War supply center for Union troops are just a few things it’s known for.

 Explore King Street // There’s so many great restaurants and shops lining king street. Take a walk from the top of the street down to the waterfront or hop on the trolley.

Visit Market Square // Go see Alexandria’s City Hall and see what’s going on in Market Square, it’s home to farmers markets and other events daily. If there’s nothing going on it’s still a gorgeous spot to walk see!

Explore the Waterfront // If you’re not going to make it to Mt. Vernon definitely put the waterfront on your list. If you’re staying at The Lorien, it’s only about a 20 minute walk down King Street and so worth it. There are restaurants along the water or just take in the stunning views of the Potomac. You can also hop on a river cruise to Mt Vernon, the National Harbor, the National Mall or simply take a river tour.

Visit the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum // Take a step back in time to learn about Civil War Era medicine and the famous people throughout history who visited and relied upon the medicines from the Apothecary.

Go see Christ Church // For those of you who have been reading for a while you know I’m an absolute sucker for old churches. One of my favorite things to do when I’m traveling is just poke my head into churches, this one is no different. Like pretty much everything else in this city it is steeped in history and looks virtually the same it did during the Revolutionary War!

Get spooked on a ghost tour // Growing up in New England I know that old towns and ghosts kind of go together and Alexandria is no different. Whether you believe in ghosts or not (I definitely do) jump on a ghost tour to see a different history of Alexandria!

 Spend the Day Exploring Mt Vernon // Go spend a few hours walking in the footsteps of our first president. It’s one of the most beautiful spots in the DC area in my opinion!

Head into DC // You’re 20 minutes from DC, so pick a few museums you want to see or go walk around the mall. The great part about Alexandria is how easy it is to get to DC, you can take the metro or drive and be downtown in just a little while.

There is so much more to do in Alexandria, VA and I could go on and on. These are just a few of my picks but I always love to hear from you! What are some of your favorite spots?

Essentials for a Road Trip to Maine

road trip to maine

One of the things I miss the most about home is fall. Fall in New England really is all that it’s cracked up to be, and it will always be my favorite time of year to visit home. Last year I missed fall all together out in San Diego so this year I decided I’d take full advantage and headed up to Boston then took a little road trip to Maine for a long weekend.

My road trip essentials are pretty simple, a comfy outfit for the drive, a great bag that isn’t too big, a bottle of smart water, pack of gum and some snacks. Always snacks, usually Goldfish.

road trip to maine

Since moving to DC for school I have spent a lot of time in the car driving back and forth to Boston which is a long drive, so a 3 hour road trip to Maine was quite a treat. When I am going to be on a long car ride I like to be as comfy as possible, that usually means jeans, a sweatshirt and comfy shoes (although 90% of the time I’m definitely driving barefoot.)

road trip to maine

This fleece has become an absolute staple in my wardrobe, and was perfect for my road trip. Finding fleeces that are long enough for me is a constant struggle, I could never wear the Northface or Patagonia fleeces that everyone has because they are never long enough and the sleeves are definitely never long enough. It drives me nuts. This one is the perfect fit though, you’ll definitely be seeing it around here quite a bit. I pretty much lived in it during my trip to Maine as well, it was perfect for that crisp New England fall weather!

road trip to maine

L.L. Bean is one of those companies that we’ve all heard of and if you’re from New England you probably grew up camping in their tents and wearing their Bean boots or flannel shirts. But at least for me, I never really branched out beyond the staples. Lately I am loving everything from the store and have been working more and more pieces from the store into my everyday wardrobe.

road trip to maine

better sweater c/o L.L. Bean // jeans c/o L.L. Bean // duffel bag c/o L.L. Bean // loafers

This outfit was great for the drive, I was able to go straight from the car to drinks without being uncomfortable while driving. These jeans y’all, they are everything. Although L.L. Bean has always been a favorite of mine I don’t think I’ve ever had a pair of jeans from them, but these are the softest and comfiest jeans I’ve bought in a long time. I’m obsessed.

road trip to maine

photos by Laura

What are your road trip essentials?

Psssst…. as a bonus to today’s post I teamed up with some of my favorite bloggers to bring you an awesome giveaway! Use the widget below to enter and good luck, I wish I could win this one, it’s a good one :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Exploring Mt Vernon

Fall decided to come back to DC on Friday and this New Englander couldn’t be happier. I love summer but I’m ready for the consistent crisp days that come with fall, so last weeks indian summer was rough for me. Since this weekend was absolutely perfect weather I wanted to get outside as much as possible and do something a little different. Unfortunately, most of the orchards around here have no more apples to pick so a few friends and I decided to head outside the city to explore of Mt Vernon and Alexandria instead.

mt-vernon-1

For those of you who don’t know, Mt Vernon is George Washington’s estate, and it is completely amazing. While seeing the mansion that the Washington’s lived in is cool, the main draw for me is the amazing grounds and the views of the Potomac River.

mt-vernon-4

There are guided tours of the mansion but the rest of it is self guided with plenty signs and historical re-enactors throughout the property to give you an understanding of how the estate was run in the 1700’s. We spent a couple hours wandering around, chatting and stopping periodically to hear people speak about different things, for example did you know that the song “Yankee Doodle” was originally written to mock us?

mt-vernon-6

Planning your visit to Mt Vernon

It was such a great way to spend the afternoon, and something a little bit different for all of us. If you’re planning a trip to DC I highly recommend making Mt Vernon a stop on your trip!

My favorite parts of the estate are the view from the front of the mansion, the tomb, the wharf and the gardens. But I definitely recommend walking around the entire property to see as much as possible, there really is so much to see and so much incredible history!

Tickets

You can get your tickets at the entrance but I highly recommend purchasing them ahead of time online, they are discounted and you can avoid waiting in line which is always a plus!

Check the website when you’re planning your visit because there are always different events going on and you might be able to see a different side of the estate than just the normal ticket holders do!

How to get there?

You have a few options to get to Mt Vernon depending on where you’re coming from.

1. Car // Mt. Vernon is only about 20 miles south of DC, it’s super easy to drive to and there is loads of free parking!

2. Bike // If you’re feeling a little more active, there’s an amazing bike path that will take you out to the estate. It’s an incredibly scenic ride and you would see so much of DC’s surrounding area if you opted for this one!

3. Metro/Bus // You can take the metro to Huntington and then hop on the Fairfax Connector bus #101 that will take you right to the entrance! You could also take a tourbus to get there!

4. Boat // Next time I go out there, I’ll definitely be opting for this mode of transportation. There are two different boats that will take you to the estate, one leaves from DC and the other is from either Alexandria or the National Harbor. Such a great way to see even more of the city and surrounding areas!

mt-vernon

Have you been to Mt Vernon before?