Do you want to dine where President’s dined? Alexandria is a short drive from Washington DC, so it is an easy day trip. We rented a car and took a drive to Alexandria and I am so glad that we did. The downtown is welcoming and charming with cobblestone streets and beautiful preserved historical architecture. Alexandria is located on the Potomac River and there is a lot to see in this historical city.
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
We stopped by the Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and the restaurant in Old Town area of Alexandria. The two buildings were built in the 1700’s. They are attached, but they have a separate entrance.
The Gadsby Tavern Museum’s building has four levels. The bottom level is a cellar, the tap room is on the first floor, the second floor was the assembly room and the top floor was the bedchambers.
The bedchambers had rooms that were shared often several people to a bed. They also had private rooms with canopy beds.
The restaurant building is five levels. The cellar is on the bottom level and the historic ice well. The first floor housed the tap room and the dining room. The second floor was a bedchamber and ballroom. The third floor and fourth floors were bedchambers.
The ice well could hold 62 tons of ice blocks. Ice was taken from the Potomac River and lowered into the well through a hatch in the street. The ice well can be viewed from the street.
The first floor housed the tap room and the dining room, which is a restaurant today. The restaurant is like stepping back in time. You can eat at the same place where several U.S. Presidents met, ate and drank. Some of the famous people include: George Washington , James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Adams.
The menu included beers crafted using recipes from our forefathers. Not my favorite beer, but the pork chops with brandied apples was quite good.
The second floor was a bedchamber and ballroom. The third floor and fourth floors were bedchambers. As part of the tour you can view the ballroom where George Washington danced with his wife.
From the Market Square we walked down King’s Street and checked out all the boutique shops. If you keep walking you’ll reach King Street Park, and can view the art galleries and shops in this area. Of course you also have a great view of the Potomac River.
On the corner of North Washington and Cameron Street is the historical Christ Church. Built in the 1700’s, this church was attended by George Washington’s family and Robert E. Lee’s family.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Just under 10 miles from downtown Alexandria is George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Originally the estate owned 8,000 acres. Today 500 acres have been preserved. You can watch a video about George Washington’s life in the Visitor Center. Tours depart from the Visitor Center and you will have a guided tour of George Washington’s house. The rest of the estate is self-guided.
You cannot take photos inside the mansion, however you are free to take photos of the outside and of the other buildings.
In addition to the mansion, George Washington’s estate has more than two dozen buildings, and several gardens spread across the acreage. You can view George Washington’s tomb and the Mount Vernon Slave Memorial.