Last month saw me jet off to the states to go and explore all that Virginia and Washington DC had to offer. Myself along with five other blogger babes went along to eat, drink and sight-see our way through the two states. It may have only been a short trip but my goodness did we fit alot in. Thanks to the Alexandria VA and Washington D.C tourism boards we were guided around all the best bits and experienced some true Amercian cuisine along the way. With an itinerary packed full of local history, markets and tourist attractions, I can’t wait to share our mini adventure with you and maybe convince you to start planning your own trip. If truth be told, neither of the states were on my future holiday list and yet now I’ve been I couldn’t reccomend it more. There’s so much to do and something for everyone no matter what age. So withour further a do, let’s get to it!
Starting off in Virginia we headed to the small city of Alexandria. Simply put, Alexandria is what you see in the movies. Think Gilmore Girls and Hocus Pocus. Those big, beautiful houses on quaint streets. Everything looked like a movie set and I fastly became obsessed with the doors and seasonal wreaths in the area. We reached Alexandria late in the evening and headed to the aptly named Alexadrian Hotel. We checked in and headed up to our rooms, which were an absolute treat! The whole hotel was beautifully decorated with the lobby making for the perfect chill area. The rooms, decked with a chez lounge (yes, I felt very fancy) was the perfect place to rest after a long flight. The hotel also very kindly left some treats in the room and let’s just say the wine and cheese board went down very nicely! Sadly however it was only a pit-stop for the night as in the morning we were checking out and back on the road. Found in 1794, Old Town Alexandria is home to more than 200 independant restaurants and boutiques alongside intimate historic museums and new builds at the waterfront. Our first stop of the day was Hummingbird. A cafe and restaurant located within Hotel Indigo on Union Street. It’s one of the newer additions amongst the waterfront area and the ideal setting for our first breakfast of the trip. The menu was everything I’d want from an all Amercian cafe. The decor was nautical and bright, the perfect place for a much needed coffee or two (…gotta beat the jet-lag.) I ordered the eggs benedict as it’s my favourite however I had serious food envy and somewhat regretted not ordering the French toast as… well, look at it! After breakfast we departed for Arlington County via the metro. Although I’m constantly moaning about public transport in London, taking the local metro/tram/bus when I’m travelling is one of my favourite things to do. We hopped on the Metro Blue Line to Rosslyn – the station where amazing. You’ll be able to see more on my Travel Vlog over on Youtube which will be up very soon but the architecture was just great, It felt like a space centre! Once in Arlinton which is just across the river from the nation’s capital (Washington D.C) we headed to the Observation Deck at Central Place. The Observation Deck is a 12,000-square-foot public observation deck, the 31 story building rises to 390 feet making it tallest building inside the DC Beltway. The views from the top offer a panoramic view of the entire region including the tourist hot-spots such as the washington monument. It also has a great ‘selfie spot’ or if you take a group of bloggers a full blown phtoshoot session!
Again, you can head over to my Youtube channel to see more of the views from The Observation Deck but if you are planning a visit then it’s definately worth popping in. The windows are lined with key facts and interactive displays to learn more about some of the sites and the staff are super helpful and ready to answer all of your questions. Big shout out to fellow traveller – Ari (@ari55) who is an insanely talented photographer and captured this image whilst I was checking out the view. The jacket is from ASOS FYI. Next up on the agenda was a community project – The Alcove Pop-up shop. A space designed to accomodate local makers and deliver unique experiences for the community. Filled with shelves upon shelves of books and records, beautifully painted murals and local sellers. It also offers DIY workshops and storytime sessions. It’s a great place to take a break and learn something new or simply just sit down relax. After the Alcove it was lunch and we headed to a family-owned Lebanese restaurant within Pentagon Row. A local favourite that’s been around for several decades, the Lebanese Tavern was a great choice offering some amazing, authentic Lebanese food. We opted to get lots of sharing dishes as we were all eager to try everything. The watermelon and feta salad along with the traditional breads and spicy hummous were definitely my top picks. After lunch we popped into Pentagon Row, a large scale shopping centre full of main-stream stores and boutiques. I took the chance to get another coffee whilst the others shopped around for some presents and keepsakes. After a quick shop we then headed onto the metro to get back to Old Town Alexandria. We met at Market Square before heading on a walking tour of the area. To get there we took the King Street Trolley, which was another highlight of the trip for me – ‘Hop Aboard the Free King Street Trolley. Discover a convenient, environmentally friendly and fun way to travel around Old Town Alexandria. The King Street Trolley transports riders between the King Street Metrorail Station and the Potomac River waterfront.’ I loved it, everyone was so sweet and it was such a lovely idea and a great way to sight-see. Again, I was stunned by the sheer beauty of the area. Everything was clean and perfect and obviously very well looked after. The local sprit was delightful too, with many locals walking past saying welcome and wishing us a great stay upon hearing our acents. We walked along the many cobbled streets stopping off at some of the more picturesque houses to take pictures and shoot Instagram content. The prettiest has to be ‘Captains Row’ which was filled with beautiful houses and doors and was exactly what I’d love my house to look like in the future. When we had had our fill of door pictures… honestly my camera is full of doors from this trip, they were just so pretty! We also stopped by the infamous ‘Spite House’ a house built well, for spite! Only 7 feet wide it was built in 1830 by John Hollensbury, the owner of one of the adjacent houses to keep horse-drawn wagons and loiterers out of his alley.
Next up we headed to the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum on Fairfax Street. A historic Apothecary that once perscribed medications to George and Martha Washington. One of the nations oldest pharmacies, dating back to 1792 it has over 15,000 objects still remaining as part of the museum’s collection. Everything form herbs and bottles to (for the Potter fans) ingrediants used in the books and films such as Dragons Blood and Mandrake Root. The tour was excellelant and gave a fascinating look into the world of pharmaceuticals. After the tour we head to the Torpedo Factory Arts Centre. Artist studios and workshops filled the halls of this once amunition factory. It was a great place to see everything from painting and ceremics to stained glass and print making. You can also take art classes there as part of the Art League School. We finished our time in Alexandria with a dinner at The Majestic. This was my favourite meal of the trip and a big shout out to the waiting staff who were so lovely and extremely helpful. Again, I opted to order a few small dishes so I could try several items on the menu along with a kale salad – Alexandria style and honestly, although i’m not one to normally rave about a salad, it was gorgeous! Once we were full of food and several cocktails we headed onto our coach waving goodbye to Virginia and drove to D.C. Whilst in DC we stayed at the brand new (literally we were the hotels first guest) Eaton Workshop. I feel words and pictures can’t do it justice, this is the nicest most thoughtful hotel I’ve ever stayed in. I find the that even the word ‘hotel’ doesn’t quite capture the experience. In their words – Eaton Workshop is a global purpose-driven company and creative lab at the intersection of culture, media, hospitality, wellness, and progressive social change. Founded by Katherine Lo, whose background in activism and filmmaking fuels her vision of a new inclusive gathering place for changemakers and creatives, Eaton consists of distinct parts—Hotel, House, Media, Wellness, and Impact. Collectively, the pillars serve as an incubator for arts and culture, a beacon for sustainability, a hub for impact initiatives, a holistic healing center, and a global media presence. Building a community with a shared ethos of caring for today’s world and conceiving of how we can make it better, Eaton forms connections through its physical spaces, as well as through dynamic digital storytelling and experiences. In a nutshell it was the perfect space and the attention to detail made within the rooms was impecable. We also had a guided medatation session whilst there which was much needed after such a busy few days. Our first point of call in D.C however was Bike & Roll, an amazing company offering bike and segway tours around the national mall and other tourist hot-spots. The other girls went on the bike tour but as happens on every press trip… I can’t ride a bike so I joined a group of tourists on the segway tour instead. I’ve actually segwayed before in Paris and I love it! It’s so much fun and such a brilliant way to explore. We covered all the historical and political buildings such as the Washington Monument, White House and Capitol Building. I loved the tour so much, it was probably my personal highlight of the trip and something I would 100% recommend if you’re heading to D.C yourself. There was so much to do in D.C we covered so much in such a short time but I would for sure visit again. Food wise we were spoilt for choice, first off we headed to Farmers and Distillers for lunch were I was faced with the biggest meal I think I’ve ever had. Chicken, mac & cheese, green beans and… a doughnut. It was crazy but an Amercian tradition so I went ahead and tried it. From now on though, doughnuts are definitely saved for dessert. After luch we visited some of the many art galleries. National Gallery of Art, the Renwick Gallery and the National Portrail Gallery. I loved each and everyone of them, the Burning Man exhibit at the Renwick was very special and has fueled my longing to go to Burning Man even more. Seeing the Obama portraits at the Portrait Gallery was another highlight and left me thinking how sad it will be when the next presidential portrait will be added. After the galleries we added a couple of extra things to the itineray as we were all so eager to go. George Town and Dumbarton Oaks gardens. It was like travelling back in time, heading to the colourful streets and secret gardens. We also stopped by Union Market and Blagden Alley to take in some of D.C’s best street art. This was another highlight for me as I love street art and this was some of the best I’ve seen. Make sure you’re following me over on Instagram as I’m posting lot’s of it on there but I’ll leave a sneak peek below. In between the gardens and the art we managed to fit lot’s more food in from some amazing places namely, The Wharf, La Vie and our final group dinner at Succotash. The organisation of our trip was second to non so a big thank you to the amazing teams at the Virginia and D.C tourism boards for making our trip so wonderful. I had the best time and met some amazing people. I’d love to return one day and spend more time there but for now, I hope you’ve enjoyed the post and I hope it’s inspired you to book your tickets! Let me know if you have any questions regarding the trip or things to do whilst there and I’ll be sure to get back to you. In the mean time head over to my Youtube to watch the travel blog and check out my Instagram where I’ll continue to share images from the trip. Big love for stopping by once again. Be back soon!