I love a good parade. This Saturday, Old Town Alexandria hosted its annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, and we were there for the step off.
The about-30-minute drive from Vienna to Old Town isn’t too bad on a weekend. Lots of construction to view out the window as you drive along the Beltway. It’s worth piling the kiddie in the car, though, because Old Town has a mix of art, food, cobblestone streets and festivals to make you feel like you’re doing something cultural, even if you’re just standing on the side of the road watching dogs dressed up in costumes trot down the street (see left).
Why my affinity for St. Patrick’s Day? Growing up on Long Island, I was in the high school marching band. I actually led the high school marching band. And each year my band would march the 80-block route in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Watching revelers sing, “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” while I stepped with a band of over a hundred teenagers has made me always love this holiday. As a result, I own copious amounts of green shirts and clover paraphernalia. But I’m not Irish.
After viewing the parade on King Street, we wandered around into places like Olde Towne Gemstones (if you need a hunk of quartz, this is your place); Old Town Coffee, Tea & Spice on Union Street (tons of varieties of namesake drinks and candy!); and the Torpedo Factory (a converted torpedo factory that has three floors of art for sale, plus classes). The Torpedo Factory is a great place to take art-loving out-of-town visitors.
So while there are lots of places to go in Vienna, it’s nice that there are other locations nearby that can make for an entertaining afternoon with a soon-to-be-toddler.