October 7: Alexandria, Virginia Rest Day
The weather is still overcastted and chilly, so thoughts of spending much time outside is not a popular one today. There is wash to be done, bikes to clean and stores to explore.
Alexandria sits just within the boundary of Virginia on the Potomac River overlooking DC. In the early days of this country it was a thriving shipping port where the tobacco, wheat and produce were sent back to England. It was also part of the federal district created in 1789 after the Revolutionary War and the inauguration of George Washington as the first President in NYC. This lasted only until 1847 when the people of the city grew tired of the lack of voting rights and no financial aid. They abducted and became part of the state of Virginia.
In 1861 Alexandria was seized by the Federal troops a day after Virginia voted to secede from the Union. Its immediate proximity to the Capital made it a prime spot for defense of the capital. It was occupied for over four years, the longest occupation of any town during the Civil War.
Sitting just outside the city and high on a hill overlooking the river is Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. Today a museum, it at one time was the favorite residence of our first president. He and Martha spent many years on this 45 acre estate/farm. Oddly though, while always referred to as the home of George Washington, it actually was owned by his half-brother, Lawrence and his wife Ann Fairfax of Belvoir. Guess being the first president gave you rights to sleep anywhere! The Mount Vernon Ladies Association, the first historic preservation organization, purchased the dilapidated property in 1858 for $200,000. Thank you Ladies for having the foresight to recognize a good thing when you see it!
Alexandria is also the home of the Naval Torpedo Station. From 1918 to the end of the Second World War the factory produced most if not all the torpedoes used during both world wars. For the Second WW, over 6000 workers, both men and women, kept the factory going 24 hours a day 365 days of the year and claimed their products damaged over 1400 Axis ships! Today the buildings house art studios and offices -- a nice transition of some historical places.
The city is also the home of over 50 ethnic restaurants, so finding a place for dinner tonight will not be hard other than the decision as to what ethnic cuisine should be sampled! Tomorrow it is on into Virginia, so early to bed is the norm.
Note: Sorry, no pictures today -- gloomy, and dark, so not picture worthy -- and -- shopkeepers frown on picture taking while shopping! But do have one from this evening. Seems the waiter at dinner took a liking to Frankie (Greek restaurant) -- brought her a birthday cake and sang to her -- only thought her name was Peggy!!
Hi! My Name is Peggy and It Is My Birthday!