Archive for March 2017

Spring 2017 Events in Old Town Alexandria

Everyone knows Old Town as the place in Alexandria where American history and modern culture collide. It’s easy to find a chic new outfit or dine at an exciting restaurant off the banks of the Potomac River. As the weather gets warmer, the community and its local organizations will be holding some great tours, markets, and exhibits for the whole family.

Old Town Farmers Market

The Farmers Market at Market Square in Alexandria is one of the oldest continually-operating markets in the country. You can buy fresh fish, fruits, vegetables, snacks, and other goods from local farmers, growers, and artists. The market runs every Saturday from 7:00 AM until 12 noon at 301 King Street.

Civil War Sundays

Beginning on March 30, the Alexandria Archaeology Museum is sponsoring an ongoing showcase of events centered on a New York Tribune issue from 1861 reporting the death of Colonel Elmer Ellsworth. This series taking place every Sunday from 1 to 5 PM includes a diorama of a Civil War-era heating system, a loaded musket, and a diorama illustrating the circumstances of the colonel’s death.

Firefighting History Walking Tour

On April 22 from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM you can trace the history of Alexandria and fires starting with a visit to the Friendship Firehouse Museum. The tour will cover how volunteer firefighters worked in early Alexandria, the city’s first five firefighting companies, and the devastating fires here, including one in 1827 that destroyed 53 buildings.

Choosing a hotel near Old Town Alexandria

Besides the attractions in Old Town itself, there are lots of things to do in neighboring Washington, D.C. Whether you plan on visiting the District or Alexandria, you should book a high-quality hotel near Old Town for your stay. With its free metro shuttle, affordable pricing, and guest amenities like a free hot breakfast, the Holiday Inn Express Alexandria – Fort Belvoir is an outstanding choice for travel to the D.C. region this spring.

2017 Washington Nationals Season Preview

Now that spring’s warmer temperatures will soon be here for good, baseball season is just around the corner. Despite a ho-hum 10-11 record in MLB Spring Training, sports fans in D.C. are hopeful the team can make this the year the Nats’ young sluggers finally take them past the first round of the playoffs.

How did the Nats do last year?

The Nationals had a great regular season in 2016, finishing with a 95-67 record that was second in the league to only the Cubs, who went on to win the World Series. Outfielder Bryce Harper, the MLB’s 2015 MVP, finished the season strong with 24 home runs and 86 RBI. Second baseman Daniel Murphy, who finished second in last year’s MVP race with a phenomenal .347 batting average, ended the season with 25 home runs and 104 RBI.

Despite a successful regular season, the Nationals were eliminated by the Dodgers in the 2016 NLDS. Here’s a preview of some of this year’s biggest upcoming home games and a few other things to do around the stadium in the Navy Yard/Southwest Waterfront area.

Exciting early-season home series

  • Monday, April 10 – Wednesday, April 12 – St. Louis Cardinals
  • Friday, April 28 – Sunday, April 30 – New York Mets
  • Monday, May 8 – Thursday, May 11 – Baltimore Orioles

Other attractions around Nationals Stadium

The Southwest/Navy Yard area of D.C. is one of its trendy, up-and-coming areas. Here are a few places to hang out before or after a game:

  • The Bullpen at Half Street Fairgrounds – this open air plaza of shipping containers, food trucks and lawn games is a popular tailgating destination. The land it sits on was purchased in 2015 and may be re-developed soon, so visit while the Bullpen is still around.
  • Gordon Biersch – a popular burger chain with an assortment of beers brewed on-site as well as upscale American pub fare.
  • Bluejacket – one of D.C.’s biggest local breweries has a pub and tasting room with great pretzels, salads and charcuterie.

Finding a hotel for a Nationals Game

Those traveling to the area to catch the Nationals play should find a hotel that suits all their needs. With a free shuttle to the metro into D.C., easy access to other top sights around the city, and comfortable rooms at affordable prices, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir is a perfect home base for any baseball fan this spring and summer.

2017 D.C. Cherry Blossoms and Festival: A Roller Coaster Weather Ride

In the D.C. region, spring is synonymous with cherry blossoms. The light-pink flowers that bloom on the Yoshino cherry trees around the National Basin are one of the region’s most popular attractions.

Unfortunately, recent winter weather and snow in the region means peak bloom has been pushed back from its original forecasted date of March 14 to 17. On Friday, March 17, the NPS announced that about 50% of the cherry blossoms had been destroyed due to frost and cold.

What’s going on with the cherry blossoms?

Warm temperatures throughout February led experts to believe the blossoms would hit peak bloom early. On March 1, The National Park Service’s initial forecast for peak bloom was between March 14 and March 17.

But after significant snowfall and temperatures in the 20s last week, the NPS has revised their peak bloom forecast to March 19 through the 22nd. It was expected that up to 90% of the blooms could be destroyed, but only about half were ruined from the cold. However, more cold nights are forecasted for this week, which could lead to further damage.

It’s now projected that peak bloom will happen some time at the end of this week and last through this weekend. The NPS still projects an excellent showing; the blossoms that survived should be normal and healthy. No matter what peak bloom is like this year, the opening ceremony of the 2017 Cherry Blossom Festival will kick off this Saturday, March 25.

2017 Cherry Blossom Festival and other events in D.C.

  • Blossoms Kite Festival – April 1, 10 AM to 4:30 PM. Spring is synonymous with kites – head to the Washington Monument near 17th St. NW & Constitution Ave to kick off flying season in grand fashion. Feel free to bring your own kite or create one with on-site supplies (while they last) and join enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds as they fill the sky with colorful kites.
  • National Cherry Blossom Parade – April 8, 10 AM to 12:00 PM. The parade is the crown jewel of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. It runs for 10 blocks from 7th to 17th streets along Constitution Avenue NW and will include marching bands, giant helium balloons, floats, and performers from across the country. Tickets are $20 for grandstand seating along Constitution.
  • Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival – April 15, 2 PM to 9:30 PM. This exciting festival at the District Wharf at 600 Water Street, SW will include live bands, a beer garden, food trucks, and activities for all ages. If the weather is acceptable, there will be a fireworks display at 8:30 PM.

 

Check out the festival website for more information. If you’re traveling to the D.C. region to see the cherry blossoms and need a hotel, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir is the perfect option. With a complimentary shuttle to the metro, easy access to D.C. and Old Town Alexandria, and competitive nightly rates, the Holiday Inn Express is a comfortable, convenient option for those visiting D.C. this spring.