Until a few weeks ago I’d never visited America. I’d swooned at it from afar on just about every TV show and film imaginable and had always imagined hailing down a yellow taxi and speaking the words “how many blocks is it?”, but these little trotters had never hit American soil.
I was beginning my US trip with a group of Insta ladies before meeting my boyfriend and his family for a few weeks and then finishing my trip in Cuba with two of my best girls. Kicking off the trip with a group of strangers was a nervy one for me both because I was to be travelling with a group of people I’d never met before which, I think, is terrifying for anyone, but because of the looming possibility of a bout of travel anxiety. I knew things had the potential to go one way or another. A panic attack in front of six poor unsuspecting souls? Far from a comforting prospects.
As soon as I arrived and met the rest of the group my anxiety level melted away immediately. (praise.the.lord). My first impressions of everyone was as good as I could have hoped and I think everyone being in the same situation makes the ‘bonding’ process so much easier. The glass of wine we had in our hands after approximately 30 minutes helped too…
8 and a half hours later, six sleepy little sausages landed on American soil. The sleepiness may have been caused by the amount of red wine and prosecco consumed whilst tens of thousands of feet in the air OR by the jet lag. We’ll let that one remain a mystery for now I think…
We landed in Washington Dulles at around 8pm and hopped in a car to our first hotel which was just a 20 minute drive away in Alexandria, Virginia. Some of the group headed for a bite at the restaurant, but with it being 2am UK time, my head hit the pillow like a sack of… bricks 👼🏼
The next morning we were finally able to have a proper look around the hotel and Alexandria. We were staying in The Alexandrian; a hotel set in a building that dates back to the Civil War, and as a hotel has hosted notable guests such as George Washington you’d be hard pushed to find another space like this to rest your head that’ll really get you into the vibe of this gorgeous historical city.
This cute little building is called ‘spite house’ – it was built in 1830 by John Hollensbury as he wanted to keep loiterers out of his alleyway (hence the name!). It’s a dinky 7 feet wide and is the most narrow house in America!
Exploring Alexandria’ streets felt like I was stepping into an olde American cliché. For anyone that’s ever watched ‘Gilmore Girls’, we were essentially in ‘Stars Hollow’. It was actually recently voted as one of the South’s Prettiest cities which comes as absolutely no surprise. Gorgeous cobbled roads and pristine houses with boldly coloured doors, winter wreaths and the obligatory swaying American flag hanging triumphantly above the front door. One of the most gorgeous streets we visited was Captains Row – be sure to pay it a visit if you’re in the city!
After a brief explore of the area we stopped for breakfast at Hummingbird; a minimalist, scandi-style restaurant near the waterfront (with big glass windows to take in the views). With a day packed full to the brim with things to do and see, we all devoured pretty hearty breakfasts and a whole lotta coffee (the whole black coffee constant refill thing isn’t just for films, I’ll have you know). There was not a single complaint about our meal here and the french toast was the sort of dish that I got a little bit teary about when it was over.
After breakfast we hopped on the Metro Rosslyn to visit The Observation Deck for a skyline view of Virginia and all the way over to DC. It was created as a bi-product of a new office block that was opened; they realised that the top floor had views that was deserving of the eyes of the public and they therefore opened it up a few months back. It’s also the highest building in Alexandria and DC as DC has a law that no building can be taller than the Washington Monument, but technically The Observation Deck is over the river. Did someone say ‘loophole’? Definitely a place worth visiting for incredible views over key landmarks such as those in the National Mall.
Our final stop on our sightseeing tour took us to the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum… My most favourite sort of place to visit!
This historic apothecary was established in 1792, selling his remedies to the the city and beyond, including to the likes of Martha Washington! At the turn of the century, however, it was hit by growing commercial pharmacies and synthetic drug companies, as well as the downturn in the economy and declared bankruptcy in 1933.
After the closure, Alexandria’s citizens came together to purchase the building and all of its belongings and re-opened the store as a museum (I’m not crying, you’re crying). The museum has maintained the building exactly as it was, including floors, doors, desks, bottles and even the contents of them too. The tour didn’t take too long, however you ca stick around afterwards if you want to carry on exploring the nooks and crannies and ogle over the age old bottles (I was so, totally, utterly in awe!). Please pay this place a visit if you’re in reaching distance!
I admit that I wouldn’t have considering visiting Alexandria if I wasn’t be whisked off there, but I can’t tell you how much this city totally and utterly blew me away. So much picturesque history to be seen and experienced. Absolutely a trip that will remain a treasured memory for a long time to come!
Leave me a comment if you have any questions or if you’re planning a visit to Alexandria yourself! xx
*My trip to Alexandria was complimentary, however all views are my own.