Art Festival in Old Town Alexandria VA

Will and Julie at Art Festival
At the 2009 Alexandria Art Festival

This weekend Julie and I went to Old Town with the Alexandria Fun with Friends Group to enjoy the Alexandria Art Festival. The Art Festival occurs every year around this time and features artists and craftsmen from around the area.

2009 Art Festival
2009 Art Festival in Old Town Alexandria

King Street closes to vehicular traffic and artists set-up stalls in the street. It’s an easy way to enjoy lots of art from lots of folks. The weather was very co-operative, neither too hot nor too cold.

Old Town Alexandria
2009 Old Town Alexandria

This 12 foot tall image of a koi caught my eye, as did many smaller pieces.

Arts Festival in Old Town Alexandria

I found that my camera was drawn to the larger pieces, but this is probably because I knew they would photograph well. There were many smaller items for sale too. However, many of us felt that this year’s festival seemed to offer more pieces that would be welcomed in a restaurant or hotel lobby than usual and a few number of the smaller pieces that look nice in a home.


There were several musicians playing up and down the street. This harpist sang like an angel, but I have to admit that my favorite was the steel drum player.

King Street
People walking King Street during Art Festival

We walked all the way up to Washington Street before turning around and making way back to the Potomac. After some discussion the group voted to eat at the Charthouse. At the Charthouse, the ladies had a little wine and we enjoyed some relaxed conversation and then dinner. For my part, I think the food at the Charthouse is good, but not great. Even though it’s a little pricey, it’s worth it because of the pleasant views of the Potomac that are offered.


Will Nesbitt About the AuthorWill Nesbitt is the principal broker of Condo Alexandria and Nesbitt Realty. Will specializes in condos, townhouses and single family residences in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax County, Crystal City, and Kingstowne. Will resides in Belle Haven Estates just outside Alexandria VA in Fairfax County.

The Many Musicians of Old Town

If you like street music, then you’ll find no better spot to wander than Old Town Alexandria. Through-out the week, especially on weekends, musicians gather in Old Town at street corners and near the waterfront to play music for tips and applause. Most are highly talented professionals, some are learning to play their instrument in front of a crowd. I enjoy them both in different ways.

Here in Old Town Alexandria, you’ll find everything from a lonely saxophone, to steel drums to an entire band. Below I’ve collected a few photos to give you a taste of Old Town’s many musicians.


This foursome was phenomenal singing and playing old time mountain music. It was a great throwback to the Carters because the gal in the front on the guitar was a great singer. The banjo player and bass were on point, and I love the texture that the mandolin (seated behind guitar) provided.

Glass Harp

The glass harp as played by Jamie Turner is an old town treat one simply must hear in person to appreciate.


This miss not only strummed the harp to perfection but also sang beautifully.

waterfront musicans

At the waterfront behind the Torpedo Factory there are often a few soloists serving up music for passers-by.

banjo and guitar

I heard some fine picking and strumming from this pair.

Properties in Old Town Alexandria

817 Bernard St

Tall, Brick and Handsome! LIGHT, BRIGHT, CLEAN, OPEN & UPDATED Townhome in OLD TOWN! A Special combination of Features including a private deck & fenced-in backyard perfect to entertain with, lovely landscaping, an updated kitchen, 3 comfortable-size bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and its own Driveway + On-street parking. CLOSE to BRADDOCK METRO, Minutes to Airport & Pentagon. Buy with confidence! [Bashford Lane Cluster - $675,000]

1315 Wilkes St

Welcome to Majesty West! Stunning community of 22 lux new construction TH's in Old Town Alexandria w/ 2 car gar, HW flrs throughout, white Carrara marble tops w/ waterfall island, GE Monogram SS appliances, 100% Energy Star cert home, soft close maple cabinetry, Kohler sinks, Moen faucets, 9' ceilings & open loft top level w/ 2 expansive rooftop terraces perfect for entertaining! [Majesty West - $1,134,000]

801 Pitt St #214

Tastefully Upgraded Studio Condo w/Balcony, Turnkey Perfection! Facing East this Gem is a Diamond in the rough! All New Appliances, Light Fixtures, Paint, Carpet & Much More! Low Condo Fee Covers All Utilities. Safe & Secure, Steps Away From Everything Old Town. Roof Top Deck has Million Dollar Views, Steps to Harris Teeter, Trader Joe's, Shops, 8 blocks to Metro, Onsite Parking, A MUST SEE! [Port Royal - $169,900]

415 Payne St S

HUGE price reduction in Majesty West! Stunning community of lux new construction TH's in Old Town Alexandria w/ 2 car garage, HW flrs throughout, white carrera marble tops w/ waterfall island, GE Monogram SS appliances, 100% Energy Star certified home, soft close maple cabinetry, Kohler sinks, Moen faucets, 9' ceilings & open loft top level w/ 2 expansive rooftop terraces perfect for entertaining! [Majesty West - $999,990]

523 Bashford Ln #2

Unique end unit condo in North end of Old Town. 2 blocks to Potomac. Commuter dream. High end updates thru-out including bellawood flooring in LR & DR. Open kitchen w/ SS Bosch appliances, maple cabinets, under cabinet lighting, recessed lighting & Turkish floor tile. Maintenance free Trex decking off DR. Renovated bath. Full sized washer & dryer. Replacement windows. 2 parking spaces. Must see. [Harbor Terrace - $365,000]

317 Fayette St S

Old Town Village. Stunning end unit townhouse in lovely courtyard. Gorgeous eat-in kitchen with stainless, granite, built-ins, wine frig. Lustrous hardwood floors on 4-levels, 2-car garage, planation shutters, gas fireplace. Cozy study and deck for grilling. Community pool & fitness center. Walk to everything Old Town has to offer...King St Metro, Whole Foods, Shops, Restaurants and Waterfront. [Old Town Village - $909,000]

328 Third St

Townhouse w/ Modern design. Lots of natural light.Dramatic 3 stories of windows. Very high ceilings and over sized windows. Wide plank hardwood floors throughout. Open kitchen has high end stainless steel appliances and marble counters. Great room walks out to peaceful and private patio. Fourth floor rec room w/ built-in wet bar & frig, opens to a balcony which ascends to the unit's roof top deck. [Printers Row - $1,149,000]


Will Nesbitt


About the AuthorWill Nesbitt is the principal broker of Condo Alexandria and Nesbitt Realty. Will specializes in condos, townhouses and single family residences in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax County, Crystal City, and Kingstowne. Will resides in Belle Haven Estates just outside Alexandria VA in Fairfax County.

Nando’s Peri Peri at National Harbor

Nando’s Peri Peri is located at 191 American Way inside National Harbor. Nando’s sells Portuguese flame-grilled chicken at affordable prices. National Harbor is undergoing construction and several new shops and dining facilities are being created. Nando’s Peri Peri meals have optional sauces with different flavors.

Farmers Market of Alexandria

Oranges And LemonsThe Nation’s oldest farmers market has been said to be the Farmer’s Market at 301 King Street, City Hall in Alexandria VA 22314. It was established in 1753.

The Farmers Market feature local produce vendors, art, handicrafts, wearable art and fresh baked goods that are offered every Saturday from 5:30 am till 10:30 am all through the year. Other vendors sell homemade ice cream, freshly made orange juice, honey comb, beeswax hand cream, scones, aromatics, quilts, dairy products, edible nasturtium blossoms, figs and so much more. Vendors are accommodating as well and offer samples of their goods.

Alexandria’s Farmers Market is situated 3 blocks away from the Potomac River.

Properties in Alexandria

Live near the The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria

The Torpedo Factory is one of the largest Art Centers in The United States

The Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria

Featuring 6 grand galleries, more than 80 studios, 2 workshops and the Alexandria Archeology Museum, The Torpedo Factory Art Center can be found in Old Town Alexandria, near Union and kings Street and the Potomac River.

Over 160 artists produce and showcase their original work in the Art Canter. One can also shop excellent quality and unique artworks, such as Paintings, Print Making, Jewelry, Ceramics, Stained Glass, Sculpture and Photography. The Art League School teaches children ages 5 years and above, as well as those at least 18 years of age for adult classes.

6 Grand Galleries of the The Torpedo Factory Art Center are are made up of :

  1. The Art League Gallery
  2. The Target Gallery
  3. Enamelists Gallery
  4. Potomac Craftsmen Fiber Gallery
  5. Multiple Exposures Gallery for photographs
  6. Scope Gallery for ceramics

Residents of Old Town Alexandria in North Virginia (which is the most sought after real estate) have access to The Torpedo Factory Art Center, The Lyceum and other shops and restaurants, all connected by King St. Trolley to the Washington Metro. Luxury condos surrounded by a central courtyard can be found at the Torpedo Factory Condominium Complex just right across the The Torpedo Factory Art Center.

Old Town Alexandria’s Waterfront

waterfront in Old Town
Old Town waterfront









Alexandria’s history as a colonial seaport is well-known in the area, and is one of the reasons that this city to calls to visitors from around the country and around the world. Alexandria’s seaport was once a bustling place of industry and commerce, but the cargo ships and packets from foreign seas are long gone now. Today, Alexandria’s waterfront is geared more toward the pleasant than the practical.

Where the Water Meets the the Road

At the end of King St. where the road meets the water, there are brick walkways and wooden decks. Plenty of benches and gazebos are there and in the evenings this is a place to find street musicians and other performers practicing their craft before wandering walkers .

In the left side of this picture is the Torpedo Factory, an Alexandria landmark. The Torpedo Factory was what the name implies: an edifice dedicated to the construction of naval weapons of war. But as the industry’s needs grew beyond the space here on the Alexandria waterfront, the building was repurposed as an art and crafts center. The building now houses a good many artists is is a wonderful place for tourists and residents alike to visit.

The Torpedo Factory

The Torpedo Factory and the waterfront are very close to the Torpedo Factory condos—high end condos in Old Town. For a list of prices and to check the availability of condos click the Torpedo Factory Condos. If you’re interested in searching condos, townhouses and houses around Old Town you might find this post useful.

trolley at King Street
King Street Trolley

Metro Access

Among other things, the waterfront at Alexandria is nice because it’s metro accessible. Simply take the Metro to King St. Station and then ride the free trolley to the Waterfront. The trolley is a service of the City of Alexandria for visitors and residents. It’s a fun and easy way to make your way across Old Town.

Nearby Parks and Trails


Waterfront Park in Old Town
Waterfront Park on the Potomac in Old Town

Parks and paths line the waterfront these days. It’s the perfect place for a walk on a Spring day.

park on Potomac River
Park along the Potomac in Alexandria VA

Benches are found at just the right places. These photos were taking on a weekday morning, but in the afternoons and evenings the waterfront wakes up. Tourists, joggers and walkers share this open public space.

For more information or to set up an appointment call Stuart at (703)765-0300.

Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association — Old Town’s Atheanaeum

Located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, The Athenaeum is home to the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association (NVFAA). Constructed between 1851-52, the Athenaeum is a Greek revival building with a rich history. The building is named after the Greek Goddess of wisdom, Athena. Over the years The Athenaeum has taken many names and was used for many functions. Together with the Lyceum, the Athenaeum is a foundation of Alexandria’s Greek neo-classic buildings.

The building has a long history of use in Alexandria. Before the Civil War, Robert E. Lee banked here, when the building was known as the Bank of the Old Dominion. During the Civil War it was occupied by Federals and home to the Union Army Commissary Headquarters. In 1905, the bank was converted from commercial to industrial purposes. The building was used by the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Shop as a place to grind talcum into powder. In 1925, the talcum factory became the Free Methodist Church.

NVFAA purchased the Athenaeum in 1964. Since then, restorations have taken place using the funds from the members of the NVFAA and the National Park Service Save America’s Treasure Grant.

Recent art exhibits include Song For Europe by Mark Cameron Boyd is participatory installation using his signature “text bisection” process on a series of chalkboards to address four different languages from European origin such as Greek, Latin, French, and English. This exhibit is on display from August 16th – September 21st.

Music is another art form featured at The Athenaeum.

Yoga classes are available at The Athenaeum. Instructor Betsy Huffman welcomes drop-ins. Class fees are only $18 per class. Classes are Mondays 11:30am

The Athenaeum is available for rentals for weddings, receptions, parties, business meetings and seminars.

Gallery Hours:
Thursday, Friday, & Sunday: Noon-4pm
Saturday 1pm-4pm

The Athenaeum
201 Prince St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 548-0035

For more information or to set up an appointment call Julie at (703)765-0300.

The Torpedo Factory Art Center

Located on the Waterfront of Historic Old Town Alexandria, the Torpedo Factory Art Center is a great place for art lovers and tourists alike. The center is stocked

A Penthouse unit from the Torpedo Factory

with pieces ranging from “The Nest Project” to at “Fiberworks” Gallery. The museum has over 500,000 visitors annually and has over 82 artist studios, six galleries, two workshops, and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. The center also houses over 165 visual artists who produce artwork ranging from painting to stained glass. The Torpedo Factory is located at 105 N. Union Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. (703) 838-4565.

Across the street from the Torpedo Factory Art Center is the Torpedo Factory Condominiums, a collection of apartment and townhouse-style condos at the heart of Old Town’s most desirable waterfront locations.

Condos for sale at the Torpedo Factory

Properties in Torpedo Factory

The Gunston Community Center

Gunston Community Center
2700 S. Lang Street
Arlington VA 22206
Contact Number: 703 228 6980

The Gunston Community Center offers recreational, educational and social activities for the community users through their well equipped facilities:

  • Multi-purpose Room
  • 3 Meeting Rooms
  • Game Room
  • Art Studios
  • Playgrounds
  • Gymnasium
  • Basketball Courts
  • Outdoor Tennis Courts
  • Fitness Room
  • Baseball and Softball Diamond
  • Soccer Fields
  • Picnic Area

The Gunston Community Center highlights their well furnished fitness room that was included during the 2002 renovation.

Some Programs Offered:

  • Badminton
  • Table Tennis
  • Basketball
  • Pre School

The Gunston Community Center hours:
Monday to Friday: 2pm to 9pm
Saturday: 9am to 4:30pm
Sunday: Closed

The Arlington Mill Community Center and Senior Center

The Arlington Mill Community Center and Senior Center offers a variety of educational and recreational activities suitable for both young and old while promoting social interaction within the community. While the community center is currently closed for extensive renovations till 2013, the Arlington Mill Community Center and Senior Center is working towards providing its community with better facilities and with a larger program of activities to engage more residents.

Facilities at the Arlington Mill Community Center and Senior Center: Arlington Mill Community Center

  • Gymnasium
  • Changing Rooms
  • 3 Multi-purpose Rooms
  • Meeting Rooms
  • Game Room
  • Arts Studio
  • Computer Room
  • Children’s Playground
  • Basketball Court
  • Library
  • 2 Classrooms for Programs
  • Public Health Outreach Room
  • Teen Lounge
  • Senior Lounge
  • Work Area
  • Storage

Educational Programs to be offered at the Arlington Mill Community Center and Senior Center:
• Computer Classes
• Language Classes
• Citizenship Classes
• Health Education
• Immunization
• Nutrition Education
• Parenting Classes
• Early Child Development
• Pre-School
• Elementary after School

The renovated Arlington Mill Community Center and Senior Center will also be adding a plaza that will be used as an outdoor classroom or meeting room where community events can also be held such as art shows and farmers markets, pedestrian connections and a loading dock. The new 2 building community center is also expected to house 192 rental units upper floors, with 61 of them as affordable housing units on the at the back, retail stores and a 2 level underground parking for residents and center users.

Arlington Mill Community Center and Senior Center
4975 Columbia Pike
Arlington VA 22204
Contact Number: 703 228 7790