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Ask McEnearney: What makes Alexandria such a desirable place to live?

This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Lisa Groover of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Lisa at 703.919.4426 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: What makes Alexandria such a desirable place to live?

Answer: As a fifth grade school safety patrol from Daytona Beach, I fell in love with Alexandria when I came to Washington, D.C. to march in a parade down Constitution Avenue. Like so many other tour groups, we visited Old Town. The historic architecture, cobblestone streets, boutique shops, yummy restaurants, the location on the Potomac, along with the proximity to D.C. made a huge impact on me, so when I had the opportunity to move here… I did!  George Washington loved living here, so I knew I would too!

Now, 33 years later, as I have become increasingly involved in the community, I have experienced what really makes Alexandria so special… the events, activities, the people and organizations that help so many. Let’s take a look at what has been happening around town in the past few months.

My Favorite Old Town Events

Photo courtesy of Visit Alexandria

Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade:

We love our heritage… and thanks to the Campagna Center, the 51st Annual Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade was a big hit again this year! With its Scottish Clans, pipe and drum bands, dog groups and Santa Claus, everyone had a wonderful time.

Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade:

This year marks the 22nd Anniversary of the first Boat Parade. Over 50 boats go all out with their festive decorations as attendees cheer them (and the water skiing Santa) on!

First Night Alexandria:

First Night Alexandria is back! If you haven’t been, this amazing family friendly New Years Eve festival is a must for 2022! Terrific musical groups from all genres perform around Old Town starting at 12 p.m. and ending with the countdown and fireworks in Market Square at midnight.

My Favorite Non-profit Fundraising Events 

The 80th Annual Historic Alexandria Homes Tour:

TWIG, the Junior Auxiliary of INOVA Alexandria Hospital has been hosting this self-guided tour  of beautiful homes and gardens in Old Town since 1997, however, it was started by the hospital’s Senior Auxiliary in 1941. As a TWIG, it was my pleasure to be a docent this year in a gorgeous home that used to be a bank. I was stationed in the original vault which now hosts the stunning kitchen remodeled by the historical architect owner.

The Board of Lady Managers Annual Fashion Show:

The Board of Lady Managers is a humanitarian organization founded in 1872 to serve the unmet medical needs in Alexandria. As a fashion show guest of my friend and client for the past number of years, the 2022 Board of Lady Managers Fashion Show was my absolute favorite! I was thrilled to be seated with Sara Campbell, the designer of the gorgeous apparel featured at the show. If you haven’t been to Sara Campbell (320 Prince Street) or the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum to the exhibit “Alexandria Hospital: Women Mobilize the Community” celebrating the 150 years since the Board of Lady Managers founded a hospital in Alexandria — please do!

SCAN of Northern Virginia Gala, a Toast to Hope:

SCAN’s (Stop Child Abuse Now) annual gala, was about coming together as a community to stand up for abused, neglected and high-risk youth. It was an “incredible night of childhood magic” featuring an amazing magic show and haiku by a local poet laureate. Between the ticket sales, beer and wine raffle, the mystery wine pull, caricature drawings, tarot card readings, and donations from the floor, approximately 250 attendees raised more than $200,000 for this critical cause.

McEnearney Long Standing Holiday Traditions

John McEnearney loved supporting Hopkins House Preschool Academies and so do we! For years, Santa and the Elves have been delivering gifts to the children at Hopkins House. Each child receives wonderful gifts selected especially for them by our generous agents, staff and management team. We wouldn’t miss it!

As long time supporters of the Dunbar Alexandria-Olympic Boys & Girls Clubs, everyone at McEnearney signs up to purchase Target Gift Cards for the boys and girls of all backgrounds. There are so many ways to make a difference within this terrific organization.

And a number of my favorite events and activities in my own neighborhood of Old Town Village:

In addition to fabulous neighbors, the social and philanthropic events and activities in Old Town Village make our community a wonderful place to call home.

The 25th Anniversary Celebration of the development kicked off the season with a bang! Residents enjoyed a wonderful evening with their neighbors, friends and even members of the original board of directors that no longer live in Virginia.

As a community run by volunteers, the Annual Volunteer Recognition Event held in October was an outstanding way to thank so many residents for their participation throughout the year. Our Board of Directors and the numerous committees (activities, architectural review, communications, finance, grounds and services, hardscape, management, safety and security, welcome, and young families) are who help make the community a great place to call home.

As the chair of the Welcome Committee, I am especially fond of the Annual New Residents’ Reception. Members of our team meet with new tenants and owners to help them get settled into the neighborhood. Each year, we hold a lovely party to introduce all of the new residents, committee chairs and board members.

In addition to these terrific events, Old Town Village supports a number of non-profit organizations throughout the year. During the holidays in 2022, neighbors donated gifts to fill 75 bags for low income seniors in Alexandria, and held a party to raise funds for ALIVE!‘s many services to those in need.

In response to the original question about what makes Alexandria such a desirable place to live, there are countless reasons depending upon what you value most. Feel free to reach out to me for more information. I hope you love living here as much as I do!

Lisa Groover is a licensed real estate agent with McEnearney Associates, Inc. in Old Town Alexandria, VA. As an active member of the community since 1989, Lisa specializes in Alexandria, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work closely with her friends, neighbors, former clients and their referrals.

In addition to enjoying the Old Town lifestyle and the art related events and activities, she is a member of a number of volunteer organizations. Having had nine Golden Retrievers, she is dedicated to helping other dog owners through the challenges of renting, buying and selling their home.

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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