Spring gets into full swing in Alexandria this month, and there are dozens of events around the city to get you out of the house.
April events in Alexandria:
- Outdoor cello concert: Listen to cellist Amit Peled at The Rectory in Old Town on April 7 (Thursday), from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 apiece for adults and $25 for children
- Book signing at Alexandria Visitor Center: Meet John Adam Wasowicz, the Author of the Old Town Mysteries, Daingerfield Island, Jones Point, Slaters Land and Roaches Run. Two book signings will be held on April9 and 10 (Saturday and Sunday) from 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Easter Egg Hunt with the Old Town Business Association: On April 9 (Saturday) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Historic event at Carlyle House: On April 9 (Saturday), learn from costumed interpreters about how Major General Edward Braddock, Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty’s Forces in North America, landed in Alexandria in 1775. Tickets are free, and the event is from 12 to 4 p.m.
- Cherry Blossom Jubilee: On Sunday (April 10), enjoy live performance by taiko drum group Nen Daiko on the waterfront side of the Art Center, followed by an Art Center-wide exhibition of cherry blossom-inspired works by resident artists and galleries
- Outdoor vocal recital: On Thursday (April 14), Mexican soprano Judy Yannini makes her Secret Garden debut in a program of selections from vibrant zarzuelas to beloved operas, from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 apiece for adults and $25 for children
- Easter Egg Hunt at Lee-Fendall House: On April 16 and 17 (Saturday and Sunday), there will be Easter egg hunts at the historic property, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for children ages 2 to 12, $5 for accompanying adults
- Outdoor bluegrass concert: On April 21 (Thursday), listen to father-son team Ken & Brad Kolodner, from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 apiece for adults and $25 for children
- Advance screening of ‘TRASHY: a zero waste film’: The feature documentary follows its director as she tries not to throw anything away over the course of a year. The free screening at the Torpedo Factory Art Center starts at 6 p.m.
- 89th Annual Old Town Alexandria Homes & Garden Tour: The long cherished event will be held on April 23 (Saturday), from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets cost $55 apiece if bought online and $65 at the Alexandria Visitor Center to tour the Carlyle House, Lee-Fendall House, River Farm, Gunston Hall, Mount Vernon and Green Spring Gardens
- Alexandria Symphony Orchestra performance: The ASO will perform the music of Barber and Brahms at its April 23 (Saturday) concert. The event is from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. and costs $20-$85 for adults, $5 for children and $15 for students
- Rocklands BBQ meat and greet party: The April 23 (Saturday) event features School of Rock performances and local vendors
- Soul Food Saturday: On April 23 (Saturday), explore the contributions of African American innovation and tradition to American cuisine with a unique walking tour around Old Town. The event is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and tickets cost $95 apiece
- Earth Day tree planting: Join the Alexandria City Council on April 23 (Saturday) for a tree planting on Earth Day in Old Town, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
- History discussion on African American housing crisis in Alexandria: On April 28 (Thursday), Dr. Krystyn Moon will examine how segregationist practices impaired Alexandria’s African American residents. The event is virtual
- Old Town Alexandria Fine Art And Design Festival: On Saturday (April 30), more than 100 artisans, crafters, independent consultants and other local small businesses in John Carlyle Square
During the Civil War, the former home of Revolutionary War hero Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee was converted into a hospital for wounded Union soldiers. On Saturday (March 19), the Lee-Fendall House will briefly be converted into a hospital with living history reenactors.
The home of the former Virginia governor, and father of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, was also the site of the first-known successful blood transfusion.
The event is one of the following historical discussions taking place at the Lee-Fendall House this month:
- Friday, March 18 — Historian Dianne Murphy will conduct a lecture on the Civil War’s impact on modern medicine at 6 p.m.
- Saturday, March 19 — The living history event will be conducted from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Friday, March 25 — Historian Amanda Roper will conduct a lecture on “The Fight for Freedom at L’Ouverture Hospital” at 6 p.m. The hospital was where United States Colored Troops and African American civilians were treated during the war in Alexandria
The events cost $10 for adults and $5 for students ages 17 and under.
GW Parkway to go on road diet next month — “The restriping program will alter lane configurations in an effort to make the Parkway safer for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. The NPS will restripe the road between the City of Alexandria and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate to create just one southbound lane instead of two, a turning lane and two northbound lanes between Stratford Lane (near Mount Vernon Estate) and Tulane Drive (just south of Belle View).” [Alexandria Living]
Couple donate Edward R. Murrow World War II microphone to National Press Club — “Casey Murrow’s father, broadcaster Edwin R. Murrow, used this microphone for his legendary radio broadcasts from London rooftops to describe live Germany air raids during World War II.” [Gazette]
Rental arrears up in Alexandria — “More than 1 out of every 10 Alexandria rental households are behind on rents as of early August, according to a new analysis.” [Patch]
Lee-Fendall House chronicles the history of the cocktail — “The Lee-Fendall House Museum celebrated the origins and history of the humble yet mighty cocktail in a fun event over the weekend called Cocktail Chronicles, focusing on the Golden Era of the Cocktail, 1860s-1920s. The event included a silent auction of an important photograph of the home’s previous owners, to add to the fundraising efforts to rebuild the crumbled brick wall on the property.” [Zebra]
Today’s weather — “Mostly sunny skies. High 81F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph… Mostly clear (in the evening). Low 62F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New job: Entry-Level Maintenance Technician (Oil, Tire & Lube) $3,000 Sign on Bonus — “The Mechanic C is an entry level position with the Hertz Corporation and is the launching point for our maintenance team. In this role you will be performing preventative maintenance, with a focus on Oil and Tire Changes. Must be a quick learner, and have an assortment of tools, including oil filter wrenches, socket set, and a toolbox to keep them in.” [Indeed]
What an unexpectedly busy summer week in Alexandria. Here’s the rundown.
Our top story was on an Alexandria woman who claims she was roofied at a restaurant on the waterfront on the evening of July 9. A police report has been filed, and no charges have been made.
This week we sat down with acting Police Chief Don Hayes, who said that he’s thrown his hat in the ring with City Manager Mark Jinks to keep the top job. Hayes, a 40-year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department took over after the sudden departure of Chief Michael Brown last month, and will have to contend against candidates in a national search.
The Tokyo Olympics also start this week, and the games will include three T.C. Williams High School graduates — sprinter Noah Lyles, high-jumper Tynita Butts-Townsend and boxer Troy Isley. In fact, Lyles just had a comic book biography published in the Washington Post. If you’re a fan of the Olympic games, check out this list of local restaurants celebrating with special events and meals.
- Pot enthusiasts quiet in early days of legalization in Alexandria
- Alexandria sees 90 COVID cases in July, another death
- Local historians profile former slave in Alexandria who struggled to rescue his family
- Alexandria man caught with gun at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport checkpoint
- New Potomac Yard luxury condo community sells 30% of properties before construction starts
- Testing for Alexandria’s controversial stream restoration work starts next week
- Two years after massive flooding, city moves forward with Holmes Run trail restoration
- Del Ray licensed family counselor completely booked since launching in May
- Alexandria businesses advised to sharpen e-commerce as consumer patterns evolve
- Alexandria swimming pools operating with reduced hours, residents signing waitlists with capacity overload
- Without annual music festival, Del Ray is celebrating with a bar crawl
- Del Ray affordable housing completes long-awaited overhaul
- Woman claims she was roofied at Old Town restaurant
- Residents protest against conditions at West End apartment complex
- Developers eye Beauregard redevelopment with West End upgrades on the horizon
- Former chef at ‘The Alexandrian’ opening new restaurant in Arlandria on Monday
- No injuries after shots fired in Braddock area on Wednesday
- DASH takes lessons from D.C., Baltimore and Oregon in eliminating bus fares
- ‘Call Your Mother Deli’ signs lease in Old Town
- After last month’s Democratic primary, Republican Darryl Nirenberg tops campaign donation leaderboard
- New city health improvement plan aims to fix inequities
- Poll: Have you been to the Winkler Botanical Preserve?
- Lee-Fendall House to throw speakeasy party to finance building repairs
Have a safe weekend!
Look, don’t go around telling people we told you this, but there’s going to be a little booze and a little dancing at the Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden in September.
The museum is hosting a “secret” speakeasy fundraiser that both pays homage to Old Town’s bootlegging legacy and will help raise money to support the rebuild of a collapsed historic wall on the property.
“The 20s are back in a big way!” the museum said on the event page. “Please join the friends, board, and staff of the Lee-Fendall House Museum in our historic garden on Saturday, September 25th for Sips & Secrets: A Speakeasy Night.”
The home was once owned by a liquor wholesaler, though the museum admitted the connection to Prohibition-era bootlegging is more tenuous.
“Sips & Secrets honors Lee-Fendall House’s Prohibition-era history, when we were home to one of Alexandria’s liquor wholesalers (and possible bootleggers!),” the museum said. “It features lots of fun speakeasy surprises, including dancing to live jazz and ragtime, and costume contest for the best flapper or mobster style, 1920s-style cocktails, and more. This year, the event will raise funds for the repair of our 220-year-old brick garden wall, of which a 70-foot section collapsed in early summer, while also supporting the museum’s ongoing work in historic preservation, education, and community engagement.”
General admission is $85, or $65 for anyone 30 and under. A private reception before the event is VIP only, with tickets priced at $115.
The museum also previously launched a GoFundMe to help pay for repairs to the wall. The repairs are made more expensive for the need to hire technical and historic expertise to utilize the original bricks. The GoFundMe has raised $6,700.
What was an intense week in Alexandria. Here is the rundown.
History was made, as the new marquees at Alexandria City High School and Naomi L. Brooks Elementary Schools were unveiled this week, and the name changes to T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School will go into effect July 1. It’s a victory for civil rights, as the namesakes of both old schools had backgrounds steeped in racism. Maury was a Confederate leader and Williams was an ACPS superintendent who worked intently against racial integration.
City Manager Mark Jinks on Tuesday also announced his intention to retire at the end of the year. Jinks, who made the announcement to City Council, hinted to ALXnow last month that he was seeking retirement. Today (Friday, June 25) is also the last day for retiring Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown, who will be moving to the West Coast to deal with family matters. Assistant Chief Don Hayes is taking over as acting chief until a national search narrows down a preferred candidate for the job.
Law enforcement events also dominated this week’s coverage. On Tuesday, first responders saved a woman experiencing a mental health crisis who was dangling perilously off the Monroe Avenue Bridge, followed by news Wednesday that a suspect was arrested for a West End murder along with 16 others in a massive racketeering conspiracy. On Thursday, a barricade situation in the West End ended peacefully.
In this week’s poll, when asked whether transit improvements would make residents more likely to take the bus, 48% said they don’t take the bus often and won’t likely change their habits; 38% said they don’t often take the bus, although transit improvements might change that; and 14% said that they already frequent the Metro and DASH bus systems.
- After dual election losses, Mark Levine says he’s deciding his next move
- T.C. Williams High School track stars win big at state championships
- Lee-Fendall House raises over $5,000 to repair collapsed 200-year-old wall
- After more delays, Halal slaughterhouse owner now says he will open in July
- Alexandria songwriter Mia Humphrey wants to take you on an emotional journey
- Old Town and Del Ray business rivals battle for supremacy in softball game
- Alexandria City Public Schools scraps recreation center classroom plans
- Parker-Gray tiny lot home moves forward with some unique challenges
- Researchers call out shoddy craftsmanship in buried 18th century Alexandria ship
- Alexandria woman dies after veering off road on Interstate 95
- Man suspected of raping 12-year-old stepdaughter in Landmark area flees to El Salvador
- JUST IN: Thieves break into more than 60 vehicles in West End
- JUST IN: Rarity as American Viper Rattlesnake found in Old Town
- Massive redevelopment of West End apartment building has neighbors worried about street parking impact
- UPDATE: Alexandria first responders save suicidal woman on Monroe Avenue Bridge
- City Council emphasizes marketing funding for Alexandria’s ‘Hot Girl Summer’
- Mother and boyfriend allegedly beaten by knife-wielding ex in Old Town North
- With eviction moratorium expiring, city pushes renters and landlords toward rental assistance
- Shortened Alexandria Birthday celebration is still on for July 10
- BREAKING: California man arrested for West End murder, indicted with 16 others in massive racketeering conspiracy
Have a safe weekend!
The garden wall of the historic Lee-Fendall House (614 Oronoco Street) in Old Town took a beating earlier this week, but support from the local community has helped put the wall on the road to repair.
A few days after announcing that a significant portion of the home’s wall had collapsed, the home has raised $5,005 to help boost repair efforts.
“On Saturday, June 12, 2021, a 70-foot portion of the original brick wall surrounding Lee-Fendall’s historic garden collapsed,” the museum said on its fundraising page. “Originally built of hand-formed brick in a Flemish bond pattern over a fieldstone foundation and likely constructed by enslaved workers, the wall dates to around the year 1800 and has been an integral part of our historic fabric. It post-dates the construction of our house by only about 15 years and tells an important part of Lee-Fendall’s story and of Alexandria’s.”
The museum raised $1,000 in the first day of the fundraiser. The Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden has set a goal of $125,000 for the fundraiser, the estimated full-cost for the repair effort. The wall repair is particularly difficult due to the need to have an architectural engineer help plan the repair using the original bricks.
“Museum staff are working closely with Alexandria’s Board of Architectural Review and with local firms specializing in historic masonry preservation on a multi-phase plan to repair the wall,” the museum said. “This will be a major project for the museum, costing over $125,000 in full. Our first and immediate need is for $14,000 in funding to cover the cost of working with an architectural engineer on a plan for the repair which uses the original bricks.”
It’s been a tough week at Lee-Fendall, with the collapse of 70 feet of our c.1800 garden wall – but we are so encouraged by the wonderful support and generosity of the Alexandria community. https://t.co/b9mmqIUieZ pic.twitter.com/WBLmeB97Bx
— Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden (@leefendallhouse) June 23, 2021
220-year-old garden wall at Lee-Fendall House collapses — “About 69 tons of 220-year-old bricks are lying in a pile behind the Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden after the property’s thick, historic garden wall collapsed following a torrential downpour earlier this month. This weekend, volunteers carefully moved bricks to make space for a temporary, protective wall around the rubble — and launched a fundraising campaign for the $125,000 or more it will take to rebuild the historic structure.” [Alexandria Living]
Retiring police chief to be recognized by City Council Tuesday — Retiring Police Chief Michael Brown will be recognized Tuesday by City Council, and the city proclamation says that Brown has “dutifully served for four-and one-half years.” [ALXnow]
School Board resumes in-person meetings — “Beginning Thursday, June 17, 2021, School Board Meetings will be held in person and up to 20 members of the public may attend. (This will allow for 6-foot distancing between seats.) Please note: all those in attendance must wear a mask. Please contact the Clerk of the School Board for more information at 703-619-8316 or via email at [email protected]” [ACPS]
Fire Station 203 reopens — “The City has officially completed the new Station 203.The up-to-date facility provides better support for modern fire/EMS apparatus, equipment and operations.” [Twitter]
Today’s weather — “Partly cloudy (during the day). Hot. High 94F. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph.. Chance of an isolated thunderstorm in the evening, then variable clouds overnight with more showers at times. Low 72F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.” [Weather.com]
New job: Tennis coach — “At Advantage Tennis we are looking for coaches/teachers who like working with all ages, and particularly children, for part-time and seasonal positions. These are hourly positions with potentially as much as 20-35 hours per week in the 3 busy seasons (about 9 months), at multiple locations.” [Indeed]
With the approach of the yuletide season, the Lee-Fendall House (614 Oronoco Street) in Alexandria has decked out the home in full 19th century regalia for candlelight tours.
“Celebrate the holiday season with evening candlelight tours of the Lee-Fendall House decked out in Victorian splendor,” the Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden said on Facebook. “Our antique toy exhibit will also be on view.”
The home was originally built in 1785 on land purchased by Major General Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee.
The tours are offered every half hour starting at 5 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. The museum warned that space is limited and reservations will be required. Face masks and social distancing will also be required for tours.
Tickets for the holiday tours are $8 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-13.
Photo via Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden
Beyer Says Trump Should Not Reject Strict FDA Guidelines for COVID Vaccines — “Political interference with vaccine development and an open feud with FDA can only further damage the public’s already growing safety concerns. Once again, lives may depend on Trump shutting his mouth and letting scientists do their jobs.” [Twitter]
Pizzeria Paradiso Closing in Old Town — “Like many restaurants in Old Town, Pizzeria Paradiso closed when the coronavirus pandemic reached Alexandria. Unfortunately, the beloved pizza restaurant will not be reopening, the owner announced this week.” [Alexandria Living]
Carlyle Farmers’ Market Today from 3-7 P.M. — “Free to the Public; Produce, Meats, Food, and Beverage sales are welcomed. What to Bring? Face Mask and your Social Distancing Etiquette.” [Facebook]
Lee-Fendall House Hosting Virtual Speakeasy Fundraiser — “Enjoy a night of speakeasy-style fun , without leaving your living room! Join us for this special night to support the Lee-Fendall House Museum’s vital work in historic preservation and education – one where you can keep on dancing, break out the booze, and have a ball.” [Visit Alexandria]
Alexandria Sheriff’s Deputy Reads ‘Lost And Found’ — “Chief Deputy Candra Callicott offers her encouragement to young students and the sweet story “Lost and Found” about a boy and a penguin.” [Facebook]
Alexandria Country Day School Hosting Virtual Open House — “ACDS’s small-size and ability to adapt quickly allowed us to open in September with in-person learning under a hybrid model. Join our Head of School, Division Heads, current parents and middle school students to learn more about our student-centered program.” [Patch]
Free Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinic on Saturday — “This clinic will be open to adults and adolescents age 12 and over, with a maximum of four people per vehicle.” [City of Alexandria]
Today’s Weather — “Overcast (during the day). High 74F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.Rain showers in the evening will evolve into a more steady rain overnight. Low 63F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 70%.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Alexandria Assistant City Manager for Public Private Partnerships — “As a member of the City Manager’s Senior Leadership Team, the Assistant City Manager for Public Private Partnerships reports to the City Manager and a Deputy City Manager and is responsible for leading the overall public private partnership (P3) initiatives for the City primarily via capital project planning and financing, leveraging of City assets and resources to implement City infrastructure and facilities, economic development related public sector and private sector projects, as well as facilitating the development and implementation of alternative service delivery strategies.” [Indeed]