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Explore Alexandria living in this bi-weekly column sponsored and written by Sandy McMaster of McEnearney Associates. Got a question or comment? Contact Sandy at [email protected].

Amy Rutherford’s elves have thankfully opened Pippin Toy Co. just in time. This fantastic new addition to the city is the answer to your holiday shopping prayers!

A sister store to Penny Post and Red Barn Mercantile, Pippin Toy Co. shares that special sauce that Amy’s known for. The store features a candy wall, a STEM section, a building block room, and arts and crafts. Sweet stuffies and nostalgic toys are sprinkled throughout — it seriously feels like Santa’s best work.

You can find the perfect gifts for a child’s head, hands, and heart!

The shop is located in the 1300 block of King Street and is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

We’re so happy to see this addition to the city! Happy shopping and happy holidays!

To get to know more about me and how I help people build lives they want in homes they love, follow me @SandyMcMaster on IG or visit  www.SandyMcMaster.RealEstate

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Live Alexandria: Holiday gift guide

Explore Alexandria living in this bi-weekly column sponsored and written by Sandy McMaster of McEnearney Associates. Got a question or comment? Contact Sandy at [email protected].

It’s official! The holiday shopping season is here! 

The fantastic businesses that were kind enough to help us launch this series are some of my favs — but first things first. COFFEE. Any good shopping trip in the city starts coffee at The Greenery. I highly recommend “The Stacked.” Trust me on this one — delicious.

The next stop should be Made In ALX (we have some seriously talented and creative people living among us!) If you’re looking for high-quality bespoke stocking stuffers and gifts, put MadeInALX at the top of your shopping tour.

Sending cards to special people? That will require a stop at Penny Post. And if you’re at Penny Post, you’re a half-block from Red Barn Mercantile — so of course you go! Even out-of-towners put Red Barn on their list of shops to visit!

Lastly — you have to put a little self-care into the holiday schedule. That means sitting in Angela’s chair at Salon De Zen. They’ll be sure to keep you looking snappy for all your holiday photos!

We hope you enjoy the season and all the city offers. If you see me at a boat parade or a tree lighting, please say hello!

Happy holidays!

To get to know more about me and how I help people build lives they want in homes they love, follow me @SandyMcMaster on IG or visit  www.SandyMcMaster.RealEstate

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Explore Alexandria living in this bi-weekly column sponsored and written by Sandy McMaster of McEnearney Associates. Got a question or comment? Contact Sandy at [email protected].

Thanksgiving is like the Super Bowl for foodies.

I’m always amazed by the culinary skills displayed throughout Alexandria this time of year. I’m especially grateful to Chef Adil of Ada’s on the River for joining us this week! He showcased some of their new winter menu favorites (your out-of-town guests will love them — make a reservation now.)

If you’re like me, and guests kindly ask you NOT to cook (lol), Ada’s will be happy to give you a helping hand. Order by Friday, November 17, and they’ll have your order ready!

Of course, Thanksgiving kicks off a holiday buzz in the city. If you’re interested in the fun and festive ways you can dine in December, you may want to consider breakfast with Santa! Who knows, he may even take Christmas lists.

I hope all of you enjoy great food and even better company during the Thanksgiving season. I’m grateful to everyone who’s participated in the Live Alexandria series!

To get to know more about me and how I help people build lives they want in homes they love, follow me @SandyMcMaster on IG or visit  www.SandyMcMaster.RealEstate

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Explore Alexandria living in this bi-weekly column sponsored and written by Sandy McMaster of McEnearney Associates. Got a question or comment? Contact Sandy at [email protected].

If you needed to cite an example of Alexandria’s uniqueness, Red Barn Mercantile is the store you’d call to mind.

This Alexandria favorite offers a curated collection of home decor, apothecary, and so much more. As one visitor aptly described, “they have the perfect blend of high quality, whimsical, and nostalgic items.”

With the holidays approaching, you’ll want to be sure to stop in and find the perfect gift for everyone on your list!

To get to know more about me and how I help people build lives they want in homes they love, follow me @SandyMcMaster on IG or visit  www.SandyMcMaster.RealEstate

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Explore Alexandria living in this bi-weekly column sponsored and written by Sandy McMaster of McEnearney Associates. Got a question or comment? Contact Sandy at [email protected].

If Oak Steakhouse were a recipe, it would be one part exclusivity, another part sophistication, and a dash of warm Southern hospitality.

A place where Wednesday dinner can feel like a special occasion.

The skilled staff isn’t just great with food, they’re great with people. Dining experiences don’t just satisfy your taste buds. They fill your emotional cup, too. It’s a hug AND a kiss.

My special thanks to General Manager Todd Hunt for joining us this week. Todd, we’ll see you soon!

To get to know more about me and how I help people build lives they want in homes they love, follow me @SandyMcMaster on IG or visit  www.SandyMcMaster.RealEstate

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Explore Alexandria living in this bi-weekly column sponsored and written by Sandy McMaster of McEnearney Associates. Got a question or comment? Contact Sandy at [email protected].

Sometimes the sentiment needs to hit just right. That’s when you head to Penny Post.

Step inside, and you’ll instantly see something that makes you WANT to give a gift or send a card.

Owner Amy Rutherford and General Manager El Simmons are two creators who make shopping in Alexandria special. Whether you’re looking for office essentials, greeting cards, personalized stationery, or unique notebooks — they’ve got you covered.

Stop in. I guarantee you’ll see something just right for your next special occasion.

To get to know more about me and how I help people build lives they want in homes they love, follow me @SandyMcMaster on IG or visit  www.SandyMcMaster.RealEstate

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Explore Alexandria living in this bi-weekly column sponsored and written by Sandy McMaster of McEnearney Associates. Got a question or comment? Contact Sandy at [email protected].

It’s September in Alexandria, which means pumpkin spice lattes, cooler temps, and football at Joe Theismann’s restaurant!

General Manager Matt Pigott joins us this week to discuss this long-time Alexandria staple. With multiple football games on at all times, visitors will surely find another table rooting for their favorite team — maybe even a full section! The lively atmosphere includes an array of draft beers. Their newest addition, “Bye Dan,” seems to be their most popular pour these days!

With the renewed energy around football in Washington, put this upscale neighborhood pub on your shortlist for fun, and be sure to get there early on game days!

To get to know more about me and how I help people build lives they want in homes they love, follow me @SandyMcMaster on IG or visit  www.SandyMcMaster.RealEstate

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Explore Alexandria living in this bi-weekly column sponsored and written by Sandy McMaster of McEnearney Associates. Got a question or comment? Contact Sandy at [email protected].

Warm hospitality, urban beach food, and the ONLY place you can order the freak’n Catalina wine mixer!

We were lucky enough to be joined by Corporate Chef Terri Cutrino, who supervises all three of Hank’s Washington, D.C., and Virginia spots. However, the Alexandria venue is the only location with a fantastic three-season rooftop bar. Enjoy the hustle and bustle of North Alexandria while dining on delicious and creative options. And if you want a burger? They’ve got you covered!

Nobody gets left out of this menu!

If you’re craving a little “sea-in-the-city,” drop into Hank’s Oyster Bar located at the corner of Montgomery and N. St. Asaph Street.

To get to know more about me and how I help people build lives they want in homes they love, follow me @SandyMcMaster on IG or visit  www.SandyMcMaster.RealEstate

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Explore Alexandria living in this bi-weekly column sponsored and written by Sandy McMaster of McEnearney Associates. Got a question or comment? Contact Sandy at [email protected].

A big part of building a life you love in Alexandria is finding the right home, but it’s also about having favorite faces and places. Just as your home is a place to relax and refuel, your favorite places are too. They’re like a haven.

The Haven is this week’s feature, and we couldn’t be happier to highlight this quintessential classic neighborhood gem.

The Haven is located in Belle Haven and used to be Pat’s Market (throwback for those of you who’ve been here as long as I have — lol!) The owners have done a magnificent renovation and turned the space into an inviting restaurant. Charming indoor and outdoor spaces provide ample space to enjoy tasty and terrific menu options.

As if The Haven wasn’t enough, you must step next door and visit The Custard Shack. It’s the perfect summertime treat and a sister shop to The Haven.

This terrific duo is one part Brady Bunch and one part Cheers. Warm, wholesome, and something for everyone!

Just don’t take my spot at the fire pit!

To get to know more about me and how I help people build lives they want in homes they love, follow me @SandyMcMaster on IG or visit  www.SandyMcMaster.RealEstate

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Explore Alexandria living in this bi-weekly column sponsored and written by Sandy McMaster of McEnearney Associates. Got a question or comment? Contact Sandy at [email protected].

Ada Lovelace is widely recognized as writing the first computer program and is regarded as the most famous mathematician of the 19th century. Her ingenuity was an inspiration point for Ada’s On The River, one of Alexandria’s best waterfront restaurants.

Don’t worry. You don’t have to complete a math equation to get a reservation. Even if you failed algebra, Ada’s will treat you like royalty.

Dave Nicholas, the co-founder of Alexandria Restaurant Group, joins us this week to give us a glimpse into what it took to bring Ada’s On The River to Alexandria and why it’s one of Alexandria’s best places to dine.

Whether you’re looking for patio, indoor, or private dining, Ada’s will give you an elevated dining experience.

Save me a seat because I’ll see you there!

To get to know more about me and how I help people build lives they want in homes they love, follow me @SandyMcMaster on IG or visit  www.SandyMcMaster.RealEstate

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