Old Town sits in the heart of Alexandria, Va., 250 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, along the Potomac River. Webquest cites five hours as the driving time, but it can be done in fewer. We hopped in the car for a whirlwind road trip to create a memorable family adventure.
Lorien Hotel & Spa
This Kimpton boutique hotel is practically brand new, but it blends in beautifully with Old Town’s charm. The work of world-famous designer and photographer Vicente Wolf, the contemporary look is incredibly stylish in its simplistic integrity. Our room was street-side, just above the brick-lined courtyard and the restaurant BRABO, led by Washington, D.C., acclaimed chef Robert Wiedmaier.
The hotel’s color scheme is gorgeous, in shades of blue, gray, and white. Lots of mirrors increase the feng shui in the hallways, and the library’s white-covered book collection is a conversation starter. The full-service luxury spa uses organic and paraben-free products by Kerstin Florian.
The service is meticulous, friendly, and quick. Not just that, but the hotel is pet-friendly. Lorien Hotel & Spa,1600 King St., Alexandria. 703.894.3434. lorienhotelandspa.com.
Local, farm-raised products are at the crux of this favorite spot’s success; it is the winner of many regional dining awards. vermilionrestaurant.com.
RED ROCKS FIREBRICK PIZZERIA
This upscale pizza place cures many of its own meats and makes its own sausage. Visitors will also find friendly servers and more than 30 handcrafted beers. redrocksoldtown.com.
The original restaurant opened in 1932. Creators of the highly successful Restaurant Eve in Alexandria refurbished and reopened the space in 2007. Magical! majesticcafe.com.
Moderately priced and terrific for groups. We especially liked the Miso soup, General Tso’s chicken, and ginger chicken — along with the reasonable bill! abistro.com.
BUGSY’S PIZZA RESTAURANT
Former Pittsburgh Penguin Bryan “Bugsy” Watson runs this pizza place, along with the upstairs Sports Bar, a true hockey bar. bugsyspizza.com.
DASH’S OF OLD TOWN
Owned by the debonair Victor Dash. Luxury suits made in Italy and hand-finished in Old Town Alexandria. dashsofoldtown.com.
POTOMAC BEAD COMPANY
The staff here is exceptional, and the classes looked like fun. potomacbeads.com.
We waited in line to be rewarded with delightful vanilla cupcakes, infused with raspberry and topped with raspberry buttercream frosting. alexandriacupcake.com.
This sweet spot is known for its vast collection of saltwater taffy in every flavor imaginable. 703.518.1718.
POP’S OLD-FASHIONED ICE CREAM
Don’t miss this ice cream, homemade on the premises. fishmarketva.com.
TORPEDO FACTORY ART CENTER
Three floors of open art studios and galleries allow visitors to observe the artists at work and to buy original artwork. Watching our kids tune in to the artists was awesome. torpedofactory.org.