Spring 2016 Events in Alexandria, VA March 15, 2016

Claire Mouledoux
CMouledoux@VisitAlexVA.com or 703-652-5367

Leah Spellman, APR
LSpellman@VisitAlexVA.com or 703-652-5363


Spring Events in Alexandria, VA

Blossoms, Boats and Historic Tours


Alexandria, VA – As the cherry blossoms bloom in Washington, DC, seasonal activities abound just across the Potomac River in Alexandria, Virginia, where the city’s scenic waterfront and historic home and garden tours make the perfect setting for a springtime getaway. As the weather warms, now is a great time to explore the recent national spotlight on Alexandria’s history with springtime tours, exhibits and events inspired by PBS’ MERCY STREET, a new medical drama based on Civil War Alexandria.


Celebrate DC’s National Cherry Blossom Festival in Alexandria with a scenic cruise on the water taxi from Old Town to the National Mall, or peek into historic homes on the Alexandria Historic Homes & Gardens Tour for glimpses of flowers blooming in lush gardens. Embark on the baseball boat to Nationals Stadium from Old Town for the ball game or explore rarely-seen spaces at historic sites on Historic Alexandria’s Attics and Alleys Tour. Whether it’s stocking up on a new spring wardrobe with trendy finds from chic boutiques or packing a picnic with delectable treats for an afternoon at a waterfront park, Alexandria’s colorful palette of springtime activities combined with seasonal hotel packages create unique family-friendly spring breaks and rejuvenating weekend escapes.


For more spring activities in Alexandria, see www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com/spring

Check out spring hotel packages at www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com/hotels/deals



Water Taxi to National Mall: Cherry Blossom Festival Service
Daily March 31-April 17, 2016
Departing at 11:10 a.m., 1:35 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.
Admission: adults: $28 round-trip or $14 one-way; children under 12: $16 round-trip or $8 one-way
Cameron & Union Streets, Alexandria, VA 22314


During Cherry Blossom season, the Potomac Riverboat Company offers a 30-minute direct water taxi between Old Town Alexandria and the National Mall in Washington, DC, every day of the week. The boat docks at Ohio & West Basin Drive SW, just steps from the Tidal Basin, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and a Capital Bikeshare station. The water taxi to the National Mall runs through the fall on a varying schedule.


Doggy Happy Hour Opening Day
April 5, 2016 from 5-8 p.m.
Admission: Free (drinks sold separately)
Jackson 20 and Hotel Monaco Alexandria, 480 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314


An Old Town Alexandria institution, Doggy Happy Hour at Jackson 20 and the Hotel Monaco Alexandria will kick off this spring on April 5 and continue on Tuesdays through October, offering specials on handcrafted cocktails and beers plus treats and water for canine companions.


Baseball Boat to Nationals Park
Beginning opening day, April 7, 2016; times vary upon Nationals schedule
Admission: one-way $20; round-trip $25 Monday-Thursday; round-trip $28 Friday-Sunday
Departs from the Alexandria Marina, 1 Cameron St., Alexandria, VA 22314


The Potomac Riverboat Company offers baseball enthusiasts the chance to avoid the crowds and take a leisurely cruise from Old Town Alexandria to Nationals Park along the scenic Potomac River. Online ticket purchases include free parking. Boats returning to Alexandria depart 20 minutes after the final pitch. Boat operates for 80% of Nationals games – check website for specific available dates.

83rd Annual Alexandria Historic Homes & Garden Tour
April 23, 2016 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: $40 in advance; $45 day of; $25 for single sites
Old Town Alexandria


Celebrating the 83rd anniversary of Historic Garden Week in Virginia, this tour features privately owned Old Town homes and gardens plus historic properties like the Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden, Carlyle House Historic Park and George Washington's Mount Vernon, offering visitors the rare opportunity to see behind the brick walls into some of the most gorgeous residences in this unique neighborhood. Tickets and information available at the Alexandria Visitors Center (221 King St.).


Carlyle House Garden Day Herb & Craft Sale
April 23, 2016 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: Free; $5 to tour house; free tours with Alexandria Garden Day ticket
Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314


Celebrate spring with the Friends of Carlyle House’s Annual Garden Day Herb & Craft Sale where culinary and decorative herbs and plants from Mount Vernon will be available for purchase. Listen to performances by area musicians throughout the day, bring your garden questions to our Master Gardeners, and shop for items made by local artisans and crafters.


Historic Alexandria Attics and Alleys Tours
Saturdays in May 2016 from 9 a.m.-noon
Admission: $35; advanced reservations required
Departs from Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden, 614 Oronoco St., Alexandria, VA 22314 or Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 N. Royal St., Alexandria, VA 22314


The curious are invited to visit rarely seen spaces at four of Alexandria's historic sites on this special three-hour walking tour of Gadsby's Tavern Museum, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden and Carlyle House Historic Park. Tickets can be reserved online at here.



17th Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Lee-Fendall House
March 25-27, 2016
Egg hunts begin Friday at 3 p.m.; Saturday at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 & 2:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 12:30 & 2:30 p.m.
Admission: $12 for kids 10 and under; $5 for adults; FREE for Friends of Lee-Fendall House
Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden, 614 Oronoco St., Alexandria, VA 22314


To celebrate Easter, the Lee-Fendall House Museum’s gardens will be filled with hundreds of colorful, toy-filled Easter eggs, in addition to activities like crafts, snacks and photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny. Open to children ages 10 and under and their families. Tickets are available online.

“The Mercy Walk” Guided Tour
March 25, 26, 27 & April 1, 2, 3, 2016 at 2:30 p.m.
Alexandria Colonial Tours


Walk the same streets as the Green family and all of your favorite characters from “Mercy Street.” Based on the PBS series, “Mercy Street,” Alexandria’s “The Mercy Walk” tour will give visitors and locals alike a feel for Alexandria and what it was like to live in an occupied city during the Civil War. This tour includes stops at the former Marshall House, the Confederate Statue, James Green’s furniture factory and the only portion of the Mansion House Hotel still standing today. Join us to hear the true stories of Alexandria, a true microcosm of the Civil War all within one city. Space is limited!


Beyond the Call of Duty: Roles and Responsibilities of Civil War Nurses Lecture
Co-sponsored by Carlyle House and The Lyceum
March 29, 2016, at 7 p.m.
Admission: $10; reservation required
The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314


Join Chris Foard MSN, RN (The Foard Collection of Civil War Nursing) for an in-depth lecture on the diverse practices of male and female Civil War nurses. Discussion includes an important but largely neglected aspect of Civil War nursing—roles and responsibilities of nurses in relation to current practices of today. Lecture is based on historical analysis from letters, documents, books, and diaries from The Foard Collection of Civil War Nursing. This event is co-sponsored by Carlyle House Historic Park (NOVA Parks) and The Lyceum (Office of Historic Alexandria) and will take place at The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington Street. Reservations are recommended. To order tickets, visit https://apm.activecommunities.com/novaparks/Activity_Search/464

Medical Heroism in Alexandria: Tour by Land and Water
April 2016 through Columbus Day; 2nd Saturday and 4th Friday of each month
Saturday tours at 2 p.m.; Friday tours at 3 p.m.
Start at the Alexandria City Marina
DC Military Tours


Explore the “Mercy Street” story by land and by water on this guided tour of Civil War Alexandria. Accompany a trained military historian from DC Military Tours by boat through Alexandria’s 19th-century seaport and then by land for an inside access look at period sites depicted on “Mercy Street,” including a Civil War hospital and other parts of the city’s Civil War landscape.


Concerts with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra
April 2, 2016 at 8 p.m. & April 3, 2016 at 3 p.m.; May 7, 2016 at 8 p.m.
Admission: Youth 18 and under: $5; student with ID: $10; adults: $20-$80
Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall & Arts Center, 4915 E. Campus Lane, Alexandria, VA 22314


The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will feature two spring concerts this year. Lushness & Lyrical pairs James Newton Howard’s score to Peter Pan with three Romantic masterpieces: excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, Smetana’s “The Moldau” from Má vlast and Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, continuing the season-long theme of “Symphony & Cinema.” Known as “America’s violinist,” Grammy-nominated performer Jenny Oaks Baker will perform Scottish Fantasy. The orchestra is led by Maestro Kim Allen Kluge, who is honored as a 2016 Alexandria Living Legend. 


The Transformative is a one-night-only performance featuring the music of American composers and highlighting the many musical styles that form the country’s rich and diverse cultural tapestry. Hans Zimmer’s music from The Dark Knight is juxtaposed with Gershwin’s American in Paris and Copland’s Rodeo. The finale also features the world premiere of The American Concerto for Piano & Orchestra by Maestro Kim Allen Kluge and Kathryn Vassar Kluge. Maestro Kluge, in his final season with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, will be honored as ASO’s first Maestro Emeritus at the performance. 


Contrabands & Freedmen Cemetery Memorial Tour
April 2, 2016 at 10 a.m.
Admission: Free
Office of Historic Alexandria and the Alexandria Black History Museum, 1001 S. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314


Join City Archaeologist Fran Bromberg and Black History Museum Director and PBS’ “Mercy Street” history consultant Audrey Davis as you learn about the history of contrabands buried in the cemetery, the fascinating archaeology behind its rediscovery, and how the site became a memorial.

Spring2ACTion: Alexandria's Biggest Day of Giving
April 20, 2016, all day
Alexandria, VA 22314


What if we all gave on one day? On April 20, let’s find out during Spring2ACTion, Alexandria’s online giving day to benefit more than 130 nonprofits! This year, our goal is to engage 10,000 generous Alexandrians to raise $1.5 million to support local charities. Be a part of this annual day of giving and join together with the entire community as we give back to the nonprofits that make Alexandria strong. Local businesses will also be giving back on April 20 by hosting events and/or donating a percentage of sales to nonprofits. For a complete list, visit www.Spring2ACTion.org


Civil War Medicine Living History
April 23, 2016, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Rain date: April 30
Admission: Free
Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site, 4301 West Braddock Rd., Alexandria, VA 22304

Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site will sponsor a Civil War medical living history program presented by Civil War medical historian and interpreter Von Barron, who portrays U.S. Army Regimental Surgeon Captain Turner Kitt in a field hospital setting that features a variety of medical tools and equipment of the era. 


Annual George Washington Parkway Classic 10 Mile, 5K and Kids Dash
April 24, 2016 at 8:00 a.m.
Admission: $10-$80
Old Town Alexandria/starting places vary


This course, renowned for lush scenery and gorgeous river views, takes runners down the George Washington Parkway and through the iconic brick buildings lining the streets of Alexandria. With the colors of spring in bloom as a backdrop, and scores of spectators cheering along the way, this course offers a one-of-a-kind experience and makes the Parkway Classic the perfect race to kick off your running season!


Art on the Rocks
April 29, 2016 from 7-10 p.m.
Admission: $65 ($55 for early bird ticket purchasers)
The Art League Gallery at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria VA 22314


The Art League challenges mixologists from local restaurants to each select a piece of artwork as inspiration to whip up a new, artistic cocktail and pair it with a delicious appetizer. Guests will enjoy the artwork/cocktail/appetizer trifectas and help The Art League select a new Art on the Rocks champion. Bars and restaurants are still TBD.


Civil War Ball
April 30, 2016 from 8-11 p.m.
Admission: $45 in advance; reservations required
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 N Royal St., Alexandria, VA 22314


Enjoy an evening from the 1860s in the historic ballroom at the Civil War Ball.  The ball will include live music, dance instruction and period desserts. Period attire, either civilian or military, is encouraged. Dance classes for the ball will be held January 7, 14 and 21 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Cost is $12 per class or $30 for the series. 


Beyond the Battlefield Walking Tour
May 14, July 9, September 10 & November 12, 2016 at 10 a.m.
Admission: $15
Tour starts at The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314


Discover the real-life stories and locations of soldiers, citizens and former slaves that inspired the PBS drama “Mercy Street” in this walking tour of Old Town. Discover the challenges, triumphs and controversies of life behind the front lines in an occupied city during the Civil War. See the locations of hospitals, hotels, prisons and more that filled Alexandria during four years of conflict. Tour length is three hours and the route is approximately 1.75 miles. Parking is not available at The Lyceum’s lot for this program.


Spies & Scones – A Special “History Mystery” Tea
May 21, 2016
Admission: $50
Lee-Fendall House, 614 Oronoco St., Alexandria, VA 22314


Alexandria was filled with spies and during the Civil War. Enjoy a Victorian tea, learn about real life secret agents like Frank Stringfellow (portrayed in the PBS drama “Mercy Street,” then put your own powers of detection to the test to discover the spy in the room! 

Mercy in Alexandria Walking Tour
Public tour every Sunday at 1:30 p.m. (additional tour times coming soon)
Additional tours by appointment
Tour starts at Alexandria Visitors Center, 221 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314
DC Military Tours


Experience an inside access tour of 19th century Alexandria. Inspired by the PBS mini-series “Mercy Street,” accompany a trained military historian through Civil War-era Alexandria and learn the actual history behind the TV show. Get behind-the-scenes stories of locations where “Mercy Street” characters lived, worked and played. 


Women of Civil War Alexandria Tour
Presented by the National Women’s History Museum
June to October 2016
Admission: $15
Schedule TBD


Alexandria was in a unique position during the Civil War. It was a city with Southern sympathies continuously occupied by the Union Army and virtually operating as a Northern supply depot due to its proximity to Washington, DC and its transportation infrastructure. The women who remained in Alexandria and those who came during occupation experienced the War not as a battle but a day-to-day way of life. This tour will explore the stories of a diverse group of women and their experiences living in Civil War Alexandria.





Green Family Exhibit
Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum
January to May 2016
107 S. Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314


The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary remained open and operational when Alexandria was occupied during the Civil War. The Green family and Union Quartermaster staff shopped there to purchase everything from laudanum to cologne. Today, visitors can take a guided tour and experience the historic space where occupied Alexandria came to shop. The exhibit features the purchases and stories of the Green family and the Union Quartermaster.


The Journey to be Free: Self-emancipation and Alexandria's Contraband Heritage
Alexandria Black History Museum
Exhibit extended through May 8, 2016
902 Wythe St., Alexandria, VA 22314


During the Civil War, thousands of African Americans escaping slavery sought refuge behind Union lines in Alexandria, Virginia. The fugitives found freedom in Alexandria, but also a city under siege. The influx overwhelmed the city. Rampant disease and deprivation took their toll on the freedmen. A cemetery was created for those who had survived slavery, but did not live long in freedom. “The Journey to be Free” shows the legacy of Alexandria’s contraband community and the amazing story of their burial ground that was lost and rediscovered, now memorialized as the Contraband and Freedmen Cemetery.


Alexandria’s Nurses & Hospitals During the Civil War
The Lyceum—Alexandria’s History Museum
Ongoing exhibit
201 S. Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314


The Lyceum mounts an exhibit on the life of Clarissa Jones, a nurse at The Lyceum hospital during the Civil War. It will bring home to visitors the true story of an actual nurse in Alexandria during the war, drawing parallels with characters portrayed in the PBS drama “Mercy Street.” It will include references to the experiences of other Alexandria nurses at that time, such as Anne Reading, who actually worked in the Mansion House Hospital, and Jane Woolsey, who served at the Fairfax Seminary Hospital.


Hotel vs. Hospital Exhibit
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
Ongoing exhibit
134 N. Royal St., Alexandria, VA 22314


Learn the story of the fine hotel industry in Alexandria and how it quickly changed after the Civil War began. The City Hotel (today part of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum) was the only major hotel in Alexandria to remain open during the entirety of the war. The two other fine hotels in town, Mansion House and Marshall House, had closed. Guests will discover how tavernkeeper Samuel Heflebower was able to remain in business as he catered to the new customers in town.  


Medical Care for the Civil War Soldier Exhibit
Fort Ward Museum
Ongoing exhibit
4301 West Braddock Rd., Alexandria, VA 22304


Fort Ward Museum has an ongoing exhibit that features original medical instruments and equipment from the Civil War period and information on Union Army hospital sites in Alexandria. 


“Mercy Street”-Inspired: The Alexandria Back Story
Kate Waller Barrett Branch Library
Ongoing exhibit                   
717 Queen St., Alexandria, VA 22314


The Alexandria Library’s Special Collections played an integral role in providing historically accurate research and information to the creators of PBS’ “Mercy Street.” Today, visitors can view these rare, one-of-a-kind articles, ads and other materials illustrating the particular challenges of living in Alexandria during the Civil War in a special exhibit at the Kate Waller Barrett Branch Library in Old Town.


Mercy Street Uncovered: Archaeology in Alexandria
Alexandria Archaeology Museum
Ongoing exhibit
105 N. Union St., Studio #327, Alexandria, VA 22314


Exhibits include dioramas and period objects found during excavations, including a musket that was still cocked and loaded. For families, “meet” a Civil War drummer boy and try to decode a letter from a Southern spy.  


Who These Wounded Are: The Extraordinary Stories of the Mansion House Hospital
Carlyle House Historic Park
Ongoing exhibit
121 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria, VA 22314


From 1861-1865, the U.S. Army used Carlyle House, then the home of Emma Green and her family, and the adjacent Mansion House Hotel as a hospital and staff quarters. The people who lived and worked at this site in Alexandria and their real life stories have inspired the PBS television show, “Mercy Street.” The owner of the house and hotel, James Green, was one of the richest men in town and made a deep historical footprint on Alexandria.


Carlyle House’s exhibit features the factual story of the history of the site and its occupants. Upstairs, a new interpretation will explore the lives of these individuals through period hospital rooms and doctor/officer housing.



Within eyesight of Washington, DC on the Potomac River waterfront, Alexandria, Virginia is nationally recognized for its acclaimed, chef-driven restaurants, bustling boutiques and dynamic arts set against a backdrop of 18th- and 19th-century architecture still intact from its days as George Washington’s hometown. Old Town Alexandria hums with a cosmopolitan feel and a walkable lifestyle—a hidden gem tucked beneath the nation’s capital.

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