We're just getting back into town from a weekend in Cleveland celebrating my parents' birthdays, and we're still recovering from last week's DIY Network visit to our house. (I'm not even joking -- preparing for that video shoot was ridiculously exhausting.) Therefore, today's post is going to be a bit brief. We'll have some cool stuff from our trip back to Ohio a little later in the week. But until then, I wanted to put the garnish on top of our "things we love about Old Town Alexandria that make it feel a little bit like Napa Valley" series of posts from last week (see Part 1, Part 2).
The final "thing" we want to mention that helps to make us feel so comfortable in Old Town, what make us enjoy and appreciate living here, and that reminds us of the atmosphere that we love so much in Napa Valley isn't a new store, restaurant, or event in Old Town at all. Actually, it is one of the oldest happenings Old Town has to offer, and is actually considered the oldest in the entire country. I'm talking about Old Town's weekly Saturday farmers' market, situated in front of City Hall on Alexandria's Market Square.
In operation since 1753, Market Square is recognized as the oldest continually run marketplace in the United States. Each week it is packed with locals and some tourists who are out shopping or just out for a relaxing Saturday morning stroll. You can find fresh produce, flowers, plants, baked goods, handmade crafts, paintings and portraits, fresh soft cheese, pasta, and on and on. Every week you see the regular merchants as well as new arrivals or seasonal participants. And best of all, it's all about a five minute walk from our house!
For me, one of my favorite aspects of summer is enjoying the fresh produce the season brings, but my enjoyment of the farmer's market isn't limited to the summer. In the fall, the pumpkins arrive, the spring brings plants, and you can always count on seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farmers any time of the year. During the winter, the crowds and vendors do thin out a bit, but the market goes on almost every weekend of the year.
Alex likes to go just to stroll around and "see what he sees." It's one of his many "middle aged grandpa" traits. Lulu likes to go because dogs aren't allowed up on the square around all of the food, so all of the dogs hang out on the perimeter. She takes this opportunity to meet up with her various old and new friends. There are usually at least two dozen dogs around every weekend.
And if I strike out on produce for any given week, there is always some great looking baked goods I can pick up.
And if baked goods fail, I always fall back on my absolute favorite, fresh flowers for the house.
As I mentioned, if you're looking for art, there are usually a few of Old Town's various local artists at a few stations on the square.
And Alex's favorite place is the dairy booth where he can get some fresh ricotta that he's been known to use when making his from-scratch ricotta gnocchi.
It may not be bursting at the seams with the most delicious heirloom tomatoes you've ever laid your eyes on like the market's we've seen in the California wine country, but that's a tall order to live up to. I'd say our little farmers' market does quite well, and gives us that taste of Napa Valley that we love so much.
If you are in or around the D.C. or Alexandria area on any given Saturday, and especially on a Saturday with good weather in the spring, summer, or fall, you should try to swing by the Old Town Farmers' Market. It runs from 5:30am-10:30am ish every week. We hope we'll run into you there.
Do you have any great farmer's markets around your neighborhood? Maybe you have a couple of good ones? If so, and especially if you have some that you think we should absolutely check out, let us know.