Steeped in history, full of charm, and jam packed with interesting sights and architecture, the streets of Old Town Alexandria's neighborhoods make for a day of fun while wandering, gawking, and learning.

Having lived in Alexandria since 2000, and in historic Old Town since 2003, we never tire of Old Town. It's not unusual to find us going on walks several times per week just to enjoy this place we call home. 

Now that we're solidly into the beautiful fall weather, we want to share some of our favorite Old Town Alexandria walking paths with you. Best of all, these are all tours from the perspective of locals.

If you're not familiar with Old Town Alexandria, it's divided into four primary quadrants, Southeast, Northeast, Southwest, and Northwest. These four quadrants are based around the central intersection of King and Washington Streets, and each quadrant has its own unique and interesting elements that set it apart from the others. 

We'll be doing this series of blog posts on walking tours of Old Town with each post focusing on an individual quadrant. It's our hope that these guides will offer you a tour of Old Town from a local's vantage point. While I wouldn't really call it "off the beaten path," I think it's fair to consider these walking tours a deviation from the typical tourist guides offered online. So if you find yourself in Old Town, either because you live here or are visiting, we hope you can use our guide to glimpse something interesting and new. And if you're just reading from afar, we hope our photos and descriptions will help paint a picture of our amazing city.

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Over many years of DIY, we've learned that sometimes even the smallest details that can go unnoticed make a huge difference to an overall result.

Years ago, back when we were renovating our upstairs hallway, we replaced the shiny gold polished brass light fixture that once adorned the ceiling with something a little better suited for our style and decor. We don't have any great photos of that original light, so this is the best we can dig up.

We bought the new fixture from Restoration Hardware and loved that it mimicked the shape of our hanging bell lantern in the first floor hallway while retaining as much hallway headroom as a flush mount fixture. It was the perfect solution for our difficult lighting decision.

As the years have passed we noticed that our use of traditional incandescent 40 watt candelabra style bulbs (the wattage suggested by the manufacturer) seemed to be burning the white plastic sleeves of the fixture. At first it was a little off-white, then brown, and then recently they turned very black.

From this little bit of evidence, it was obvious that the bulbs we were using were getting extremely hot and burning the chandelier sleeves. 

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Holes in the ceiling, dust on the floor, mess all around, and when it comes to projects, there's always more, more, more.

In DIY, like in life, coping is an important skill to master...or at least a skill one must make an attempt at mastering. But what is it to cope?


The thing is, when I'm talking about coping and DIY, I could actually be talking about a few different aspects of the above definition. For example, a heathy dose of denial might be the best way to cope with a home disaster, but a jigsaw may be my tool of choice when coping a joint.

Over the years we've taken on a lot of projects in an attempt to master various skills...or become slightly more than mediocre at them. 

And while I've gained a good amount of confidence when it comes to moulding, one of the things that intimidated me tremendously for the longest time is my lacking skills when it comes to coping a joint.

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Over the last several weeks I've been trying my best to replicate the historic moulding in our Foursquare.

This has been a difficult task overall as I've been dealing with several variables at once. Wonky walls, weird depth, modern doors, and chunkier wood than you find in stock moulding has made this somewhat more complicated than expected.

Our house is in rural Maryland and is technically a 1908 American Foursquare. At least, that's its style from the outside. But inside it's a house with a slight identity crisis. If you look up photos of American Foursquares from roughly this time you'll see a lot of interiors with dark wood, paneled walls, and flat mouldings that look more like this.

Photo Credit: Hooked on Houses

But in our home, it seems the exterior style was a little bit ahead of the interior. Our home retains most of its original mouldings, and I would certainly put them far more squarely in the late Victorian period than what is most commonly associated with early 20th century.

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Halloween is a particularly special time of year in our household. And choosing a good Halloween costume for the is a rather major and important decision.

Last year Wendy and I decided on a three part costume based on our favorite characters from the USA Network show Mr. Robot. You can skip down to the costume description How To if that's what you're primarily here for.

Maybe it's because we have such fond memories of dressing up as kids, perhaps it's because we love the decor and the fall weather, or maybe it's because Wendy and I met on Halloween night way back when we were teenagers (I was way too old to be trick-or-treating with friends, though I was, and she was handing out candy at her house). Whatever the reason, Wendy are both like kids in a candy store when October grows near.

Every year since we bought our home in 2003, we've acknowledged this deep seeded love of Halloween by throwing an all adults costume party in our home. Everyone dons their best costume (like our friends who attended as DIY bloggers, Wendy & Alex and their dog, Lulu).

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