From time to time Wendy and I are reminded of precisely why we love living in Alexandria, Virginia. Though we derive great pleasure from the easy walks to numerous restaurants and shopping, the various events around town, and the amazing open houses we go on often and describe to you, sometimes we get to do something that lets us realize just how fortunate we are to live in an area with so much to offer. This past weekend we were able to enjoy an eclectic and wonderful event on the main street of Old Town’s neighboring town of Del Ray that really brought that point home.

You may remember our recent Open Housing post about the little blue farm house in Del Ray. In addition to quaint houses, good restaurants, and great neighborhood feel, Del Ray also hosts their annual “Art on the Avenue” event where artisans, craftsman, local businesses, musicians, and many other establishments set up tents lining Mt. Vernon Avenue along roughly 10 blocks. There the various vendors showcase their talents and sell the fruits of their labor.

Wendy, Lulu, and I took advantage of the beautiful day and very warm weather to walk over to Del Ray to do a little shopping and have a little fun. Only about a mile and a half from our house, we were greeted at the entrance to the event by this very interesting van.

Part sculpture/work of art, part form of transportation, this rolling piece of art is indicative of the eclectic mix of people and businesses that make up the overall event.

Let me tell you one thing right away. The place was packed with people. It's really hard to describe, and a photo simply can't do justice to how well attended the event is, but the majority of the walk was slow and steady at best.

One of the things I like so much about Art on the Avenue is the wide array of vendors and participants. There is truly something there that everyone can find interesting.

Wendy and I didn't have any particular plan except to make sure we dropped by one tent in particular. Local DC blogger, Jane, from The Borrowed Abode, had her Janery tent near the opposite end of where we entered. We worked our way down and stopped in to say hello.

Jane makes custom pet beds, pillow covers, and other small sewn items using cool and modern fabrics. Her stuff is great looking and well made, you can tell she puts a lot of time and effort into all of her creations. Wendy found a great pillow cover that will go well in our sun porch, and we also took home a much needed chevron cat bed for Mel.

I say "much needed" because Mel has been sleeping on a 15 year old pillow that is destined for the trash but somehow has been avoiding forfeiture for the last several months.

It was great to meet Jane in person, and as she said, "put a face to the blog."

In addition to what we brought home from the Janery, we made several other stops along the way to both gawk and purchase. Wendy's eye was drawn to this huge and nicely organized collection of dog collars and leashes.

Apparently Lulu *needed* a new pink collar with green polka dots. Lucky for us, and especially for Lulu, they had just what we needed.

While walking along I spotted a custom t-shirt vendor with a graphic tee I just couldn't pass up. It was a simple green shirt with a white graphic of a critter superhero with his name emblazoned above him, "Wonder Weasel!"

Yes, I know what your thinking, and you're right! I never knew anyone could ever fit so much awesome on the front of a size medium t-shirt. Luckily for me, Jon Wye found a way.

While walking, we made a point to stop at any tent with items that caught our eye, even if purchasing something was not really feasible due to our house size, price of the items, or just the fact that it wasn't ultimately our taste.

One vendor we really liked was an artist who created these very appealing works. Wendy and I both really liked the abstract circus tent. I'm not exactly sure why, but we were both sort of drawn to it.

We dropped by one tent called Funnelcloud Studio that offered various prints where the subject, be it an animal or one of the United States, is broken down and constructed from various color shapes.

I absolutely loved one tent by Marissa Molinaro that was full of recycled cut bottles that had been made into drinking glasses and other items. I talked to the owner about how to get the edges smooth and properly sanded, something I've been interested in since using the wet saw to cut the bottom off of our wine bottles for a Pinterest Challenge.

Even more fun than all of the cool stuff, a few of our readers even saw us and said hello. It's always nice to know there are people out there actually reading what we write. So thanks to those that said "Hello," it was nice to meet you. :-)

Though it was warm and bordering on too hot when we arrived in the morning, by the time we were at the half way point a massive cold front blew through and the temperature dropped by 20 degrees. It went, rather quickly, from too hot to too cool.

Wendy and I dropped by the food and concessions area at the midway point and picked up some lunch. The scene was a lot of fun here, with lots of options for everyone. From veggie pad thai to funnel cakes and sausages, they had something for every taste.

With the front coming in, we weren't sure if it was going to rain, so we started to head home, but we still made sure to stop at the all important location along the patch, the Dairy Godmother.

Though the weather had gotten cool, there was still a significant line for their delicious custards. I picked up a cone of their Pumpkin flavor (that tasted a lot like pumpkin pie), and I also grabbed a container of peanut butter dog ice cream for Lulu. To say she enjoyed it is an understatement, as she kept trying to jump up to take it out of our hands while we were walking. We couldn't even get her to slow down enough to get a good and non blurry photo of her enjoyment.

As we walked home, neither of us could believe the temperature change. We had been hot and sweaty just an hour earlier, and by that time we were borderline too cold. Luckily, we made it home just before the rain started. As soon as we got home we got rid of that old yellow pillow Mel had been occupying, and we gave him his new bed.

He was in love. He spent the next several minutes rolling around and playing on it...

...then settled down and started to relax.

He's now been a pretty consistent fixture on hew new stylish cat bed just hanging out and observing, all thanks to Janery.

We had a really great time at Art on the Avenue, and we absolutely loved seeing the various vendors and artisans. If you're in the area next year about this time, it's a must see event for those looking to buy or browse.

Did you go to Art on the Avenue this year? Perhaps you have a similar event near where you live? Let us know if there's somewhere we should absolutely take a weekend or day trip to have a little fun at an artsy and eclectic event.

Comments 20


Kelly C.
10/9/2012 at 2:46 PM
Love, love, love this post! I totally laughed at the Wonder Weasel shirt! I'm not even sure why it's funny, but it made me laugh. Loved the pup enjoying his treat & the new bed, OMGosh that's so cute! Glad you had fun. Here in Texas we've had record cold the last few days. We just aren't used to that! And I wish we had fun things to walk to - we have to drive every.where!
Us too! We've been pretending we're in Austria still, and have been calling it the V-onder V-easel shirt. We're such dorks. ;-)
Kelly C.
10/9/2012 at 2:47 PM
And, I meant to ask if they gave you any good tips on the sanding of the bottles?
The artist uses both a wet saw as well as a bottle cutter to cut the bottles. Her sanding tips included hand sanding slowly and carefully, and she also recommended wearing a welding mask as well as a respirator. She didn't mention any specific sanding devices or supplies.
10/9/2012 at 3:35 PM
Thanks for sharing a little slice of your life in Alexandria! Reading this post had me realizing how much I miss "walkable" events, such as this, when we were living in Cincinnati. Like Kelly C mentioned, living in Dallas has required us to drive to just about everything (even after living here 5 yrs we're still not used to that).
Like you guys, we like to support our community and local economy as much as we can. I think it helps us feel like a part of something and stay connected to our community. This past weekend we attended a local event sponsored by our community exchange club, our very own Oktoberfest! You can check it out here: Somehow our mugs ended up on their website's front page. Unbelievably the weather that evening necessitated us wearing gloves and coats. Sadly, we still had to drive to get there.
Kelly C.
10/9/2012 at 5:27 PM
Darn, you aren't that far from me & I missed it! We are in Rowlett. And, you have me curious, what mugs :)
10/9/2012 at 6:38 PM
Kelly C, sorry for the confusion! In my odd sense of humor, I used "mugs" to refer to our faces. :) By all means please come to next year's Oktoberfest we'd love to have you! It's usually the 1st Sat of Oct. The website should give you all the current info. Thanks for your interest!
PS-Sorry OTH for using your comment stream to hawk our local event. Please forgive me! :)
How fun and congrats on making the website!

I remember when I was little my Aunt took me to the Oktoberfest at Kings Island in Cincinnati and I drank hot chocolate. :-) Even though you have to drive, it's great that you're getting out and supporting the local community!

And we think it's great that you and Kelly were able to connect. That's what this blog is all about - sharing and connecting with other people! (No one wants to read all about us all the time!)
10/9/2012 at 3:55 PM
Great recap! I'm so happy to see Jane and her amazing pet beds featured here! (I'll be commissioning a couple for my two pups as soon as Jane takes a breather and feels like reuniting with her sewing machine.)

And thanks so much for featuring my shop, too! I had a great time vending at Art on the Avenue - only downside is that when I'm working I don't have the chance to walk around, shop, take pictures, and socialize, so I appreciate being able to experience it vicariously through your blog post!
With all of her hard work on display, it looks like Jane deserves a LOOONG vacation from her sewing machine! :-)

We really enjoyed your work, Rachel, and I'm sorry you didn't have a chance to take in all the action. We're glad we could help capture a little bit of it for you. :-)
10/9/2012 at 6:30 PM
Jeannine and I went to that too - first time going. It took us two hours to walk both sides of the street. Picked up some handwoven cotton placemats from Uncommon Knits and a salt fired ceramic soap dispenser (we'd been looking for both for a while but couldn't find anything we liked in stores)
Nice! Sounds like you walked away a winner. It was our first time attending as well, and it was a great event. We'll definitely go again next year.
Karin K
10/9/2012 at 7:56 PM
I want to go! My eye stopped right on the weasel, as well. Good choice. I expect to see it modeled soon. You have MUCH better artists and craft-people (have to be PC) than we do down here in the southeast corner of the state.
We'll get Alex to model it, but it better not be while painting! :-)

You're right. The number of talented artists and craftspeople was really impressive!
10/10/2012 at 7:02 PM
The tour of the event was very enjoyable but the high points were definitely Lulu eating her treat and Mel rolling around on his new bed! I wish I could hug and pet them thru the screen.
Personally, we thought Mel and Lulu were the highlight as well. :-) Glad you enjoyed the photos!
10/11/2012 at 3:47 PM
Darn! I'm so sad I missed this! It never ceases to amaze me how many cool festivals like this we have in the area. I've lived here since 2007 and feel like I always hear about these things after they happen. Thanks for sharing your pictures, I'll have to put it on my calendar to look out for next year!
It was a great day, and I'm sorry you missed it. We'll definitely be putting it on our 2013 calendar! :-)
10/13/2012 at 8:47 AM
Thanks so much for the kind mention on the blog! I'm really glad we got to meet (including Lulu!) and I'm so sorry I called Mel a girl. Blame it on the lack of sleep. Anyway, hopefully he's still enjoying his bed and will forgive me. ;)
I'm so glad we had a chance to meet as well. Mel is still adoring his new bed (and I'm still adoring my new pillow). Lulu tried to make a move to lay on Mel's bed the other day, and he promptly hissed and swatted at her. It was hilarious! :-) Thank you again!
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