Alexandria, Virginia was once called the most beautiful city in the Colonies. Just North of the train station at King Street is the George Washington Masonic Memorial, modeled after the Lighthouse of Alexandria (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world).
Maggie was sore after the hill climbing at Arlington and wanted to rest. I took a personal tour of the main floor of the Memorial. George Washington was the Grand Master of this chapter of the Masons. When he laid the cornerstone to the capital, he was in Masonic garb and used his Masonic trowel. This is the home of the Andrew Jackson Lodge and the George Washington Lodge. The main hall is spectacular, reminding me of the Parthenon in Athens. Instead of Athena, a statue of Washington dominates the hall.
A tour of the upper floors was to begin in a few minutes. Maggie still wanted to rest and told me to knock my socks off. On the tour I went. On the second floor is a room dedicated to Washington, which hold many of his personal effects, Seven Cities Virginia including the family Bible. On the upper floors are rooms dedicated to different aspects of Masonry: the Knights Templar, Tall Cedars, etc. At the very top is an observation walk with views of DC and the environs. The tour lasts well over an hour. By that time it was not only late, but we were also tired. Walking Alexandria would have to wait.
The Old Section of Alexandria features the boyhood home of Robert E. Lee. Even in Colonial times this city was an important shipping port for the New World. Many buildings still stand from this era.
One of the more interesting of the buildings is Gadsby’s Tavern. Traveling back and forth to Mt. Vernon, a three to four hour journey by carriage, George Washington, frequented the tavern on a regular basis. Archeological excavations reveal the ice well, fifteen feet below street level, where ice cut from the Potomac River was kept for summer consumption.
During the Civil War, Alexandria was immediately occupied by Union troops because of its strategic location. They stayed throughout the war. In modern times torpedo manufacturing was a primary industry. Today the factory is an art center, housing many artist studios. A designer torpedo for you?
John Pelley is a Geriatric Gypsy. He is retired from the rat race of working. He is a full-time RVer, who ran away from home. He began our travels on the East Coast and, like the migrating birds, seek the warmth of the seasons He has discovered volunteering with the National Park System. He has a CD he has recorded of Native American flute music,