We met bright and early at the United Airlines desk at Manchester airport Terminal 2 at 06:30 am. The check in process was quite quick while we were in the queue the United airlines representatives came round with a hand held device where they swiped your passports to check that you had up to date visas for the United states. Once we had checked in we went through to security where there were very big queue. I was the only one in our group of 6 which had booked a security fast track pass which cost £4. I would say it is well worth pre booking if especially you hate waiting in the security queue as I was fast tracked straight through. Then we were booked into the Escape VIP lounge which cost about £22 you can access the lounge 3 hours before your flight departs where you can enjoy food and beverages there are TVs with live departure information and you are away from the hustle and bustle of the Airport.
We were booked in Economy Plus seats for the flight which were very good for the 7 hour flight From Manchester to Newark as we had quite a bit legroom. On arriving into Newark to catch out connecting flight to Washington Ronald Reagan Airport we went through immigration much faster than I thought we would and then we reclaimed out baggage then walked round the corner where we handed out suit cases to the airport staff to be scanned and sent on to out next flight, this whole process was very easy.
We arrived at the hotel just in time for the complimentary' Wine hour' held in the lobby at the Hotel Monaco which they do after every night from 5-6pm. After a quick freshen up we then head out with our hosts, Visit Alexandria, for the night where went for a quick cocktail in the Hi-Tide Lounge which was very funky and the cocktails were delicious and not too expensive.
We then went to the Virtue Feed & Grain for our evening meal which seemed to be the place to be on a Friday night, great atmosphere the service in there was second to none they really seemed very proud that all the ingredients was locally produced nothing was too much trouble. Then some of the group headed to for a night cap and bit of live blues music which was very entertaining.
After some much needed sleep, today was an early start with a short walk to the farmers market at 08:30 am. It was a small famers market but definitely worth a look if you are stopping in Alexandria as this is on every Saturday.
We spent the rest of the morning looking around Alexandria then just before lunch we made a visit to the Apothecary Museum which was very interesting and well worth a visit.
We have lunch at Volas which has a great view of the Potomac River as it is right on the Harbour, we then headed off to George Washington's Plantation House at Mount Vernon, here we looked around his house and land which had amazing views. This was around half and hour ride away from Alexandria itself.
We went for dinner at the Majestic where I had some great wine along with some excellent food.
We started off the day with a delicious breakfast then off we went on our Photo Safari Tour of Alexandria, this was very interesting as we were shown how to use different camera functions on our phones that I wouldn't normally think of using which worked great as it was November which is Fall and the pictures looked so good with all the different colours, the tour lasted around 2 hours.
We had the rest of the day at our leisure which I spent walking around the shops doing a bit of shopping in this lovely small American Town. We then made our way over to the harbour to catch a Potomac River boat over to National Harbour which took around 45 minutes, we then had a walk around the many shops before heading over to Rosa Mexicana for our evening meal which I was very much looking forward to as I love Mexican food. After our evening meal we made our way to the Christmas tree lighting which was the highlight of my trip, the Americans really know how to do Christmas. We were right next to the tree as we were VIP guests. Along with the Christmas Tree lighting there was music and fireworks which put Morecambe's Firework display to shame. We then caught the river boat back to Alexandria where we had an early night ready for our early start the following
We made our way from Alexandria by taxi to Washington DC which took around 40 minutes, for our Bike and Roll tour at 10am. The Bike and Roll tour lasted about 3 hours at a slow pace which took in all the major monuments, even the White House which was great to see in person. I really cannot recommend this tour enough, our guide was a fountain of knowledge. If the Bike and Roll tour is not for you then you can get a ticket for the Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour which you do yourself without a tour guide, this is usually around $55 per person.
I really enjoyed my time in Alexandria which I found very upmarket and very family orientated and also very dog friendly. With easy access to Washington DC it makes it and excellent place to stay for a short break or make your stay longer & spend additional time in Washington DC.
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