Like many I have an Alexandria mailing address but live south of the city in Fairfax County.
For many down this way we had lived our earlier single and childless married days (DINKS) in the city. The coming of a second child would usually necessitate a move from the charm and convenience of Old Town to a more spacious house in Beverly Hills, Rosemont, or south to Fairfax County.
Those of us who went south have continued over the years to frequent the shops and restaurants of King Street and many of us are employed in the city or conduct our business there. We tend to be regionalists with our links to the city and at the same time patronizing the merchants down our way on Richmond Highway, our King Street.
Growth along Richmond Highway in recent years has resulted in a slew of new restaurant and retail options. They join the family-owned restaurants, local florists and quaint specialty antique and gift shops which have been sitting quietly on the highway for years, catering to locals and visitors.
Huntley Meadows Park, one of the largest nature preserves in Northern Virginia and a best kept secret, sits just west of the Highway. Spacious Fort Hunt Park, a former WW II prisoner of war camp, is another option nearby with its summer evening concert series, a great way to end a day after dinner and shopping.
I would encourage a visit to Richmond Highway to see all that has been happening.
Yes, some of the old favorites are still there but check out some of the new national restaurants that have arrived, many easy on the pocket book and parking is plentiful. You may just discover a new favorite. Dont be surprised if you spot a neighbor at one of these new venues in this fast growing region just south of the border.
Tom Shaw is a board member of the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation