Thanksgiving Weekend in D.C.

Thanksgiving Weekend in D.C.

For Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to stay in D.C. and explore some more of the city. It was too far for me to go home back to Canada. Many people have asked me if Canada celebrates Thanksgiving. There is a Thanksgiving holiday in Canada, but it is observed on the second Monday of October. Canada’s Thanksgiving obviously doesn’t have the same beginnings as the American Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims at Plymouth, but there are some similarities with the foods that you eat and spending time with your family.  It has been fun celebrating two Thanksgivings here in D.C.!

Thanksgiving Lunch?

I am lucky to have some family friends that live in the D.C. area, so I spent Thanksgiving day with them.  It was a fun day in Virginia, and it was also nice to spend time with friends. We had a large Thanksgiving lunch since some people wanted to go Black Friday shopping, which of course, begins on Thanksgiving night now. All of the food was amazing, and I ate enough for lunch that I didn’t have to have dinner. My favourite was probably the turkey with stuffing, or the ham. I was also probably most happy that I didn’t have to cook that day or the next nights since there were so many leftovers that I brought home. Afterwards, I did go to a shopping mall, but I didn’t buy anything since I didn’t feel there was anything I needed or wanted to haul in my luggage back home.


That's just half the food!

Black Friday in Alexandria

Black Friday wasn’t spent at the malls since I was probably too afraid of the craziness of the crowds. Instead, I went with my friend Ha-young to Alexandria, Virginia. Alexandria is a historic city on the banks of the Potomac River. It was really easy to get there since there is a metro stop in the city, as well as a free trolley that brings you down one of the main streets. The city is really charming since the main streets still have historic buildings lining the sides.  It felt quite quiet in the city when we went, and maybe it was because many people went Black Friday shopping in the malls. My favourite sites were the Torpedo Factory Art Center and Carlyle House.


The Torpedo Factory Art Center on the waterfront was once an actual torpedo factory manufacturing and maintaining torpedoes after World War I. They even have an actual torpedo displayed inside the building.  Nowadays, the building houses various local artists and artisans with their studios. All the art was diverse from paintings, to jewelery, to sculptures. If you have the chance to go to Alexandria, make sure to check out this place!


The waterfront and docks in Alexandria


The green torpedo along with some artifacts


Carlyle House is a mansion located right next to Alexandria’s city hall building. The house was built by John Carlyle, a wealthy Scottish merchant who was a prominent figure in Virginia and was a close friend to George Washington. As the house was the centre of planning for British campaigns in the French and Indian War, many historic decisions were made in the house by military figures such as General Braddock and George Washington. In a tour of the house, we saw all the rooms and some of the original furniture of the home. Many of the floors had a type of painted canvas which was a popular covering of wood floors in wealthy homes during the 18th century. Wallpaper was also common, and we learned that homeowners wanted the seams in strips of wallpaper to be shown since the obvious demonstration of wallpaper on the walls was a display of wealth. It was interesting to know that the house fell into disarray for a few years. After being sold to various people, a hotel was built surrounding and covering the original house. Finally, in the 1970's, restoration was done bringing the Carlyle House to its current state.


In front of the Carlyle House


A painting of John Carlyle (I finally found out why so many portraits in that era had that pose!)


The main foyer showing the back entrance


The spinet (Carlyle's daughter shared the same music teacher with George Washington's family.)


Some of the original pieces of the house uncovered during restoration work


The entire city is very walkable, and you never know what historic buildings you may pass. Some of the streets still have stones on them, so cars drive pretty slowly. It is also a good shopping place, since there are many small boutiques selling almost everything you can imagine.


Some of the quieter streets


Alexandria's City Hall


One of the main streets


The George Washington Masonic National Memorial


A view of Alexandria at sunset


To wrap up, Thanksgiving is about being thankful for the things that you have in your life. So in closing, this year I am thankful for all the people that I have met in D.C. and all the students from around the world at TWC that I have had the pleasure of knowing, since you have all made my time here so exciting and fun.

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