Capitol File - - CONTENTS - BY TIM EBNER

There’s never been a bet­ter time to cross the Po­tomac.

Alexan­dria is the kind of city you’ll want to wan­der leisurely through, whether along the side streets, lined with Fed­eral-style row homes, or on King Street, which serves as the main drag for din­ing and shop­ping. Stroll the streets of Old Town, the his­toric down­town area, and you’ll feel as if you’ve trav­eled a cou­ple of cen­turies back in time. Another part of the city’s charm is its con­ve­nience—af­ter all, it’s just a stone’s throw across the river from the na­tion’s cap­i­tal.

If you like the water­front din­ing at Cantina Ma­rina, you’ll love Black­wall Hitch. Han­ker­ing for an evening by the har­bor? Head to Old Town’s Po­tomac water­front, opt for a seat on the pa­tio, and or­der a dozen oys­ters and a cold craft beer. Just as at Cantina Ma­rina, you’ll be able to take in the har­bor’s sights and sounds as the boats sail in the breeze amid the twin­kling lights. Plus, there’s plenty of fresh seafood, in­clud­ing jumbo lump crab cakes and fish tacos. Af­ter din­ner, head in­side to the res­tau­rant’s main stage to dance along­side lo­cal mu­si­cal acts, which per­form Thurs­day through Sun­day, start­ing at 9 5 Cameron St., Alexan­dria, 703-739-6090; the­black­wall­hitch.com

If you like the play­ful sum­mer style of Lilly Pulitzer, take a swing through Sara Camp­bell.

A lo­tus­land for prep­sters, Old Town’s Sara Camp­bell is a shop­ping des­ti­na­tion that ri­vals Lilly Pulitzer and Vine­yard Vines for flowery prints and preppy de­signs. This is your go-to spot for polka dots, nau­ti­cal stripes, and pais­ley prints. 320 Prince St., Alexan­dria, 703-996-9074; sara­camp­bell­web­site.com

If you like the sea­sonal Amer­i­can fare (and mood light­ing!) at Birch & Bar­ley, check out Evening Star Cafe. This is your quin­tes­sen­tial neigh­bor­hood spot for week­end brunch. Lo­cated in Del Ray, the diner serves up mouth­wa­ter­ing chicken and waf­fles, and it’s no won­der—the res­tau­rant is run by the same folks who run Birch & Bar­ley, another hot spot for this sa­vory South­ern sta­ple. 2000 Mt. Ver­non Ave., Alexan­dria, 703549-5051; eveningstar­cafe.net

If you like the el­e­gant tast­ing menu at Komi, make a rezzie at Res­tau­rant Eve. Chef Cathal Arm­strong’s “nour­ish the palate” mantra at Res­tau­rant Eve man­i­fests it­self in a five- or seven-course pro­gres­sive menu that fea­tures lo­cal pro­duce from the sur­round­ing Ch­e­sa­peake and Shenan­doah re­gions. Just as at Komi, each dish is steeped in old-world charm while adding a touch of modern Amer­i­can whimsy. 110 S. Pitt St., Alexan­dria, 703-706-0450; restau­ran­teve.com

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