Mount Vernon Day Trip Itinerary

Chicken and biscuits, kayaking with a golden retriever (ok golden not included), and walking the grounds of POTUS1 all in one day?  Yes, please!  A few things Virginia is not short of is good southern food, outdoor adventures, and historic experiences.  Add dog friendly to this and I'm game.  

Speaking of which, this post is dedicated to day trip suggestions (mostly dog friendly) including POTUS 1's home, Mount Vernon (MV).  While I've visited MV countless times (I grew up in Virginia!), I never visited with my dogs.  Did you know they have a dog specific walking tour in the fall and spring?  Big thank you to the kind people at MV for inviting us with our pups recently.

See below for day trip suggestions including a google map to visualize locations and help plan your next visit!

How to start your day

1. Eat breakfast/brunch in Old Town Alexandria: We ate on Jackson 20's dog friendly patio in Old Town Alexandria to start.  Our recommendation: chicken and biscuits or chicken and waffle and don't forget to add a hash brown. 

Aspen gawking at the chicken and biscuits

Koa being nervy at the table

2. Old Town Farmers' Market: While the market isn't dog friendly, you can tag team with a buddy between going into the market and staying with your pup(s).

3. Outdoor activities: Too many to list just one.  Here are my favorite options for the morning:

- Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve: Kayak the marsh or walk the 1.8 mile path. 

- Walk around Old Town: Start on any street and go!

- Walk, run, bike, etc. the Mount Vernon trail: The Mount Vernon Trail spans 18 miles from Theodore Roosevelt Island to Mount Vernon hugging the Potomac River along its path. Aspen and Koa especially like it for bird watching. 

Mount Vernon

Next stop: Mount Vernon!  Roughly 15 miles from DC and 8 from Old Town, Mount Vernon is perfect for families, dogs, and history buffs alike.  Get there by car or even by boat (through a third party, not dog friendly). The property offers various activities daily: touring the museum/education center, walking the gardens and farm, touring the Mansion, and perusing countless exhibits. If this is your first time, plan to spend 3-4 hours minimum. 

The best part is that dogs are allowed around the property except inside the historic buildings/Mansion (so plan to take turns with family/friends going inside). 

How to end your visit

After touring POTUS 1's property, I recommend a pitstop at The Dairy Godmother for frozen treats for both you and your pup(s) OR Nicecream for a different twist on traditional ice cream (a heavenly one - try Key Lime Pie and Nutella). If you're not up for ice cream, my husband always looks to see if the hot sign is turned on at the Krispy Kreme outside of Old Town Alexandria on route 1.

If you have more energy to burn, watch planes take off/land during sunset at Gravelly Point or walk the trails at Huntley Meadows Park (please note: the boardwalk is not dog friendly).

I hope you find these suggestions helpful! Do you have anything to add to the list?

    Local Preview: Aldie, Virginia & Delaplane, Virginia

    As part of our year long goal to visit every Virginia state park, we headed west to Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane and stopped in Aldie along the way.  

    Sky Meadows State Park: I've been to Sky Meadows multiple times and must say it's one of our favorite spots in Northern Virginia.  It's surprising how few people visit this park, located just 60 miles from DC and closer than Shenandoah National Park with miles of trails, cows, chickens (new!), campsites, ponds for fishing, and more.  If you haven't been, and especially if you have kids, put it on your to do list for the summer but be sure to dress accordingly; Aspen and Koa came back with more ticks than I've ever seen.  I think we're going to see a bad tick season if this weekend is any preview (ugh! tips for combatting them welcomed).

    Aldie Mill: I took the long way via route 50 and finally stopped at Aldie's historic Mill.  So glad we did as it was pet friendly!  The two tour guides couldn't have been more generous; they saw me snapping pictures of Koa and Aspen near the mill and told us to come in for the next tour.  It's a quick tour but perfect for kids because you see how the mill works and you even get to touch the grain produced by their short demo.

    Here's a preview of our weekend but more to come -

    Koa and Aspen sit inside one of the fireplaces at historic Aldie Mill.

    Koa enjoys the cow from a distance.



    Alexandria Family Session: Feat. Tanner the Golden Puppy

    She emailed me about taking pictures of their newest addition: a 10 week old golden retriever puppy named Tanner.  Yes, please?  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't completely jealous of this couple. From their outfits to adorable Tanner, I wanted it all.  And can we just look at that fluff ball?  I just wanted to squeeze him (who doesn't feel like this when seeing a cute puppy?). 

    We played around Belle Haven Marina before heading to historic Old Town Alexandria where Tanner didn't fall asleep once.  I mean check out that epic running/Baywatch picture of Tanner; I died.  Thank you both for asking me to document this special time - before you know it, Tanner will be a big beast like Koa yet act as if his size hasn't changed!