Friday, December 30, 2011

Old Town Alexandria walkabout; Part I: The Torpedo Factory

Diaristfamily has the days between Christmas and New Year's Day off from work.  Your diarist has been using the mornings to go ice skating thereby allowing diaristwoman the luxury of sleeping late into the morning.  After returning from yesterday's session at the rink (I won't bore you with a lot of moaning about falls or post any pix on my spectacular bruises--just use your imagination) we decided we needed a day trip.  We hadn't been to Alexandria, Virginia in a while so that's where we went.  As usual, your diarist took way too many photos of our wanderings through out the old part of the town so I'll break them up over the next couple of days.
After parking the car we walked downhill on King Street towards the Potomac River.  Alexandria is just over the river from Maryland and is an easy 45 minute drive from out house.  Here we see the exterior of the former U.S. Naval Torpedo factory which is right on the river front.
As the name suggests, this building was a site of torpedo construction during the second world war.  This display of a Mk XIV submarine torpedo and period artifacts briefly describes those times.  This particular torpedo had a range of 4500 yards and a top speed of 46 knots.  It retains the bright green color used during test runs for easy sighting and recovery. 
That was then; now this huge, airy three story building has been converted into a center for local artists and the town's archaeology finds.

This Dromedary was one of several Christmas animals which the artists had built for the holiday season.
Other animals included this elephant

A zebra

A hippo

This giraffe

and even a human animal.
The old factory building has been broken into a collection of artist's lofts.  The artistic talents on offer run through various disciplines including ceramics, weaving, graphic art, painting, sculpting, and jewelry making.  Opportunities to speak with the various artists abound as do opportunities to purchase their work.
Some of the lofts are quite small while others are expansive as is the case of this painter's studio.

She has a wonderful view over the Potomac looking back at the Maryland shore.
Around the next corner I encountered more animals, this time "Christmas" fish.
Even the duct work had fish!
Evert Hill's loft had a number of eye catching geometric paintings on display.
The Alexandria Archaeology Center had a number of interesting displays including this one which encouraged hands-on interaction.
Of course, this being America, there were T-shirts, etc. on offer to satisfy shopping urges at all price points.  Your diarist was sorely tempted by the soft toy version of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" seen on the display below the T-shirts.  However just as I was reaching for my wallet, the mobile phone rang: diaristwoman, who had already moved on to a clothing shop up the street from the torpedo factory, was on the other end and was wondering what was taking so long and what on earth was I looking at (this time)?!

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