All of Bittersweet's enormous cupcakes undergo a delicate upbringing from roots of real butter and other gourmet ingredients. Flavors range from classic chocolate to more inventive tastes such as PB&J, which is loaded with a strawberry filling core and given a top hat of peanut butter buttercream. If you prefer to paint your own cakesterpiece, customize a creation by pairing a cake flavor, such as lemon, coconut, or spice, with a buttercream flavor, such as orange, mint, or cream cheese frosting. Whether you phone in or drop in, be sure to peep through the bakery window on North Alfred Street and say hello to executive bakery chef Angel, who is known for melting the buttery hearts of swooning passersby by reciting romantic passages from the encyclopedia. With a dozen chances to spread your confectioned love, you won't have to play favorites with all the jury members.
Ten Thousand Villages in Alexandria is Northern Virginia's oldest Fair Trade retailer. Located on upper King Street since 1994, it has become the preferred source for gifts and home decor for many loyal customers in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax County, DC and beyond.
Walking into The Carlyle Club isn't quite time-travel, but it's not far off. Evoking both the look and feel of a swank, 1930s New York nightclub, the lounge and supper club combines swirling wallpaper, gilded mirrors, and lamp-lit tables with a robust entertainment calendar that encourages guests to strap on their dancing shoes and their singing-along snorkels.
Verdigris Antiques & Interiors sells high-quality antiques and vintage decorations from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Packed inside a converted row house in Old Town, Verdigris lets antiquers and vintage votaries hunt through aisles of treasures like great apes hunting for tree trunks where they can hang their hats. Look for a bargain among the wide array of items under $80, such as a set of six vintage Florentine barware glasses for $68 or a black glass dresser box from the 1930s for $55. If the thought of so much merchandise to sort through sounds overwhelming, peruse the online inventory, which showcases more expensive collector's items such as a 1960s mod Italian plastic dome table lamp ($275), a pair of late-19th-century Victorian slipper chairs ($450), and a midcentury tete-a-tete garden bench ($985).
In the shadow of national monuments and blooming trees, a chorus of camera shutters click while photographers usher once-fleeting moments into eternity. Premier Photo Tours' staff helps foster such experiences, giving shooters skills with which to go after their photographic pursuits. Each a combination of instructor and guide, the company's camera pros lead themed walks around town that teach kids and adults how to frame scenic shots or get a stubborn art sculpture to smile. Deeper instruction comes in the form of Photo Mentor classes for photographers who want to take a more artistic and technically savvy approach in any stage of their photography development. During any of Premier's sessions, snappers have the opportunity to build community with one another around their budding talents, which can be enhanced on group travel excursions to some of the world's most photogenic locales.