My husband Mark and I moved into Old Town two days before we were married in October of 1999. Our first home was a family property on 300 block of Wilkes Street in what we lovingly called “Tunnel Town.” Mark grew up on Fairfax Street and knew our new zip code like the back of his hand. While I’m an Alexandria native as well, there were many firsts when I moved into the heart of Old Town. Right after my first Lee Street Halloween, I was about to experience another seasonal event in my new neighborhood.
I can almost remember what my life was like before my children. There were evenings spent in DC where we would try a new restaurant, go listen to live music at venues like Blues Alley, get up after 9am and head out for a late breakfast or brunch…time was on our side and the weekends held unending possibilities. Flashback to a memorable morning in early December of 1999 after a very late night, I recall waking up to the sounds of voices that seem to be coming from our front yard. We were tucked in off of the street between two other homes and the sound amplified right up to our bedroom windows on the front of the house. I made an effort to try and ignore the conversations as I was struggling to sleep in.
Sadly for me, it was a war that would not be won. The sound of bagpipes seemed to be coming from underneath our pillows. It was starting to sound like there was a party going on directly below us at an hour where I thought most people should be sleeping. Feeling both dazed and confused, I managed to ask Mark what was going on outside…in so many words. I’m certain it threw him as well, but he finally responded, “They must be setting up for the Scottish Walk…”
That was my induction into what would soon become a favorite holiday tradition. It was also the beginning of a new era for me. By the following year, my daughter was 3 months old and hedonistic behaviors like sleep were well in my rearview mirror. As a new mom, I became familiar with the early hours of the day and started documenting the abundance of “firsts” behind the lens of a camera. Living in a town where parades are the norm is something you come to cherish, especially when you have young children.
Watching the regalia of pipe and drum bands, Scottish dancers, re-enactment groups, Scottie dog clubs and, of course, Santa Claus, you feel as though you’ve stepped into a Norman Rockwell painting. The Scottish Walk is Old Town at one of its most festive moments: kids, dogs, and kilts for as far as the eye can see. Residents deck the halls and put the spirit of Christmas front and center as they open their homes to the designer home tours and private gatherings for neighbors.
Proper attire for such a festive weekend of activities couldn’t be easier. You can either choose to go mad for plaid, layer for the weather, or keep it casual. There really is no right or wrong for a parade day. There’s no need to look any further than the men in kilts. You’ll see everything from corded jackets to fisherman sweaters. I’m hoping for dry, crisp weather this year so I can use my blanket wrap from The Shoe Hive! I’ve put a similar Standard Form blanket wrap with an oversized grey sweater and some black leggings here. As far as footwear goes, let the weather be your guide. I chose the Tory Burch duck boot for a casual finish to this look along with a pair of iLux socks.