It's become an annual winter tradition in Old Town, and one with clearly defined steps:

  1. Wake up bright and early on a Saturday morning.
  2. Make your way to the Masonic Template in the bitter cold.
  3. Find great bargains from many of Old Town's best boutique shops!

Yes, it's that time of year again, and as I'm typing this up the annual Old Town 2013 Boutique Warehouse Sale is in full swing. We actually just got home a bit ago with bags in hand, full of our loot. I can tell you two things about today's sale. It was extremely cold outside and there were lots of hot deals inside.

You all know how much we love and support the various local merchants in Old Town and the Alexandria area, so it's very important to us that we mention events like this on our blog. Even if you're not a local reader, we hope some of the things you see might inspire you to pay a visit to Old Town. The cool thing about this event, put on by the Old Town Boutique District, is that so many of our favorite stores are in one place and have some really great markdowns on their items. In fact, it's so popular that there's always a pretty significant line of people waiting to get inside an hour or more before the sale opens at 9:00am. Just look at this photo of loyal shoppers snapped nearly an hour before the sale officially opened! That's serious dedication, but it comes as no surprise, shopping can be a serious endeavor.

We arrived early this year to take some photos of the event and to say hello to several of the vendors, some of whom participated in our Christmas 12 Days giveaway. It was great to see everyone buzzing around and getting their booths ready, and it was very cool to see some of the behind the scenes set up that takes place to get ready for this very energetic event.

There are actually three primary areas set up for vendors. Each has its mix shops that primarily revolve around clothing, shoes, accessories, and home goods. The first is a perimeter hallway area where the vendors line either side. Many of the jewelry vendors are along this area.

The second primary area is in the central lower room of the building. If this looks familiar, this is also where the Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend's "Taste of Scotland" scotch tasting is held.

And the final room is an area just off of the hallway near the exit and has a mix of clothing, accessories, shoes, and home items.

Though there are simply too many things throughout the area to cover it all in this blog post, here are just a couple of the great items that caught my eye while we wandered the floor.

I browsed the racks and accessories table at Zoe Boutique in search of some stylish new additions to my wardrobe.


This hammered bracelet from Dolce Collection called my name as I walked past... did their Chevron Bucket. I can definitely see it fitting in nicely at a beach house, maybe holding some ice and a few beers?

One of our King Street favorites, Olio, had their olive oil tasting station setup and ready to go.

I absolutely loved these Beauty/Beast pillow cases from Stuart Nordin Design. I wonder who might get which in our house. Any guesses? Choose carefully. 

Check out this super cute and tiny little tartan dress from the children's boutique, Pink & Brown!

And there were so many cool things on one of Red Barn Mercantile's tables. I wanted that large lantern, but I just couldn't think of a good place for it in our home.

When the doors finally opened the shoppers, who had been patiently waiting for the bargin hunting opportunities to begin, flooded into the area. These are literally the first people to enter, and they had the look of deal finding in their eyes, I could see it. 

If you're wondering, no, we didn't blur this photo for effect.

I overhead several of women exclaim, "Quick...TO THE SHOES!" And that's exactly where they went.

Before we knew it the area was swimming with bargain hunters and deal seekers, all looking for the just-can't-miss opportunities to get what their hearts desired. I'll tell you one thing for sure, shoes, boots, heels, flats, you name it, they were being tried on!

If there's one thing about me, I'm a horribly indecisive shopper. This makes sales like today's very difficult for me. You need to be ready to make quick decisions on purchases and you can't agonize over something for too long or it will surely be gone. For this reason, I tend to gravitate towards things that I'm usually more comfortable with, home decor and jewelry accessories to be specific. 

I don't know why, but I can make a split second decision much easier when I'm looking over a candle, pillow, tray, bracelet, or earrings than I can when I'm considering a pair of shoes, pants, or a top. It definitely makes my clothes shopping much more difficult on Alex, but he's a trooper. Today, I stuck with what I know.

I found these great chandelier earrings from Top it Off Accessories. Just $10, and that's including tax!

I spotted this great little pillow very early on over in Red Barn Mercantile's section, so I went make to officially make the purchase before someone else snapped it up.

I know it looks red in the photo, and it did in person too, but the lighting was somewhat low and it's actually pink. The heart is perfect for the time of year so I did the deed and made the purchase, but I very well may have a pillow addiction that I will have to eventually deal with.

I also love to shop for the children (or soon to be children) of friends. There's something simply irresistible about tiny and adorably cute clothing! Look at these adorable mittens, also from Pink & Brown.

All told I emerged from the hulking masonic structure's stone and metal doorway with my bags in hand and happy to have uncovered a few great items. I think it's also worth pointing out that I did see my shadow, so I guess we'll have six more weeks of winter.

Though I wasn't like some of the women I overhead asking if they could "run their first bundle of bags to the car and then be let back in," I feel like I had a pretty good shopping day. I scored the pillow from Red Barn, the earrings from Top it Off Accessories, and a little ceramic pear vase, also from Red Barn, that will be perfect for a nightstand or end table. 

And now, we're already looking forward to next year's event!

If you're around the area today and are looking for something to do, be sure to drop by the George Washington Masonic Temple at the top of King Street in Old Town. The sale is going on until 4:00pm, but the earlier you get there the more deals there are to be had. 

Comments 7


2/2/2013 at 2:16 PM
This was my third year. It's always a good time, just crazy enough to feel frenzied without it being an all out panic ;) I'm all about the accessories like shoes and fun jewelry because I don't have the patience to try on clothes there.
I agree. It find it really hard to try on clothes, although you certainly see women trying. I hope you found some good deals today, Alison!
Amy Esmond Rutherford
2/2/2013 at 6:10 PM
Great post! Hope you had fun. I have to say I'm amazed by your restraint. Enjoy your goodies!
2/2/2013 at 10:21 PM
Loved meeting you in person today and so happy you had a great time at the sale! Thanks for being such wonderful champions of small, locally owned businesses in Alexandria!
It was so great to meet you too! We hope you had a really successful day at the sale. :-)
Old Town Home
2/3/2013 at 9:39 AM
Thank, Amy Esmond Rutherford! And I don't know that I can call it "restraint" -- unfortunately I think it's shopping indecision. :-) (I get it honestly from my mom.)
2/5/2013 at 11:23 AM
Olio was the deal on their addictive vinegars.
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