Pat’s Market and Unexpected Runners

On Sunday morning I went out for a 25-mile bike ride and ran into this little shop in the Belle Haven neighborhood of Alexandria, right across from a fancy, fru-fru-la-la-la country club.  I initially assumed the place had closed down years ago, but I peaked inside and the shelves looked fully stocked.  Then I did a little Googling and discovered that this place has great reviews on Yelp. Who would have known? I didn’t have a chance to go inside because it was about 7am on Sunday, but a quick read-through of the signs on the front door and windows let me know that Pat’s Market is the kind of place where you can buy live bait, cold beer, international calling cards AND ceviche. I didn’t know places like that existed out outside of campgrounds, small towns and highway corridors!  As a result of long childhood road trips to campgrounds up and down the East Coast, I have a soft spot for convenience stores. I can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy every time I step into a good one. And by a good one I mean the kind that sells everything from beef jerky and cold sodas to maps (who uses maps nowadays???) to tacky key chains and postcards, wooden boxes with portraits of howling wolves (anyone else know what I’m talking about here?) and fishing gear. To me, nothing screams weekend in the outdoors like a convenience store that sells live bait and fishing gear. Oh, and if there’s a sandwich shop or diner on the other side of the shop, that’s an added bonus. So I plan on making my way back here sometime in the near future to check out the inside. Maybe Pat’s Market and the Faith Gospel Tabernacle Church can form a Relics of Northern Virginia Club?

Pat's Market from the outside. I decided to use a "tranfer iphone filter" here to add an appropriate vintage touch.

Pat’s Market from the outside. I decided to use a “transfer iphone filter” here to add an appropriate vintage touch. It doesn’t look like much on the outside, but it seems you can buy pretty much anything in here.

The Belle Haven Country Club. This is pretty much across the street from Pat's Market. Came out a little crooked. Oops.

The Belle Haven Country Club. This is pretty much across the street from Pat’s Market.

As I mentioned above, I went on a 25-mile bike ride on Sunday morning. I was up by 6 and out of the house by 6:30 because the trails get crowded on weekends, especially nice weekends, and I wanted a little solitude. Even though I have great difficulty getting up during the week, I have no problem getting up at the crack of dawn on weekends…I guess I don’t want to miss a single minute of sunlight on my days off. I rode from my house to Four Mile Run and then took the Mount Vernon Trail to Dangerfield Island in Alexandria before taking a leisurely ride through Old Town and heading south on the Mount Vernon Trail towards the Belle Haven neighborhood. It’s a very strange feeling, being the sole biker in Old Town Alexandria. Usually the place is teeming with visitors but it turns out that if you can get there before 7am, there aren’t many people around! As I was biking it dawned on me that I have a pretty sweet living situation right now. I work full-time and have a part-time internship so I don’t get to explore as much as I’d like during the week, but it turns out I’m a 10-minute bike ride to Arlington, a 15-minute ride to Old Town and a 25-minute ride to D.C. Anyway, my spring euphoria is starting to settle a bit and I promise this will be the last in my rash of look what I did posts, at least for a while. But before I make that committment, here are some more pictures of what I did this weekend…

I got to Dangerfield Island/Marina right as the sun was coming up. If only I could get up with as much enthusiasm during the week.

I got to Dangerfield Island/Marina right as the sun was coming up. If only I could get up with as much enthusiasm during the week.

I can't really remember where this picture was taken, but it was probably somewhere near Dangerfield Marina. I think once the sun starts coming up earlier I'm going to try to start  doing early moring bike rides.

I can’t really remember where this picture was taken, but it was probably somewhere near Dangerfield Marina. I think once the sun starts coming up earlier I’m going to try to start thinking about going on early morning bike rides during the week. I’m not really prepared to commit to more than thinking about it right now though.

The Mount Vernon Trail South of Dangerfield Island.

The Mount Vernon Trail South of Dangerfield Island.

It tunrs out that marshes kind of look like fancy abstract are close up.

It turns out that marshes kind of look like fancy abstract art close up. Full disclosure: Process filter used here.

When I got to the Belle Haven Neighborhood (I love this neighborhood…it’s like being in Mayberry) I stopped by Dunkin Donuts for a cappuccino and breakfast. I’m not proud, but it was there and I was hungry. I then decided to explore Belle Haven on bike with my cappuccino in hand. After the first bump in the road it became apparent this was a very bad idea because I spilled coffee all over myself.  Feeling discouraged, I decided to head back but got stuck on the wrong side of the George Washington Parkway. It turns out the GW Parkway 5k/10-miler race was happening and crossing the GW Parkway to get back on the Mount Vernon Trail would be a difficult task. People were hanging out on the median cheering the runners on and I decided to join in on the festive atmosphere for a while. Seeing all the fit, attractive, disciplined looking people running by almost made me consider taking up running while I enjoyed by Dunkin Donuts egg/bacon/cheese bagel (definitely not very healthy of me) but then I remembered how much I hate running. I’d much rather watch people run than actually run myself. When I got back to Old Town, the streets were full of runners and Old Town emptiness was no more. I’m so excited for the next six months of bike-friendly weather!

The poor guy on the otherside of street looks like he just doesn't know what to do. I guess he wasn't expecting thousands of runners to be blocking his way.

The poor guy on the other side of street looks like he just doesn’t know what to do. I guess he wasn’t expecting thousands of runners to be blocking his way.

 



Categories: Alexandria, Biking, D.C, DC Area Outdoors Activities, Fitness, Outdoors, The Urban Anthropologist Files, Virginia

Tags: , , , , ,

8 replies

  1. I’ve never noticed Pat’s Market ~ probably because I’m too busy gawking at the Country Club and the beautiful golf course. Will have to look for Pat’s next time I go by there.

  2. 25 miles?!?! Wow. Also, what are you doing an internship in?

  3. You go girl! What a run and what great sights you covered!

  4. First of all I am glad you are a fellow Dunkin drinker. This obsession needs to spread and take over! Lol! Anyways this post is really making me want to get some outdoor time in today. I was debating going for a run after work and I think this post just may have convinced me to do it. You gave me the nudge I needed! Thank you for that. Can’t wait to hear about Pat’s Market when you finally get to check it out. I am curious if they have coke glass bottles because those really are the best!

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