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Neighborhoods: Old Town

Where To Start? My old City Editor always used to say, "Start at the beginning, silly."

Good advice, so let's go.

The Historic Alexandria Foundation holds center stage for a large part of this spring, starting with a really big deal (aren't they all?) that HAF is cosponsoring with the City of Alexandria. This two-day affair, May 4-5, is an historic preservation conference. Renowned author and writer William Seale, an HAF emeritus member, will speak May 4 at 7 p.m. at St. Paul's Church, with a reception to follow at Gadsby's Tavern. May 5, the venue shifts to the First Baptist Church on King Street, where speakers, including preservation expert and author Donovan Rypkema, will talk about (what else?) preservation and the importance it plays in our social fabric. Registration deadline is April 20 ($25 per person). Visit the HAF Web site at www.historicalalexandriafoundation.org or call 703-549-5811 for more information.

More HAF News: The group's annual meeting and garden party is set for Sunday, June 3, at the home of Mrs. Charles R. Hooff Jr. from 4 to 6 p.m. Winners of preservation/restoration grants will be announced and (between sipping and snacking) officers will be elected.

A Very Special Spring Event: The Alexandria Association and the Carlyle House Historic Park, along with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority are putting final touches on their joint spring event. This venerable affair, whose proceeds benefit the restoration and preservation of Carlyle House, is set for Saturday, May 5. The invitation-only events include a "private sponsor" cocktail reception at the Bank of Alexandria Building,133 N. Fairfax; a tour of six historic homes from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and an evening reception on Carlyle House's Magnolia Terrace.

Architects and Fine Art: The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association will host a month-long show at the Atheneum from April 13 through May 15. In concert with the Washington Architectural Foundation and the Northern Virginia American Institute of Architects, the show is called "Small Architects Dream Big: Architecture in the Schools." Gallery hours will be 11 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, call 703-548-0035.

<1b>— Bob Feldkamp