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Old Town Boutiques Celebrate Summer

Offers huge shopping extravaganza June 25, 27, 28.

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The Hour

The 21 independent stores in the Old Town Boutique District are celebrating summer with three days of special sales, gifts and events, June 26, 27 and 28.

Known for its one-of-a-kind, locally owned boutiques, the Old Town Boutique District offers a charming shopping and strolling experience that is an alternative to corporate chain stores and retail centers. The stores are different enough that they complement each other.

Events and discounts include Olive Oil tastings at La Cuisine, free lemonade and lip scrubs at Bellacara, candle design and personality match consultations at The Christmas Attic, free design consultations at Red Barn Mercantile, 25 percent off all summer baby wear at Apple Seed, and 25 percent off all Red, White and Blue at Diva Boutique.

"I think the beauty of Alexandria is the fact that many of the stores are privately owned and not chain stores, so you do find these pleasant surprises in the items you see," said Gossypia owner Amanda Lasker. Gossypia, which means "cotton" in Latin, specializes in eclectic clothing, turquoise and silver jewelry, Latin American folk Art, such as mini-nativities, Day of the Dead objects.

"I think the strength of our city is in the private stores. You tend to find more different things," she adds.

Alicia McCaslin, manager and buyer of Hysteria, says the advantage of choosing a boutique shop is that the owner has already "edited" the merchandise for its customers.

" I mean, we're doing a lot of the legwork of bringing these items so you don't have to do the research," she says. "We're using our eyes to select great gifts, or clothing or home items."

Hysteria, of 125 S. Fairfax St., offers contemporary women's clothing, accessories and jewelry with items like Royal Highnies, MZ Wallace bags and Jack Rogers sandals.

"There's a spirit here that's very unique for retail," said Victoria Vergason, owner of The Hour, which offers cocktail glassware and jewelry. "You can come to my store and get glassware, then you can go across the street and get some fancy underwear."

The Hour, at 1015 King Street, celebrates the art of the cocktail hour with the rebirth of cocktails. "It's bringing back the '40s, '50s and '60s flair but with a modern twist," she says.

She carries vintage cocktail glassware, handmade black lacquer trays, and designer collections. "My idea is to show the next generation how to throw glassware and trays and napkins together to be able to have your own parties at home."

"These are the longest days of the year," says Elizabeth Todd, owner of The Shoe Hive, 115 S. Royal St. "What better way to use the extra daylight than to shop at one of the region’s coolest shopping destinations?"