We have somehow passed Occoquan countless times on our way to Washington, D.C. without knowing it existed. Alex was scheduled to travel to D.C. for a meeting (the first trip in almost a year of what was a regular occurrence prior to COVID). We used the short trip as an opportunity for Alice and I to tag along. (One of the few virtues of virtual Second Grade is that it packs easily in a backpack.) Instead of Alex staying in a hotel, we used the Airbnb map to find an apartment to rent outside of the Metro Area, and found Occoquan.
As far as accommodations go, B&Bs are the only options in town. Our small apartment rental was part of a group of Airbnbs in the same building, located above an art studio and Thai restaurant.
We visited during the annual Chocolate Walk, which would usually be a one-day crowd-drawing event. This year, the event went mostly virtual, but still offered a stamp collection passport contest for shopping.
The centerpiece of town is the Occoquan River, connected to the Potomac to the east. There’s a public walkway waterside marinas, kayaking, and scuba diving lessons in the summer. Informational signage shows the footprint of the original Mill that once drove the economy of the town.
Shopping and dining are the main attractions in Occoquan, home to only small businesses.
At Nazbro Chocolates we were provided endless samples of fudge, and the owner shared the secret to making the best dark chocolate.
Mom’s Apple Pie Bakery served some of the best desserts we’ve ever had, and had an extensive wine and beer collection, breads, and deli salads. If there’s one place that I had to get stuck during a snowstorm for a week, it would be here.
At the end of the blog i’ve listed some of the retail businesses in Occoquan. Many offer delivery, so I highly encourage shopping “local”, even if it’s not local to you.
Traffic to DC was nearly nonexistent, so we made it to downtown in less than 30 minutes. It was a return to one of our favorite cities after a year of world changing events. We used it as an opportunity to celebrate Black History month, starting at the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial. Quotes on the walls around the memorial provided a guide for our conversation with Alice about the Civil Rights Movement. From there we went to the Lincoln Memorial. The highlight of our short visit was the temporary installation of a portrait of Kamala Harris celebrating the many barriers broken by her election as Vice President. The walk to the Black Lives Matter Plaza took us along the perimeter of the White House grounds, surrounded by fencing that makes previously walkable areas inaccessible.