Peake-Fairfax House


An historic Federal-period townhouse, the Peake-Fairfax House is on one of the loveliest streets in Old Town Alexandria. It is within walking distance of the town’s historic sites, shops, and many excellent restaurants that offer a wide range of cuisines. An important example of American period architecture, the home was carefully restored by its current owners.

The Peake-Fairfax House was built in 1816 by a wealthy Alexandria merchant, William Garner. In 1823 it became the residence of Humphrey Peake, Collector of the Port of Alexandria. By 1831, Dr. Orlando Fairfax, son of Thomas, the 9th Lord Fairfax, adopted 501 Cameron Street as his home and medical office.

The house front has the distinctive feature of two doors facing Cameron Street. One door opens into a large front room, now a library, where Dr. Fairfax treated patients. Before him, it was the office used by Humphrey Peake. The library features a fireplace, masterfully crafted cabinetry, ceiling to floor bookcases, and tall mahogany pocket doors. The library is open to guests.

The other front door served then, and now, as the private entrance to the house, via an impressive side hall. A classic arch with reeded pilasters and keystone, original to the house, separates the entry foyer from the stairway hall and sets the tone for the interior. Period arabesque bracketing on the stair carriage complements the original walnut banister and newel posts.

The formal dining room has a fireplace with an original mantel, a Regency style chandelier, and antiques of the Georgian and Federal periods, including period brass-trimmed saber-leg painted chairs around the long mahogany dining table, and an antique Persian carpet.

The kitchen wing was originally a separate house used as a summer kitchen and servants’ quarters. Joined to the main house about 1820, it is now a modern kitchen and informal breakfast area. A side door leads to Pitt Street and the parking patio, where guests have free off-street parking. A powder room is conveniently located in the kitchen wing, not far from the side door.

The stairway to the second floor is lined with paintings, and leads to the paneled entrance of the drawing room. This extraordinary room has been restored to its original style and elegance and is furnished with antiques of the period. Heart pine floors are offset by damask draperies tailored in London, an antique Persian carpet, period and contemporary paintings, objets d’art, and a marble fireplace with the original mantel. The drawing room is open to guests and their friends.

The master bedroom suite is on the drawing room floor, but closed to guests. Guest rooms are on the floor above, which is the second floor above street level.

Second floor rooms are not suitable for the disabled or those with cardio-vascular problems. Guests should also consider the stairs when packing!

The Palladian Suite is the premier guest suite, with three southern exposure windows on Cameron Street, and a window on Pitt Street. The warm light accentuates the Persian Isfahan carpet and Palladian blue walls. It features a king-size bed, an ensuite bathroom with vanity table, shower and bathtub.

The Poetry Suite, on the same floor, has a queen-size four-poster bed and looks out on Pitt Street. It has its own private bathroom next door with shower and bathtub. The suite is decorated with period antiques and paintings, including a 17th century English silk tapestry in a museum mount.

Both suites have flat screen television, wifi, hair dryers, ironing boards, and other amenities. Both suites have fireplaces, but code and insurance requirements prohibit guests having fires in them. There are tourist materials, maps, and other guides in each suite. Your hosts are happy to advise you about attractions in Alexandria and Washington, and will make restaurant reservations for you.

On the corner of Cameron and North Pitt Streets, the Peake-Fairfax House is a block from City Hall and King Street. A free bus runs up and down King Street, the main city thoroughfare, and to King Street station where the Metro takes you to downtown Washington in minutes. 

There is a large private garden alongside the house, and guests are welcome to spend time amidst the azaleas. The parking patio is next to the garden with room for two cars for free off-street guest parking. Of course, the hosts cannot be responsible for theft or damage to guest cars.

We look forward to meeting you, and we know you will enjoy the delights of Alexandria’s famous Old Town and of our historic home, the Peake-Fairfax House.

Dorothy & Chet Nagle

Peake-Fairfax House, Old Town Alexandria, bed and breakfast, Alexandria Virginia, rooms for rent, short term rental, Alexandria Virginia hotels, historic Virginia


Experience an historic 1816 home in Old Town Alexandria.