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 a range of 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, Dorothy and Chet Nagle.


An architectural gem with period detailing, 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, illustrious Dr. Orlando Fairfax, son of Thomas, 9th Lord Fairfax, had adopted 501 Cameron Street as his home and medical office.


The front of the house has always had 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 an office used by Humphrey Peake. The library features a fireplace, masterfully crafted cabinetry, ceiling to floor bookcases, and tall mahogany pocket doors that match those in the dining room. The library is open to guests.


The other front door served then, as it does 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. Decorative arabesque bracketing on the stair carriage, a period detail, complements the original walnut banister and newel posts.


The formal dining room, where guests have breakfast, 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 of the house 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 may have off-street parking. The downstairs powder room is conveniently located in the kitchen wing, not far from the side door. Guests may take refreshments from the kitchen at all hours.


The stairway to the second floor is lined with paintings, and leads to the paneled doorway of the main drawing room. This extraordinary room is furnished with antiques of the period, and has been restored to its original style and elegance. The heart pine floors are offset by luxurious damask draperies tailored in London, a large antique Persian carpet, paintings and objets d’art, and a marble fireplace with an original mantel. Dorothy and Chet invite guests to join them for a glass of wine, or other beverages, and an informal chat during one evening of their stay. The drawing room is always open to guests.


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


Third 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 another window on Pitt Street. The warm light accentuates the Persian Isfahan carpet and Palladian blue walls. It features a king-size bed, and the ensuite bathroom has a large vanity table, full 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 a private full bathroom next door with full shower and bathtub. The suite is delightfully decorated with antiques and paintings appropriate to the period, including an unusual 17th century English silk tapestry in a museum mount.


Both suites have local television, wifi internet capability, hair dryers, ironing boards, and other amenities. Both third floor suites also have fireplaces, but local code and insurance requirements prohibit guests making fires in them. There are tourist materials, maps, and other useful 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 Street, the Peake-Fairfax House is one block from City Hall square and King Street. A free bus takes visitors up and down King Street, the main city thoroughfare, and to King Street station of the Metro that takes you to downtown Washington in minutes. 


There is a large private garden alongside the house, and guests are welcome to spend time relaxing amidst the azaleas. The parking patio is next to the garden and will accommodate two cars for off-street parking—with advance notice to the hosts. In the rare instance that the parking area may not be available for guests with cars, a city street parking tag will be provided for the length of stay, at no cost. Of course, we cannot be responsible for theft or any damage or losses to your car or vehicle.


Breakfast is served from 8am to 11am in the formal dining room, and includes coffee, regular and herbal teas, yogurt, a wide choice of breakfast cereals, two kinds of organic fruits, jam, butter, and organic breads.  Fresh-baked croissants are also offered.


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


Dorothy & Chet Nagle












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Experience an historic 1816 bed & breakfast in Old Town Alexandria.

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