Y’all! Steve made a dream come true for my birthday this year. I know everyone’s talking about what a bummer 2020 has been, especially for birthday’s, but I think 2020 has been one of my best years yet. I know this was one of my best birthdays ever!
So why was it so amazing? Because your favorite traveling history nerd (that’s me) finally got to stay at the George Washington Townhouse in my beloved Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. You read that right: George Washington actually slept there. The house is available on VRBO and Air BnB, but every time I’d looked at staying there previously, it was booked up for months in advance. Thanks to COVID, lots of people have chosen not to travel this year—opening up the house for us!
You’ve probably heard of Mount Vernon, which was George Washington’s official residence, but few people know that he also had a townhouse in Alexandria, the closest “big city” where he often traveled to conduct business. Today, you can drive between Mount Vernon and Old Town Alexandria in about 20 minutes, but in the 18th century, the journey would have taken closer to 6-8 hours. It was actually faster to travel upriver by boat! So since he was going all that way and spending all that time, he needed a place to stay while he was there.
Read next: What to Do in D.C. for History Lovers
So, in the 1760s, he designed a house and had it built on this site. Unfortunately, the actual house burned down in the 1950s (or 1960s; I’ve seen conflicting accounts!). Fortunately, the stone foundation is the same, and it was rebuilt as closely to the original plans as possible! Thank goodness the General was an excellent note keeper! He used the house as an office and a place to stay when he was in town. When he wasn’t in town, he let friends stay here when the rooms at Mount Vernon were full (and they often were quite full of uninvited guests). He also sometimes rented it out longer-term for friends and family.
He left the house to his beloved Martha in his will. Interestingly, it was the first item mentioned in his will, and the fact that he gave it to Martha, a woman, was a big deal at the time! When I was a tour guide in Old Town a few years ago, this was one of my favorite stops to talk about, and one of my guests’ favorite stops, to hear about!
The GW Townhouse is located on Cameron Street, right in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. Staying here, you’ll be just steps away from all the best shopping and restaurants, King Street, the Waterfront, parks, and my favorite running spot: the Mount Vernon Trail! You’re also just a one mile walk to the King Street Metro, so getting into D.C. in a breeze on the Yellow or Blue Line!
This is a two bed, two bath home with a lovely courtyard and its own off-street parking place! You really can’t ask for better in Old Town!
This home has two good-size bedrooms on the top floor (third floor). They share a bathroom and boast quite a bit of storage space.
There are two full bathrooms in the house: One upstairs on the third floor with the bedrooms and one on the ground floor/basement/first floor.
The kitchen is in the basement, along with the second bathroom and a second living area.
The Living Areas
There are two living areas: on the ground floor, or basement, and the second floor, in the middle of the house. Both were larger than expected and brighter than we thought we would find as well.
This large courtyard was much bigger than either of us expected!
More here: Your Ultimate Guide to Accommodations
I lived in Old Town for four years, and in that time, I quickly became the best parallel parker I know or ever will know. Parking is at an absolute premium in the entire D.C. area, so having an off-street, dedicated parking spot is like finding gold! Renters can access it via the alley on North Pitt Street.
What’s Provided and What’s Not
I’ll be totally honest with you. I have never had a positive experience with Air BnB, and I’ve had a few less than wonderful experiences with VRBO as well. So, I’m mighty inquisitive when I’m looking at places to stay! Therefore, for those of us who like to be especially prepared, here are the things you can expect to have waiting for you at the house, as well as the things you’ll need to bring for yourself.
- Bath Towels
- Bed Linens
- Extra Blankets and Pillows
- Keurig Coffee Maker
- K-cups (not guaranteed, but typically available)
- Dishes and Flatware
- Dish Detergent
- Washer and Dryer
- Various Sundries Left Behind by Previous Renters
- Soaps (including hand soap at sinks)
- Shampoo or Conditioner
- Daily Housekeeping
- Laundry Detergent or Fabric Softener/Dryer Sheets
Before you leave, the owner asks that you:
- Do not strip beds
- Wash Dishes You Used or Run Dishwasher
- Clean and Empty Outdoor Grill if Used
- Return all Items (Furniture, Games, Books, etc.) to Appropriate Locations
- Empty All Trash and put Trash and Recycling in Respective Bins Near Parking Spots Out Back
- Turn Off All Lights, Fans, TVs, etc.
- Lock the Door and Return Key to Lockbox
Get the scoop: Your Ultimate Guide to Vacation Rentals
You’re right in the middle of town, so you’ve got everything at your finger tips! I have posts coming out soon about the best coffee shops and where to eat in Old Town, so check back for those, as well as my post on Reasons to Love Alexandria!
- Trader Joe’s at 612 N St. Asaph Street (5 blocks away, or about 0.4 miles)
- CVS at 501 King Street (directly behind the GW Townhouse, less than 1 block away)
- Farmers’ Market at 301 King Street on Saturday mornings (2 blocks away)
Read next: 10 Reasons to Love Alexandria, Virginia
Want to stay for yourself? Check it out on VRBO!
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