I may be biased, but I think Old Town is one of the most unique neighborhoods in the US. The history, the cobblestone streets, and, of course, the houses. There really is no place like it. Even though I have lived here 17 years I am always noticing new and interesting homes that I have never seen before.
I also have one of the best commutes around. I walk seven blocks from my home to the store up one of the most beautiful streets, South Fairfax. If you watched the much-hyped PBS series “Mercy Street” this fall, the main character’s furniture factory is still standing, and right on my walk, along with homes of some of the leading citizens of what was a bustling seaport in colonial America.
Luckily for all of us, we can tour many of these historic homes during Alexandria’s Historic Garden Week Home Tour on Saturday, April 23 from 10 am to 4 pm.
I happen to know one of the owners on this year’s tour, Ashley Chamberlain.
As I sat down to write this introduction I realized not only do we have the most beautiful neighborhood, Alexandria is home to the most beautiful people — both inside and out.
I know I am beginning to sound redundant, but it is true! If you have ever met Ashley you know that she is absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. She’s the kind of person that rolls out of bed, has on no make-up and looks perfect. But of course, it doesn’t stop there. She is kind, genuine, and when you talk to her she has that way of making you feel like you are the only one in the room.
Ashley has three gorgeous children and happens to be married to a graduate of my alma mater, Ohio University. This school tends to produce so of the most fun people around, and Sam continues this time-honored tradition.
So if you are looking for a great day in Alexandria, log on to vagardenweek.org for tickets. It is a great way to spend the day. See beautiful homes, maybe have lunch, and don’t forget to stop in some of the great stores.
How do you spend your time? I have three kids (8, 6 & 2) that are all still in a very hands-on stage. We’ve also been working on our house, renovations and other small projects, for the last two years. The combination of everyone’s activities keeps us pretty busy!
Neighborhood: Old Town
How long have you lived in Alexandria: 15 years
What is your hometown? Springfield, Virginia
What brought you to Alexandria? I bought a condo at the North End of Old Town about 15 years ago.
What would surprise people about you? I am a bit of a homebody. I do love to travel and a good adventure, but sometimes I have to push myself to leave my comfort zone.
You’re a superhero: what’s your superpower? The power to heal. Definitely.
Favorite cocktail: I’m really loving sparkling wine at the moment…Champagne, prosecco, cava.
Last book read or movie seen: When Breath Becomes Air
Guilty Pleasure: Grande 5-pump no-water chai latte from Starbucks.
Phrase you overuse: “I am going to give you to the count of three.”
Facebook or Instagram? Facebook. I just created an Instagram account last week, but I haven’t figured out how to use it.
Latest binge-watch: Bloodline. It gave our spring break trip to Key West a whole new meaning!
Bucket list travel destination: Italy
If you only could have one for the rest of your life: wine or coffee? I can’t believe I’m saying this… coffee.
The go-to piece in your wardrobe: Skinny jeans.
Favorite trend ever: Heels with denim.
Favorite current trend: Wearing white after Labor Day.
Beauty product you can’t live without: STRAIGHTENING IRON
Heels or flats? Heels…wedges actually!
Favorite room in your home: Our living room. We added a TV to the room this past winter and now it is the most happening place in the house! Build it and they will come!
Antiques, modern, or a mix? Definitely a mix! Genius decorator Maria Pollard has pushed me on this… and she was right!
Last item bought for your home: A very cool vintage bar for the living room.
Next planned purchase: Kitchen table.
Favorite way to entertain: It’s been a while since we’ve hosted something besides a play date! I do love a dinner party…as long as I don’t have to cook!
Clutter-free or well-lived in? Well-lived in. Mostly because clutter-free is not an option.
Wallpaper — yes, totally modern or no, so dated: Absolutely loving wallpaper!
Your go-to work-out: 30 minutes on the elliptical whenever I can slip it in.
Most fun way to exercise: Tennis
Group exercise or solo: Group. I need accountability. I find myself slinking off to the sauna at the gym instead of working out if someone isn’t expecting me. If you stay in long enough to sweat, it looks like you worked out! Good enough for me!
Fitness goal: To exercise 5 days a week.
Haven’t yet, but might be willing to try with coaching / encouragement: Hot Pilates with Megan Brown at mind the mat (maybe someday…).
Proudest fitness achievement: Just showing up. It’s hard for me. I don’t love to exercise, but I feel so good when I make it happen.
Favorite spot in Alexandria: Fontaine & Sushi Momo. Family favorites. Our kids beg to go.
Last purchase in Alexandria: A sweater from shoe hive. It’s not just for shoes!
Best coffee / happy hour / date night spot: Grape and Bean for all occasions…and we do end up at Landini’s quite a bit!
Favorite charity: There are a lot people in Alexandria doing a lot of good work, SCAN, The Carpenter’s Shelter, to name to name a few. A friend recently founded the National Breast Center Foundation and I really think they are going to change the face of the disease and treatment! Exciting stuff.
Favorite annual Alexandria event: The Scottish walk. I’ve been coming since I was a little girl!
Photo Credit: Sarah Marcella Photography
Heard the buzz? The Shoe Hive & The Hive are a pair of luxury boutiques in Old Town Alexandria. Featuring both big name designers like Rag & Bone and Stuart Weitzman and smaller brands like AGL and L'Agence, our unique selection and impeccable service are what set us apart.
The Shoe Hive The Hive
127 S. Fairfax Street 301 Cameron Street
Alexandria, VA 22314 Alexandria, VA 22314