If you're looking for something to do this weekend, we have just the thing for you. Saturday, September 24, marks the 70th annual Old Town tour of homes. This great home tour tradition in the historic district of Alexandria is sponsored by The Twig, an Old Town thrift shop that has been deeply involved in the community and the Inova hospital system for years. One of three annual home tours in Old Town (the other two are the spring garden tour and the Scottish Christmas Walk tour), it's a great way to enjoy a typically nice fall day and visit some unique and historic homes in the area. This particular home tour actually holds a special place for us.

Moving to Alexandria after graduating college in 2000, Wendy and I fell in love with Old Town. Within the first year, we started casually looking at the real estate market, hoping to be able to one day afford something in the area. We knew it was a dream that may have been unattainable, especially since prices were going up far faster than our savings possibly could, but we could dream nonetheless.

Our plan was to get married in October 2002 and start looking for a home just after. As we got closer to our wedding, Wendy surprised me one weekend and told me she had plans for us. I was instructed to just go along and to not ask questions. I obliged and was treated with a quick trip into Old Town for the 2002 Twig Tour of Homes.

The tour took us through some great homes, and it was actually the first time we had ever gone into any private residences in Old Town. The funny thing about this little trip was the fact that one of the home's backyards was actually adjacent to our future home. When we left that home we walked out of the back gate and saw a for sale sign on the front of what would become our house. I remember making a remark about it, something along the lines of "look at this house, it's for sale...what do you think?"

We didn't give much thought to it until we moved in about four months later. At that point we realized that several months earlier we had walked right past our future home, had walked through a neighbor's house, and had no idea the adventure we had ahead of us. 

We're looking forward to this year's tour and will be attending with our friend, Katie. Tickets are $40 on the day of the tour, but if you buy online today you will save yourself a few bucks with a $35 tickets.

As in previous years, the home tour's destinations have not been publicized, just that the tour will consist of six private residences within the Old Town historic district. Typically the homes are a mix of ages and styles, from simple to grand.

Thus far, through my sleuthing on the Internet, I believe we've been able to determine at least two of the houses on this year's tour. The first is the circa 1750 Duvall House in the 200 block of Cameron St. The home was recently purchased and renovated after sitting on the market for a very long time. Most recently it was an office space but lived a previous life as a local tavern popular with George Washington. I've loved this house for a while and can't wait to see the history (and renovation) inside.


Photo Credit: Jaybird's Jottings

I believe the second home is the very historic Dr. Craik house (using the Twig's Facebook photos as evidence, so I could be wrong). 

Apparently I was wrong... The Craik house wasn't on the tour, but I'll leave the text because the photos are just so cool.

The home was originally owned by one of George Washington's personal physicians and is easily one of our favorite houses in all of Alexandria. It's a shining example of what is possible in historic restoration with time, dedication, and a significant amount of money. Check out this amazing before and after:


Photo Credit: Historic Map Works

If I discover more houses or if more are announced before tomorrow's tour, I will be sure to update the post accordingly. If you are in the area and are looking for something fun to do Saturday morning or afternoon, be sure to stop by the Old Town tour of homes and Marketplace put on by The Twig.   

9/24/2011 Update

Wendy and I had a great time on this year's home tour. The homes were a mixture of grand and modest, but many that I'd gladly trade our house for. If you're around Old Town for any future home tours, be sure to pick up your tickets. It's always fun and a good Saturday afternoon event.

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