- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 12, 2010

Visitors flock to Virginia’s Old Town Alexandria for summer boat trips on the Potomac, festivals and parades, Christmas shopping and historic sites. The appealing mix of art galleries, antiques stores, cafes, restaurants and people-watching makes it a destination for world travelers and Washington-area residents.

History buffs are drawn to Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, where George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison and other Founders of American independence dined; to Christ Church, where Robert E. Lee, George Washington, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill worshipped; and to the Lyceum Historical Museum. History and art combine at the Torpedo Factory, a World War II-era factory revitalized to contain artists studios and art galleries. Those who prefer the outdoors enjoy cruises on the Potomac or strolling next to the river in Founders Park.

Old Town Alexandria’s brick sidewalks are lined with an eclectic mix of stores and restaurants that provide temptations from around the globe.

The same features that make Old Town an interesting place to visit draw homebuyers to this Northern Virginia area, along with the location near local transportation, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and downtown Washington. While many of the homes in Old Town Alexandria are centuries old, most of the newer homes have been designed to blend with the historic, picturesque neighborhood.

The Federal-style town home at 213½ S. Fayette St., an all-brick semidetached residence, is part of a small cluster of homes accessed from a private brick courtyard. On the market for $619,000, this charming home looks as if it could have rested in place for 100 years or more, but it was built in 1978.

The home has windows on three sides and a private, fenced brick patio and garden with a gate leading to a private parking lot for the town homes. This home has a reserved space. The patio faces south to take advantage of as much sunlight as possible.

A six-panel front door opens into the vestibule, which has oak parquet flooring, a beveled-glass ceiling lantern, a broom closet, a staircase leading to the upper level and two steps down to the main level.

The main entertaining area of this home is the open living and dining room, with oak parquet flooring. The formal dining room includes a brass chandelier, recessed lighting and custom-designed shutters for the window. The dining room has a built-in cabinet that functions as a coat closet and a built-in credenza with cabinets underneath for storing china, linens and entertainment accessories.

Two sets of French doors with transoms and screens are the focal point for the living room, particularly in pleasant weather when the doors can be opened onto the brick patio and garden. In winter, the wood-burning fireplace adds warmth to the entire home. The fireplace has a detailed wood-and-plaster mantel, with a brick hearth and surround. On either side of the fireplace are custom-designed built-in bookcases with cabinets underneath.

The main level has a kitchen with oak parquet flooring, a large sink and a window with custom-designed shutters. The kitchen includes a ceiling light fixture, an electric range/oven, a dishwasher, a refrigerator and freezer, and a built-in microwave.

Hardwood stairs with painted risers and a wooden balustrade lead to the upper level, where the central landing includes a beveled-glass lantern-style ceiling light.

The first bedroom on this level has two windows, oak flooring, two double-door closets and built-in shelving. The second bedroom has oak flooring, a wall of built-in bookcases, a closet with built-in shelving and two windows.

These two bedrooms share a full bath with mosaic-style ceramic tile flooring, a ceiling light, a vanity and tiled walls around a porcelain tub.

The upper-level master suite includes oak flooring and a charming sloped ceiling with a dormer window on one side and a standard window on the other. The bedroom has two double-door closets with built-in shelving and two under-eaves closets for additional storage. The room also has a ceiling fan, chair-rail moldings and a built-in reading lamp.

The adjacent master bath has ceramic tile flooring, an oversized tub with tiled walls and two under-eaves closets. The bathroom also has a laundry area with a washer and dryer and built-in shelving.

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