Alexandria’s Carlyle House gives travelers a rare opportunity to step into a time machine… Sort of. Built in 1753 by city founder and British merchant John Carlyle, this expansive Georgian Palladian manor house serves as a period-correct look into a past rich with culture and history. Carlyle built the house solely for his wife, Sarah Fairfax of Belvoir, a member of one of Colonial Virginia’s most affluent families. But the house would eventually become a cardinal part of Alexandria’s political and social climate. It was here, in 1755, that British General Braddock, along with five royal colonial governors, met to discuss funding for what would become the French and Indian War. During the American Civil war in the mid-19th century, the Carlyle House was seized by occupying Union forces and used as a hospital.
Today, the Carlyle House is home to some of the best and most educational tours in Alexandria. Exhibits, youth programs, lectures and daily tours led by costumed guides provide context to a house whose walls practically breathe history.