If you were traveling through Alexandria, VA back in the early 19th century and looking for a place for a meal and a good night’s rest, Gadsby’s Tavern and the adjoining City Hotel would have been where you would have dined and slept.
Today the Tavern is a museum that is open only for guided tours which cost $5 for an adult ticket and which only last about half an hour. The tour begins in the downstairs tavern which has been furnished with period reproductions to recreate a dining scene from Colonial days. Only men would have been in the room – dining and even playing a few table games.
The bedrooms are upstairs. The first room is what I would equate to as the hostel of the day – very spartan accommodations and you very likely would have had to share the bed with another person or two or how many ever could be crammed onto the bed. The second room would have been the equivalent of a luxury room – comfy bed with pillows and mattress.
The grand ballroom is also on the second floor. Here’s where Presidents Washington, Jefferson, and Madison all once partied and in fact, Jefferson's inaugural dance was held here. Today, the room is still used for community dances and social events.
I capped my museum visit with lunch at the City Hotel which is now the Gadsby's Tavern Restaurant. I enjoyed my meal in one of the elegant Colonial dining rooms. The restaurant offers a mix of period and modern food. Very fun way to enjoy an few hours!