Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

The People of Monticello Road: Alexander House

The Engine that runs Alexander House: (from left to right) Emma, Misty, Angel, Flame, Raven, Kassia, Sky.

Alexander House is a collectively-owned-and-operated inn and hostel. The kitchen has a world map on the wall, with colored dots each indicating the origin of a set of guests. There’s one in the center of Australia, one in the deepest Congo, and one in the Ural mountains at the heart of the Eurasian landmass. Germany is completely covered and the United States looks like one of those enhanced nighttime satellite images that shows population centers.

This unique business welcomes guests from all over the globe and travelers of many modes and many means. Monticello Road is part of the transnational bikeway and as a result, the bike rack outside often boast several sets of saddle bags. It is possible to rent a room, the entire house or even a berth in the bunkhouse. It is as welcoming to mothers of brides as it is to bikers.

The place is immaculately clean and inviting, the guests quiet and exemplary--an enormous credit to the collective and a reflection of their sensibilities. They’re terrific neighbors and stewards and their visitors bring stories from far-away places.

Charlottesville is surprisingly cosmopolitan for such a small town, with a quaint exterior and a self-conscious sense of geography and history, combined with a not-contradictory yearning to find new ways of doing things. Alexander House displays all of these traits and, sitting as it does at the geographic center of Monticello Road, it is a great place to put our bags down and begin exploring.

The People of Monticello Road is a weekly series of profiles that will run through the summer. Monticello Road is a photography and story-telling project about the people and places along a mile-long byway that is simultaneously humble and historic, home to many and a reflection of us all. There will be an exhibition and much more in the Spring of 2012.

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