Photo Credit: Photo by M Fields Photography.
Black-Owned Alberta Beach House Opening This May In Hampton, VA
Dr. Amina Gilyard James and her husband Norland James are the owners of one of Hampton, VA’s newest luxury accommodations, the Alberta Beach House. With eighteen years of residential real estate experience between them and properties in three different states, the DC area-based couple are no strangers to property ownership.
The Jameses have also invested in previous hotel projects, taking a special interest in those sponsored by people of color and women. Now, the couple is embarking on a new lodging industry venture that is all their own.
“After about a year of really learning the industry, and seeing how bed & breakfasts, vacation rentals, and extended stay hotels performed fairly well throughout the pandemic, we decided it was time to create our own brand,” Amina said to Travel Noire. “Thus, Chronicle Lodging & Events was born.”
Chronicle Lodging & Events aims to highlight Black stories and Black history makers through their design and branding.
“We like to joke and say our design inspiration for our flagship location, the Alberta Beach House, is ‘beachy social justice vibes.'”
“There are other bed & breakfasts and inns around the world with a focus on Black culture and history and elevating Black stories. I just love that for us! There’s a market for it, and it’s much needed. U.S. travel is a $580 billion dollar a year industry. Why shouldn’t there be many spaces that are designed to celebrate us and those who blazed the trails before us?”
Desiring to to create a brand that caters to both heritage and adventurer travelers, Amina and Norland searched for months to find the perfect desirable vacation spot that also has a rich history.
“We lucked up with Hampton, VA. It is a gem. The city boasts some of the richest Black history in the Northeast. It is the site of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in English North America, home to The Arc of Freedom– a safe haven for enslaved people during the Civil War, and home of the great HBCU Hampton University.”
Before finding their first property, the couple already knew they wanted each one of their properties to be named after a local Black figure. The Alberta Beach House was inspired by Alberta Williams King, civil rights activist, teacher, Hampton alumna, and mother of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Situated in the Buckroe Beach neighborhood of Hampton, the Alberta Beach House is just a five-minute walk to the beach and a short drive to attractions like the Virginia Air & Space Center, Williamsburg, VA, Busch Gardens, and wineries. The family-friendly beach offers amenities such as jet ski and kayak rentals, a fishing pier, a playground, food trucks, and picnic pavilions.
Chronicle Lodging and Events looks forward to welcoming its first guests to the Alberta Beach House in May and is currently accepting reservations via their website, www.visitchronicle.com.
“The house was designed to accommodate multiple groups at once, but due to the pandemic we’re adhering to current safety protocols and renting to one group at a time,” Amina explained. “This makes it the perfect space to host a small family reunion, couples’ weekend, small business retreat, or girls’ getaway!”
“The house is over 3,000 square feet and can sleep up to 14 people. When guests step foot in or outside the beach house, we want them to feel free, relaxed, inspired, and seen.”
Along with illuminating the Black history and culture surrounding their properties, Chronicle Lodging and Events aims to foster community and economic progress. The events service piece of their company focuses on generating revenue for local business by connecting them with their guests.
In the future, Chronicle plans to offer a suite of vacation rentals, bed & breakfasts, and boutique inns all nestled in historically rich areas.
“We’d love to conquer Maryland next. It’s bustling with history having been such a huge part of the underground railroad. But the opportunities to ‘chronicle’ Black history and culture are endless, so we’ll see where we land!”