This One Thing... Wellspring Manor and Spa
As travel lovers, Lisa Brown Alexander and her husband Kevin Alexander traversed the world, and they found that they, as Black people, were not reflected in the experience of luxury travel. The food, the music, and the energy of the locations they went to felt distant at best, and sometimes even culturally cold. “We were kind of invisible,” says Brown Alexander, adding, “We realised there were limited offerings for luxury travel destinations that focused on the experiences of people of colour.” This threw up an opportunity and so, in 2018, they launched Wellspring Manor and Spa. Located just outside the Washington DC area, this over-seven-acre estate provides a full-service overnight spa and bed and breakfast that is the perfect intermingling of luxury, relaxation and culture. It’s a place that centres people of colour but is open to everyone. The suites are uniquely appointed – the Angelou, for instance, is named after Maya Angelou and the Chavez is named in honour of Mexican-American Cesar Chavez who fought for the rights of Latino workers in the US. The cuisine offered ranges from Southern comfort food – think shrimp, grits and waffles – to Caribbean-influenced delights. Wellspring is also famed for its art; there is a gallery on-site featuring a rotation of Black artists from around the world. It is there for all to enjoy but also serves as a statement around the issue of underrepresentation. “If we could put up three or four more art galleries, we still [wouldn’t] have the space to [show] the talent that exists in artists of colour who are otherwise unseen,” says Brown Alexander. Hence the couple has made it their mission to ensure that when people of colour enter Wellspring in search of rest, they never feel invisible.
Shayna Conde is a food, wine, travel, and lifestyle writer based in the New York City area. Her work can be found in Departures, Allure, FOOD52, Well+Good, USA Today and more. She also runs a Substack called Heart To Arts that focuses on highlighting Black-owned businesses and decolonising the wellness industry