Adele Northrup likes to joke that hers is a serendipitous life.
Northrup, a longtime Atlantan and community activist, is the owner of the Virginia-Highland Bed & Breakfast at 630 Orme Circle, which she has operated since opening it in 1996.
Opening a B&B wasn't in the cards for the Chicago native, who moved to Atlanta from Mableton in the early 1970s with her then-husband.
Then, many of the city's core, intown neighborhoods — Virginia-Highland, Morningside, Grant Park and Inman Park, to name a few — were a far cry from the gentrified enclaves that they are today.
They were threatened further still by the planned Interstate-485, which would have split the neighborhoods, destroyed scores of historic homes and change the face of today's intown Atlanta.
She and several of her then neighbors fought the highway plan, successfully winning the battle in federal court in the early 1970s.
Northrup didn't plan on becoming an activist. Quite by accident, she was pushing her baby stroller down her Rock Spring Road street and walked to some posted signs about the highway coming.
(As it happened, she picked Rock Spring Road to buy their home because she wanted to live on a street with a sidewalk.)
That win laid the groundwork for an intown renaissance that led to many many of the ramshackle homes of those neighborhoods being restored.
Similarly, how she came to run a B&B was an accident of circumstance.
The bungalow had been purchased originally as a rental property, but it later became home for her and her children after she became divorced.
But in 1995, the home suffered a fire and had to be totally rebuilt. After that, Northrup, a master gardener whose clients included actress Halle Berry, decided to reopen the home as a B&B.
Northrup sat down with Virginia-Highland—Druid Hills Patch recently to share her story.
Please click on the video to hear excerpts of our interview.