In 2014, during one of our weekend get-a-ways to a favorite winery near the mountains — which we took often — I remember a conversation about: what we would do as a career if money wasn’t a factor. Ray, who loves being outdoors with nature and who is a great with plants mentioned he would love to learn how to run a vineyard… going wine-ing probably helped to form that thought. For me, Ray thought that with my organizational and decorating abilities that I would enjoy real estate and home staging.
When we arrived, we were still talking about our dreams and shared it with our friends who owned the winery. They looked at us and said “we don’t see you doing that, we see you more as B&B people; and oh by the way, the bed & breakfast right behind us is thinking about coming on the market soon. We think you should buy it.” We continued chatting with them for at least another hour and when we finished our wine, we decided to drive over to the property and check it out.
This B&B was beautiful and we instantly fell in love with it! It was a large, newer home with open acreage that could be turned into a vineyard and beautiful sweeping mountain views. We though that this property could give us both of our dreams. Unfortunately, no one was there that day to speak with and we weren’t able to tour of the inside of the inn. So, we drove off and decided to stop for dinner at one of the local restaurants before heading home. While we dined, we were still so excited about the thought of this dream that it was all we talked about; and we knew before dessert — that we had to consider this further. A seed had been planted.
That very next day, we starting looking into website articles with titles like: “So you want to be an Innkeeper.” We compiled a fantasy list of what would make the perfect bed and breakfast: a large spacious home with a view, plenty of outdoor space to enjoy, a property that we could turn into a destination location where people could enjoy staying onsite, and a location that offered our guests plenty of activities in the surrounding area, 4-6 guest rooms, lots of fireplaces, pretty grounds, and good owner’s quarters. We purchased books on the subject, attended seminars, meet with other B&B owners — we wanted and went after more information on our potential future business endeavor/retirement plan.
Once we were armed with more data on the industry, the business, and the local real estate market… we reached out to the proprietors of that perfect B&B and scheduled an onsite meeting to discuss their plans on selling it. It didn’t take long for them to realize that we weren’t ready to buy and for us to realize that they weren’t ready to sell. However, sometimes things happen for a reason and this was one of those things. You see, the B&B recently loss their resident innkeeper and since we wanted to learn more about the business, we all realized that we could help each other out. Ray and I offered to become their innkeepers to meet their needs in support of their guests. We called this our “interim program” and though some friends thought we were crazy to work for free, we saw this as a rare opportunity to live the lifestyle before doing it. We started the very next weekend.
On our first day, the owner met us onsite to help us get familiar with where everything was located; to understand their processes, what needed to be done, and how they like to attend to their guests and their needs; and of course, how to properly flip the rooms for new guests.
Oddly, that was the last time we saw the owners in the year and a half that we ran their business. We took care of the shopping, menu plans, and preparations. Greeted the guest, gave tours of the house, and attended to their needs many times above and beyond what the business would have had us do. We helped guests plan their weekend activities and special events, and sometimes invited them to join us when they didn’t have any plans. Our guests may have started out as strangers, but before they left — they were friends and many that we keep in touch with today. Our weekend ‘work’ was also our ‘weekend getaway’ and we loved meeting and socializing with the interesting variety of people that stay at B&Bs… we loved our job!
Unfortunately, when the owners were ready to sell, we were unable to come to an agreement. So after ensuring that the last guests on the books for that year were attended to, we had to walked away from that Inn and the business closed and didn’t reopen. We were devastated and lost. We didn’t know what to do with our weekends any more, and felt lonely with the loss of new friends each weekend.
Months later… yes, while out wine-ing again, we passed a property that had a ‘For Sale’ sign in front of it,but because of the winding driveway up the mountain we couldn’t see the house from the road, so we kept on driving to the winery. On our way back, we decided to turn onto the driveway… just to take a look. We were instantly hooked, it was even better than the first Inn for us! That gleam was back in our eyes! Thinking we were leading with our hearts and not our heads, we started to look seriously at all available properties in the area to be sure this would be the right one… and after months of looking… we decided it was!
Things moved fast since we placed our offer and it was accepted. We started to box up our home of 15 years, one that we truly loved, and invested in, and with the great neighbors … and put it on the market. It sold the same time we were moving in to the Hillsboro, VA. But our work and investment on the new property was far from done. Turning this private home on 10-acres with its’ beautiful panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the valley between the hills, and neighboring vineyard into a licensed and permitted 5-guest room Bed & Breakfast was the next project.
Walls came down to enlarge rooms, and walls went up so that each guest room had its own private en-suite bathroom, we painted, repaired the pool surround, refinished the deck, added planting beds, gardens, fountains and walkways. Installed a second Septic Fiels, Whole House humidifiers, tankless water heater to ensure there was plenty of hot water. Removed carpets and replace with hardwood floors. And we also built out the basement as the Owner’s Quarters so that Guests could have the ability to not only rent all of the rooms for their own needs, but could also rent the manor and/or the property to support day guests for numerous types of events furniture, new mattresses, and luxury bedding was purchased. Rock walls outside were crafted to give more natural presence to the property and many plants were added with more to come. We added a fountain to the side patio, and a fire pit to the front field with its amazing sunset views, and installed a front fountain with pool in the center island.
The property provided its name and word of mouth about Hidden View Bed & Breakfast was spreading even before any branding and marketing was developed. We even got our first whole house booking before posting a single item. We know that running and managing a B&B isn’t for everyone, it isn’t a get rich endeavor… it is a labor of love… and we love the home, the property, the views, and look forward to sharing all of this – this perfect place — with all our guests, soon to be friends, and extended friends and family.
We look forward to hosting your stay!