Here’s to 10 years – and counting!

How quickly ten years can fly by. That’s right—ten years! We’re commemorating our 10th anniversary innkeeping here at the Holladay House, and as part of the celebration, we thought maybe you’d like to know a bit more about our innkeeping story. Our story begins in the middle of heavy interstate traffic, which is where we had our “aha!” moment. Sam turned to me and announced he couldn’t stand another day of commuting and he had an idea. He asked if we wanted to leave it all behind and start a bed & breakfast, and without hesitation, I answered, “Yes.” We immersed ourselves in the B&B world over the next year and a half, researching, interviewing, attending conferences, and joining the Bed & Breakfast Association of Virginia (BBAV) and the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII). The more we learned, the more excited we became! While we were looking for potential inn properties, we happened to visit an inn for sale listed with a southern gentleman named Pete. Pete became our B&B real estate agent, and over the next year, he showed us all around the Central Virginia area as we continued to scout out potential properties. In the meantime, I quit my career in marketing and began working part-time at an inn and a winery. However, Sam and I grew concerned we weren’t finding the perfect property for our needs.  We finally decided if we found nothing after one last weekend of visiting properties with Pete, we would abandon our B&B plans and come up with a different idea. Little did we know, that one last upcoming weekend would...

DIY: Hand-Painted Photo Props

You all have already learned our officiant, Don Hughes, is a multi-talented gentleman.  If you did not catch our blog post on Don, read all about it, then keep reading below: What was not mentioned is that Don got his degree in Art and Design from what is now Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.  So that made him JUST the person to execute the next DIY project: hand-painted photo props! I met Don at his art studio – a beautifully converted shed in his backyard which he named “The Chateaux”.  The well-organized space was filled with art supplies, drafting tables, and his own art pieces he swears he needs to carve out time to “fix”. Don explains to me the tools he’ll be using: really high-end lettering sign paint called 1-Shot, squirrel hair brush (with metal ferrule or quill), and good ole cardboard for his palette. As Don worked the paint to a consistency he felt was smooth enough, he told me a few stories.  I would have been disappointed if I didn’t get a few new stories out of my visit.  Don remembered his first lettering job in 1959: He was commissioned by the local rescue squad to letter their emergency vehicle.  With a cheap brush and green paint, he worked slowly and meticulously and painted “RESCUE SQUARD” onto the vehicle.  He had trouble living that one down!  He mentions his pen and ink calligraphy class with teacher Katie Blackwell.  And punctuates his stories with tips as he paints.  Freehand. With just a little tape as his guide and some light pencil guiding, he steadies his hand...

Summer Fun To-Do List

Immerse yourself in history at the Holladay House. Built in 1830, the House contributed to local Civil War History by playing a pivotal role for both the North and South side. Events such as an 1862 open war and the wedding reception of an officer in Robert E. Lee’s army occurred at the inn. As you enjoy this stunning historic bed and breakfast, don’t miss out on these four amazing locations: Four Country Players (Barboursville, Virginia) Staying at Holladay House allows you to be minutes from the longest operating community theater in Central Virginia. Experience over forty years of masterful musicals, hilarious comedies, and thought provoking dramas such as Chicago, Bullet for an Unaccompanied Heart, Dancing with Myself and many more to keep you entertained all evening long. Early Mountain Vineyard (Madison, Virginia) A getaway is incomplete without visiting one of Virginia’s award winning wineries. Early Mountain is particularly special since Lt. Joseph Early agreed to house a weary traveler. Little did he know it would be General George Washington. The views of the Blue Ridge Mountains are as soothing and breathtaking as ever, and the locally-sourced food paired with the wines is not to be missed. Shabby Love Visit this cute one-of-a-kind shop selling upcycled, vintage, handmade furniture. It’s amazing how Hannah, the owner, can bring new life to and old beaten-down throw-away item. Don’t end your getaway empty handed: decorate your home with a beautiful and practical souvenir that will have you recalling this amazing weekend. Skydive Orange This is one to check off the bucket list! Nothing defines thrill better than skydiving. If you like, before...

DIY: Framed Chalkboard

“A man’s got to know his limitations.”  Wiser words were never spoken (thanks Clint Eastwood).  And this (wo)man’s limitations stop at crafts.  So I brought in some serious experts: the Briarwood Boys – our fantastic florists at Briarwood Florist – to help with my first DIY project: a framed chalkboard. Gregory (one of the Briarwood Boys) gave me a list of the materials I would need for this project.  I shopped in town for the items and met them at their store around the corner from the Holladay House Bed and Breakfast. Armed with gloves (because I happen to be a messy painter), a small roller brush and tray, black chalkboard paint (there are other colors, including clear), a stir stick, 220 grit sandpaper, a few tools, a cleaning agent and my junktiques framed picture find at D+J Thrift Shop, I set up shop behind-the-scenes at Briarwood Florist. Gregory and Chris skillfully lead me through the steps of creating a framed chalkboard.  The project was so easy I was able to repeat the process at home (I mean, I have all this paint left – there’s no telling what I’ll paint over!)  Below I’ve detailed the steps – and great tips from Gregory and Chris – so you can create your very own framed chalkboard. Gregory suggested painting the glass in a frame would be best for this project.  Cardboard backing just doesn’t work well.  So make sure when you pick out your frame, it’s easy to dismantle and pull out the glass.  And, of course, make sure the whole frame is able to be put back together. Make...

Don Hughes – Officiant Extraordinaire

When getting married, your officiant plays a large role in the event. Here at the Holladay House Bed and Breakfast, we are proud to have Don Hughes perform ceremonies. Background Don has lived in this area all his life, taking some time to move away, and then return. He was born in the neighboring town of Gordonsville, was married at the local Methodist church, and at one time had the keys to the county court house, sheriff station, and local service station. His roots are deep within the community and he has a sense of humor that will make anyone smile. Don turned 74 this past year and has been married over 50 years to his wife, Lillian. Don loves to tease about the first time he met Lillian: “I met my wife in my bedroom” he says with a silly grin across his face.  The truth behind the “scandalous” story: Somehow Lillian ended up at his parents’ house before a local dance in 1962. Don was in his bedroom studying and his mother was giving Lillian a tour of the house. He remembers he was sitting at his desk in his room when his mother introduced them to each other. He finally got around to asking her to marry him in 1965. How’s it going?  “We are both Scorpio and haven’t killed each other yet.” Working many jobs over the years, Don has been a paint store owner, a florist, a caterer, an EMT (where he helped birth a few local babies), and a funeral director.  As Don puts it, he “takes care of people from the womb...

Why Elope?

It’s a big decision to go small for your wedding day!  There are a ton of reasons folks elope: * Family is spread out all over the USA/world and the logistics of getting everyone together would challenge the most seasoned international event planner. * One or both of the spouses are in the military. * The bride or groom is actually quite shy and doesn’t want to be put “on stage”. * The idea of all the detailed planning gives the bride and groom hives. * Saving $$ for the honeymoon or a big investment, like a house! * Only two opinions and no family drama to manage. * The couple believes exchanging wedding vows is a moment to be shared just between the two of them. My husband, Sam, and I choose to elope in 2001 when the trend was secret scandalous elopement or big fat wedding.  So, we went through a lot of the emotions involved with choosing an elopement-style wedding even before “small” was a thing. We understand and believe: 1) going small is a tough decision to make and 2) a wedding of any size is a meaningful life event that should reflect both the bride and groom’s desires. For us, our choice was a Virginia Inn even before thoughts of owning one entered our heads. If you think eloping is what you want to do, there are many ways of going about it. Here are three blogs I hope help you plan your perfect day: 1. Make sure you understand how to elope. 2. Research the cost to elope. 3. Celebrate your elopement or...

How Much Does It Cost to Elope?

The cost of eloping can be under $100 and it can be over $10,000. It really depends on what YOU want your special day to include. Here are some helpful hints from the Holladay House Bed and Breakfast.  Once you know the answers to these questions, you should be able to start planning your elopement. Understand what is included in the price of the package * What does the facility take care of?  What if you want them to take care of everything?  What if you want to customize and be more hands on? * Does the package include the officiant? Sometimes finding the officiant is the hardest part – is that taken care of?  Does he/she allow customization of the ceremony if you want to include your own vows or traditions? * Do you want to include guests? Some facilities see an elopement as just two people as opposed to a small wedding. If you want guests, including a four-legged member of your family, make sure your facility allows it. Here at Holladay House we can have 2-20 people and your pet. Frilly Details (that can cost extra) * What can the bride and groom wear? Ladies may wear anything from full length bridal gowns to colorful dramatic dresses to simple day dresses they can wear time and again!  Gentlemen may wear anything from business casual to suit + tie to a tux.  Wear what will make you the most comfortable on YOUR day! Need some ideas? Check out our photo album here. * Cakes?  You bet!  Engraved tableware?  Sure!  Special items, like unity candles?  Absolutely!  Color scheme? ...

How to Elope

So, you’ve made the big decision to go small! Congratulations! That is the first step in preparing for your dream day. But… now what do you do? Getting married in Virginia is quite easy! You need a license, an officiant and a location. Follow our check list on how to elope to make planning your special day easier. License You will need to visit a Virginia Courthouse to get your marriage license.  You must both be present, have your photo IDs, and payment for the fee ($30 in most courthouses). As most don’t take check or credit card, please bring cash. You don’t need a blood test, you don’t need a witness, and you don’t need your divorce papers (if applicable). Before you go to the Courthouse, check the hours of operation, especially around Federal holidays. Some courthouses require the name of the officiant who will be marrying you, but most do not. For a comprehensive list visit: http://www.vdh.state.va.us/vital_records/marry.htm.  Your license is valid that day for 60 days. Officiant You must be married by an officiant that is licensed by the Virginia Court. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have someone unlicensed perform the ceremony – you just need to have your licensed officiate step in at the end to say the legal phrase that makes you official. The officiate takes care of signing the license and sending it back to the courthouse as well. Your Best Friend Brian, Uncle Larry or Aunt Martha can do the rest 🙂 (PS: Holladay House works a great officiant, Don Hughes.) Location You can almost elope at any location. Your backyard, at...
The Best Place to Elope in Virginia

The Best Place to Elope in Virginia

Eloping or having a small wedding isn’t something that should be taken lightly. It is still an important day in your life that you will cherish for the rest of your life. The best place to elope or have a small wedding in Virginia is Holladay House Bed and Breakfast in Orange, VA – Voted as one of USA Today’s top hotel fireplaces in the USA to get married. Personalized experience As of the beginning of 2016, Sharon at the Holladay House B&B has helped 196 couples say “I Do” and not a single ceremony was identical to another. You want someone who really cares about your day as much as you do and someone who understands all the reasons you chose to “go small” — like an old friend you don’t have to explain “the whole story” to because they know you so well. With a smaller event, little details mean a lot and stand out more. Sharon and Sam believe that just because a couple decides to “go small” that doesn’t mean they have to let go of including important details, and people or pets, for such an important life event. That’s why we encourage customization and allow for some guests to be included at no extra charge. All-Inclusive Elopements The Holladay House has made it easy to have an elopement. Whether it is just the two of you or a small group of 20 of your closest family and friends, our customized all-inclusive packages include what you need. Our Traditional Elopement package is $599 (plus tax) and includes: • A large and relaxing fireplace suite •...
What Holladay House and The Ritz Have In Common…….

What Holladay House and The Ritz Have In Common…….

The Holladay House parlor fireplace is a little bit of a celebrity around here. During its long life, it’s witnessed a lot a history–and created a little of its own. Like making the cut as one of USA TODAY’s Top 40 Hotel Fireplaces in the US. Or providing an elegant backdrop to the beginning of many long, happy marriages. Or even participating in a tragic scene in which one Shadow Elswick, aged about three years, caught her whiskers on fire in a moment of cat foolhardery. ………OK, so Shadow hasn’t actually caught her whiskers on fire (yet). Still, if she keeps poking her face into the fireplace when the flames are doing their thing, the kitty who greets you at the inn could be a sadder, wiser, and less bewhiskered girl than she is today. That being said, the bit about the USA Today is true, which means that the Holladay House fireplace falls in with fireplaces found at places like, ahem, The Ritz-Carlton. In the world of pyromania, I think that makes us part of the cool crowd (or, you know, since it’s a fireplace, the “not-cool” crowd. But whatever.) The part about the weddings is true as well. Over a hundred couples have said their vows in front of the parlor fireplace over the years, exchanging their rings in the glow of the candlelit mantle. Still others have curled up on the parlor sofas nearby, drinking locally brewed coffee and fine wines, playing board games, and catching up with old friends in the warm comfort of home-away-from-home. So, let’s talk about the fireplace. What makes it special-er...