10th Anniversary post: Our first day in Orange, VA

Travel back in time to 1996: Sam, the budding History and English double-major, was accepted in the July 1996 Montpelier Summer Archaeology Program at Montpelier. He stayed on Montpelier’s grounds with about a dozen other university students and wielded his trowel at the Mount Pleasant site on the property. Sam and Sharon, fellow students at James Madison University, had been dating for well over a year.  Sharon drove down from Northern VA on Saturdays to visit Sam. They would grab sandwiches at Sparks Deli (now Elmwood at Sparks) and have a picnic in Taylor Park (the park across the street from the inn.) Fast forward to September 15, 2006: Sam and Sharon just purchased the Holladay House Bed and Breakfast on Main Street. After a morning of directing the movers, they walked past Taylor Park to Elmwood at Sparks to grab lunch and take a moment to celebrate.  They met Randy Cooper, who opened Elmwood at Sparks just 6 months prior, and joked about being the two new kids on the block. As Sam and Sharon exited Elmwood at Sparks, they ran into the Sam’s summer archaeology director from Montpelier! She was still directing the archaeology program at Montpelier; and Sam pointed to the Holladay House Bed and Breakfast and said, “We just bought that today!” Over the last 10 years Sam and Sharon have shared many meals with his archaeology director and still take lunch breaks at Elmwood at Sparks. Save...

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...