I am not a native to this Western North Carolina Mountain Region, but my husband, Larry is six generations of Asheville, Buncombe County. I was born in Lawrence, Kansas; from the age of five to ten lived in Lima, Peru; Junior High School and High School Graduation from Wellesley, Massachusetts. I married my University of Kansas sweet heart and he passed away of cancer in 1990, when our son was only 14. When my son went to University of San Francisco for his undergrad; I went back to college in Manhattan, NY, attended Beth Israel School of Nursing becoming a RN. I moved to High Point, NC, because my widowed mother moved there. Being widowed also and a RN, it seemed a natural diagonal move. I met this remarkable man and fell in love again. Larry and I married in 2001. He introduced me to Asheville and I immediately felt at home and wanted to eventually live in this intriguing city.
We began a new life together in our 50′s as husband and wife. You know…. it is difficult to bond with another, when you are so established in your own ways of doing things and have more than a few years of life’s experiences under your belt. It takes a tremendous amount of love to not ruin a new relationship; reacting to a situation that your partner did not cause, but triggered a reaction due to your past. So after a few years of marriage we decided to go to work together in Asheville. I gave up Nursing and Larry gave up being a Contractor/ Developer, and we embarked on our joint adventure back in his home town. It was a perfect decision and our marriage has benefited from this intense and demanding joint project.
Why do we do this? We are having so much fun (unless we are having a meeting of minds). We are learning about each others strengths and weaknesses. We have to delegate jobs as one person cannot do it all. We have discovered many of our differences and are always in the process of learning to accept them. We are making a past together and forming ideas about our future. Larry’s old friends from grade school on….a luxury I never had due to moving so much; I am self entertaining and have been accused of being able to talk to grass….did have a bet going, on how long it would be before we murdered each other…when months went by without such an action they finally had to tell us about it. No one won the bet and they were itching to see our reaction.
The reward of our hard work is a stronger marriage and meeting so many fascinating people from all walks of life. It is a 24/7 job, but if you honestly love people, you get to make a difference in your guest’s lives as well as your own. We’ve had guests who touched our hearts, others who return (gluttons for punishment) and are like family to us.
One example of innkeeping joy, for me, begins when I greet a certain new couple. One partner is bursting with excitement, having made all the plans, and successfully convinced their significant other to come stay at a B&B. You can almost see the invisible collar and chain around their companion’s neck. A slight reluctance after being dragged inside this pending nightmare. Tiered eyes scanning desperately, their brain warning, “If you see a doily you are in for an Arsenic And Old Lace scene….WAIT! I just saw a doily under that art glass lamp… this is going to be a REALLY bad weekend!’ By the time of check-out, they are giving us hugs, thanking us for such a comfortable stay, will miss the breakfasts and laughter, are making plans of when to come back for rest and relaxation, or going to the Biltmore Estate again in a different season. Now that is a darn good reason for me to have become an Innkeeper!