Growing a Bed and Breakfast

Posted on March 20, 2018 by Bedfordlandings

When we opened Bedford Landings Bed & Breakfast in 2013, we purchased very few new home furnishings with the exception of mattresses and the great room sectional sofa. Instead we used what we had accumulated from our blended households to intermingle styles that would work. Admittedly, I have decorated through much up-cycling, bargain thrift store and craigslist purchases. But that’s part of the fun if you ask me!

Operating a bed and breakfast offers a minimal profit line. It does, however, allow us to put earnings back into the property. So, each year, we try to invest in an improvement for the household and to make the stay more pleasurable for our guests. For example:

• In 2014, we upgraded the hot tub area with professional art with art by Lisa Floyd.

• In 2015, we added Marthy’s Creek. Built not only as a memorial to my mother, whose nickname was Marthy, but as a relaxing place to sit by the fire pit or flowing water.

• In 2016 we added a dumb waiter, which is saving us trips up and down with armfuls of laundry or groceries.  In 2016, we also added a charming little mouse hole.

• In 2017 we built the Chicken House and now guests can enjoy fresh eggs and we can clean up after the five little darlings.

I recently ran across several photos that show the transformation that we have made. Although I tried to be technologically savvy, I wasn’t 100% successful. However, I was resourceful as I transposed a powerpoint show with audio to a 3-minute movie to show some comparison shots.

What is in store for 2018?

We are pricing exterior lighting to light the way up the driveway and to light the sign and continuing to add to the landscaping. Stay tuned and come see us!

Upcoming events:

Happy Hour painting March 26 6:00 pm. $35. Lisa Floyd, artist. Email Karen or call 540- 488- 4600 to register.

Happy Hour Painting April 2 at 6:00 pm. $35. Lisa Floyd, artist. Email Karen or call 540- 488- 4600 to register.

Budding Artist in the House!

Posted on February 6, 2018 by Bedfordlandings

We have new art on display at Bedford Landings,  just in time for Valentine’s Day!  Our artist is Sheridan Brown.  Sheridan retired from the field of public education school leadership in 2013.  While seeking ways to release time and talent, she took painting lessons in watercolor and acrylics. Adopting the theory that if Grandma Moses could start painting at the age of 78, she might be able to as well. Her subjects are varied from personal travel scenes to friends’ houses and family pets. She says, “It’s fulfilling and each piece is a learning experience!”  Sheridan Brown can be followed on Pinterest and through her personal blog.

Sheridan Brown Art

“Fronds” by Sheridan Brown

On a personal note, the interesting thing about Sheridan is she also goes by Sherry and sometimes she goes by “sis.”  Yes, she is Karen’s sister.  What’s even better is she anticipates moving permanently to Smith Mountain Lake in the Spring and becoming part of the art community here.  (And I will love having my sister close by!) Jack and I have watched her grow in her art interest and skill.  One of the paintings on display even won an award at the Smith Mountain Arts Council Spring Art Show!

If you are interested in learning more about or seeing Sherry’s (reasonably priced) art please give us a call at Bedford Landings B & B or schedule an appointment for a viewing.

Bedford Landings also carries note cards by local artists, books, t-shirts, honey, locally crafted peanuts and more gifts!  Be sure to check out the upcoming events at Bedford Landings for this spring.

About the Stained Glass at Bedford Landings B &B

Posted on February 1, 2018 by Bedfordlandings

Those who have walked through the doors of Bedford Landings B&B know that there are several large stained glass pieces hanging or installed as windows.

Calla Lilly in the front foyer.

Looking out toward the airport from the second floor.

I (Karen) took a stained glass at a community college in 1977.  Although I enjoyed it, I could not afford all of the tools at that time so I did not pursue this hobby. It was 29 years later that Jack gave me a stained glass kit for Christmas. Along with a refresher lesson, a diamond cutter, pliers, a glass grinder, and a pattern to make an iris, he enabled me to start again making glass pieces.  The purple iris (in this photo) is the first one I made when I started with my refresher course.

Purple iris.

I enjoy working with glass and by no means do I feel that I am an artistic master, but it is a relaxing hobby. By and large I give them away as gifts or use them for decorating.

Many who drool over the beauty of any stained glass piece wonder why purchasing a piece is so costly. That’s why I wanted to share the process with you so you could understand.

I recently have embarked upon a project I just call “fire.“ Generally in the winter we have a nice warm fire burning in our fireplace.

Fire in the fireplace at Bedford Landings B & B


But in the summer, of course we don’t build a fire.  I have been setting large white candles inside the fireplace to light for the romantic glow everyone wants to enjoy when they visit a bed-and-breakfast. But the candles burn down and look ragged, sometimes soot from the chimney falls on them during the summer and I just haven’t been satisfied with that “look.“

That’s why I decided to do a large stained glass piece to put inside the fireplace in the summer, instead.  The first step in stained glass work is to find or make a pattern the size of the glass that you want to prepare. The second step is my favorite part; selecting from the array of colors and textures of glass to complete your piece. Glass is rather expensive. Red glass is the most expensive as it often has flecks of gold in it.

For my fire piece I designed the pattern and used many of the scrap pieces of glass that I already had in my inventory. I did have to purchase a couple of new large pieces.

You need two patterns; one pattern is trimmed to glue to the glass and used to cut each piece of glass, much like making a garment in sewing. Glass cutting is done with a diamond head hand cutter.

Stained glass tools.

The second pattern is used to lay the cut pieces on the pattern to begin to puzzle the glass pieces together. This photo shows the (pink) diamond cutter and the breaking pliers with just a few pieces of the  cut glass laid on the pattern.

Once all of the pieces are cut and laid together, the next process is grinding. Each individual piece must be ground smooth so that there are no sharp edges and each piece fits snugly against its neighbor. This is done with an electric grinder and wearing goggles is a must to protect your eyes.

The next step involves foiling each piece of glass. Copper foil with a sticky back is used to rim around each piece of glass. The foiled pieces are again laid down on the pattern flat. Copper is a heat conductor and will help the glass pieces fuse together once solder is applied.


Once all of the pieces are foiled the next step is using a compound called flux to interact with the copper and the solder. One whole side of the entire design is tacked with solder at key intersection points. Then the entire piece is flipped and totally soldered on the back. Flux is used each time. The combination of flux, copper as a heat conductor, and the hot solder (tin and lead mix) bind glass pieces together.

Copper foiling rimming each piece of glass.

Once the piece is fully soldered front and back, it’s time to clean the entire glass. Be sure the glass is fully cooled, otherwise it may crack. In addition be really careful while handing it as it can be somewhat fragile if it is large and not yet framed. Using simple baking soda and water with a soft cloth or a mild watered down detergent works well.

One of the last steps is to put patina over the whole glass. As lead tends to turn black anyway, many people who do stained glass select a black patina. There’s also the option to use a copper patina.

Jack making the frame.

Now it is time to determine what frame will encase the entire piece. Because I want to use this to stand up as if it is a fire in the fireplace, I wanted a large rustic looking frame. That’s when I called on Jack to design the frame to hold a piece entirely. He constructed the frame and I painted it black.

Fire in the frame.



It is still winter and we are still building fires but I wanted to see how this would look for the summer fireplace.  It looks like I need more LED candles but I think it will be a good addition.

Why so costly?

There are about 40 pieces of glass in this piece.  Each one had to be cut, ground, foiled, and soldered before the entire piece was painted with patina and cleaned.  I would guess I have about 25 hours in this project and $80 in supplies.  It would cost well over $100 to purchase such a piece but hopefully seeing the many processes provides not only an explanation but an appreciation of what goes into a stained glass piece. Can’t wait for Spring so we can place this inside the fireplace!

Stained Glass fireplace insert.



Bedford Landings voted Best Place to Stay Over night!

Posted on January 10, 2018 by Bedfordlandings

Bedford Landings Bed, Breakfast and Hangars was selected through a consumer survey as the Best Place to Stay Overnight at Smith Mountain Lake! Thanks to our friends and guests who voted for us!

Best Place to Stay Overnight

Secondly, Bedford Landings Air Tours was voted as among the “hidden jewels” in the category for activities and things to do at Smith Mountain Lake. We are honored for these kind mentions. We hope that others who have not experienced Bedford Landings will find out WHY we were voted into these categories.

Best Of at Smith Mountain Lake

We do get out some!
As Innkeepers, we are involved with many community activities including the Regional Chamber of Commerce. We are also involved with our professional associations. As members of the Bedford Area B & B and Unique Lodging Association, we talk about tourism in Bedford and surrounding areas. This year, we contributed to shaping an ordinance to govern short-term lodging. First crafted to be somewhat punitive to our industry, we were able to give input to avoid some issues and include others.

The Virginia B & B Association is called Stay VA
Their website is actually a great place to start when searching for a Bed and Breakfast in Virginia. There are also recipes on the site. There is a professional meeting annually and regional meetings. Bedford Landings contributes to hosting “aspiring Innkeepers” who are considering opening a business by visiting with them, hosting them in site, allowing job shadowing and a general “ear” when they first start out.

Then there is the International Association. Referred to as PAII, the Professional Association of Innkeepers has an annual conference and trade show. We have attended their conference and trade show. It is quite informative in following industry trends, marketing and how to use social media to drive business. After the most recent conference, they released this information. It may be useful to others so I thought would share it.

So, If you read this list, you will understand why I started with the Headline I did! Enjoy the rest of your day!

Post Christmas

Posted on December 26, 2017 by Bedfordlandings

As a follow-up to the last blog, Jack got the steps leading from the front porch to the chicken yard completed!  So convenient!

We had a really relaxing and lazy Christmas and are ready to host you to ring in the New Year! You will get a free bottle of fine champagne in your room if you reserve. Two rooms left!

And guess who got a new camera for Christmas!  So excited to learn all of the interesting things it can do!  Here are some of my holiday subjects just for fun!

Bella the Christmas dog!

Christmas Fire

Special effects

Macaroni the chicken



Super grand daughter

Here’s to 2018!!  Happy holidays!!

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