Over the past seven years of B & B operation, this June has been the busiest month ever in terms of room nights. Even during the pandemic! Why? Most of the guests say they have been quarantined and now that restrictions have partially been lifted, need a place to go. Many indicate that they prefer a B & B over a large hotel. We have never seen so many families traveling together! The Flying room (which can take 6 maximally) is getting a workout!
How are we handling the pandemic protocol?
We meet guests at the door. Some are masked and some are not. We explain that since this is our home, we are not wearing masks, EXCEPT when we serve them their breakfast. But the rule is, if anyone is uncomfortable at any time, we will all don our masks. We indeed are physically-socially distancing. I have begun calling it the social distancing dance! Have you done this step in a grocery store around unmasked people?
Also, we seat folks at breakfast with their families and seat other guest at another table. We have been pretty successful keeping people away from each other. But…that takes some of the fun out of a B & B. People like to meet each other and talk. So instead, we rotate table to table and chat with them.
We are constantly wiping surfaces, hand railings, doorknobs, light switches, and remotes with disinfecting wipes. We are washing all bedding including pillow shams and bedspreads. This takes a lot longer. We have two washers and dryers but last week one of the dryers went on the fritz. Ugh. Jack took the whole dryer apart and you would not believe the build up inside the dryer! We had to dig and clean it out!
So, first lesson, clean the insides of your dryers about every two years or so. It is a major cause of house fires! We finally found a repair person who disassembled the entire dryer to replace the heating coil.
That is the million-dollar question! Although things are beginning to feel more normal with the onset of summer, being too close, too fast could lead to an upsurge in outbreaks. People around Smith Mountain Lake are still being extremely careful since many are retirees and considered at risk. Many young families visiting the lake may not understand the precautions and why everyone is so insistent on continuing to wear a mask. I remember feeling more invincible when I was younger too, but as we age, we realize that being “laid up” is not worth it in the long run. So please, if you are visiting, wear your masks in public places!
We have been quite impressed with the masking of servers and one-use menu options, outdoor seating, and limited capacity seating that our local restaurants have observed during this phased-in re-opening!
In past years on this weekend, we would have made a trip over to the Booker T. Washington National Monument to celebrate Juneteenth with their annual festival and re-enactment. Juneteenth is the celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. With the lack of social media back in 1865, news traveled slowly and didn’t get to some parts of the country until 2.5 years after the Executive Order was signed.
The other activity we always look forward to is Lyrics on the Lake. It is always Father’s Day weekend. Of course it was cancelled, but we are so hoping this event will return next year! Many Nashville songwriters trek to SML to sing competitively to raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network. We have housed many talented artists over time and remain friends, particularly with Bill DiLuigi and Deidre Thornell. Deidre just released a single amid the pandemic. Both are very talented artists!
Speaking of Father’s Day. There are so many wonderful men in my life, my husband, my brother, my son, my bothers in law, my son-in-law, even my ex-husband! Love to all the fathers. I am posting a photo of me with my sweet Daddy. He died in 1993 and here I am the age he was when he died. Morbid, I know — but the pandemic ain’t got me yet! Hang in all!