There’s a cool crisp breeze. A soft wind blows to give the silent hint that summer is gone. The slow changing color of the leaves mean that fall is on the horizon. There are sounds of only a few boats in the distance. The water view calms the mind. A cold beverage refreshes the soul.
There’s no question that 2020 has been one heck of a year. There have been challenges and losses, but there has also been peace. As we continue through the rest of this year, and try to navigate through the pandemic – continue to steal away moments, views and feelings, taking in the beauty all around. From this vantage point, listen to the planes flying overhead, and hear them fade into the distance. The slow hum of a few cars passing makes one appreciate time away from the usual urgencies of life.
All too often, it becomes hard to find peace in the midst of so much turmoil, but right now-in this season, that is what Bedford Landings offers. While visiting, enjoy some peaceful time on the star gazing deck or one of the any other sitting spaces in this home away from home. Retreat to a quiet space or enjoy time with a small group of friends. While relaxing and enjoying your stay, make plans that may include a cruise on the Virginia Dare or a boat rental. Visit a nearby winery or two, or meander over to Bridgewater to feed the carp, shop, and eat!
When you awake, open your door to the wafting aroma of homemade cinnamon rolls, pecan-encrusted bacon, and mellow coffee. It’s a delicious way to start the day. Step into a place where you can feel the love as soon as you walk through the door! After all, isn’t that what a bed and breakfast is supposed to be?!
Fall is a favorite time for many at the lake, and Bedford Landings has room for you!
The year of 2020 just keeps on challenging us. As a follow-up to the blog that I posted last month, there have been other developments
First, we are thankful that our business has been wild, crazy busy! Our guests have been fantastic. People are just needing to get away from their “work at home” lives. We have had more families using the Flying room than ever before. We wonder if this stay-at-home time has even drawn families closer.
However, we have been called away several times in July. And always, our friends and family have come to the rescue with the B & B. As you recall in the last blog, following Whitney’s death, we had been so pleased to visit with my brother, Mike, in Floyd, VA. He, his wife, and wonder dog, Ax enabled us to play by the river and just escape for a day.
Then, we were so happy to visit with Jack’s 96-year old mother, Eloise, for her birthday July 16. A parade of about 35 church members drove by honking their horns and waving to her. She was so happy and pleased with this birthday surprise! But then the other two shoes fell.
On July 27, both Mike and Eloise died. Our hearts were breaking all over again. It was simply unbelievable. We were able to get away to honor my only brother, a true hero. As a career firefighter, Michael was honored with the ringing of the last bell in a small service at his home surrounded by friends and family, all masked and distanced.
On the heels of that service, we drove to Tennessee to honor and Jack’s mama, a truly adored woman. Eloise McCallen Phillips was honored in a small (masked) service in the funeral home followed by a graveside service with family and friends.
Do I question why? Do I wonder if these deaths were an indirect result of the pandemic? Yes, indeed I do. But I also believe in God and I believe that these wonderful family members knew God too. I think Whitney noticed Uncle Mike stepping into heaven and said, “Wait, what? How come you are here?” Then she ran into those great big, outstretched arms. And I believe Eloise is greeting each of her old friends with a smile, and a little “Hey!”
It is so sad to lose the ones you love, especially so close together. But you know, the living must keep on living! My granddaughter, Destiny is back in (virtual) school. Mike’s wife, Lisa is sorting through papers trying to make sense of the many forms and details. Jack and his brothers are beginning to sort through a lifetime of memories in their childhood home where Eloise lived independently until the very day she died, never having to go into assisted living and as smart as a whip!
Thank-you to our families for pulling together. Thank-you to our guests for forgiving if we overlook a detail or retreat to ourselves. We hope we have not missed too many beats along the way but please know that your presence in our home has been a blessing. One guest gifted me with some Kyanite. I had to look it up to see the healing properties. Here is what I found. Kyanite is an excellent stone for meditation and attunement. It will not retain negative vibrations or energy, therefore never requiring clearing. Kyanite provides balance of yin-yang energy and dispels blockages, moving energy gently through the physical body. I need that!!
Guests may have also noted a group of three candles lit from time to time. A graduate student from several year ago when I was a Professor at NC State sent me a set of candles all the way from Japan. The Japanese custom she described, is to light a candle in honor of your loved one’s memory.
And I do. From time to time, this glow brings me peace. The cards, prayers, and gifts of love keep flowing. Each time I receive a heartfelt gift, I feel God’s hand on my shoulder telling me that they are all ok. They were well-loved on Earth and they are well-loved in heaven.
As you are, we look forward to 2021!
Generally I try to post light hearted material to market our business in this blog. Today it is a little different, so if you prefer not to read something more on the personal side, you may want to skip to a different blog.
Twenty nine days ago, my daughter died. Whitney Lynn DeBord-Wilkinson was 35 years old, a veterinary technician, wife, and mother of two beautiful children.
As a business owner, we have not shared this with our guests who visit the Bed & Breakfast, primarily so we don’t burden them while they are on their vacation and we do not want to seek sympathy from them. We are not really discussing this with new friends yet. We realize it takes courage to express to someone who has lost a dear one that you are “sorry” and people want to find words that can be comforting. The difficulty in “accepting” the words of comfort is that nothing will change the reality of the loss. Up until now, it has been too hard to discuss. We are just taking one step at a time. And we are trying to breathe. Thank-you for understanding that we are not “hiding” this but in time, we can come up with new answers to new questions like” “Do you all have children?” *
For now, having this B & B is a blessing and a distraction.
We want to thank those who have wanted to reach out, but instead, gave us time to process and make some tough decisions regarding our beautiful granddaughter Destiny and growing super grandson Gabe. Quentin is a great dad and has kept Gabe in a routine. For now, Destiny is still with us, as she is every summer. We have been distracting ourselves with activities such as taking local field trips, learning to water ski, Destiny taking guitar lessons, a visit from Baby Gabe, visiting Uncle Mike and his wonder dog Ax,
and a trip to see Jack’s 96-year-old mother in Tennessee on her birthday.
We have received gifts of live plants and nearly 150 caring cards of sympathy, each with a comforting message.
Our beautiful niece. who was very close to Whitney, has established a fund that will be seed money to a trust fund for the children, and the animal hospital where she worked has started a memorial fund called “Whitney’s fund” to care for indigent animals.
*So back to that question, do you have children? Why, yes we do. We have my son, Shawn, who he has two beautiful children; we have Jack’s daughter Jennifer who has two beautiful children. We have our son-in-law, Quentin who has super boy, Gabe but also Adrian. We have Scott, my step son who has two grown children. Then I always include my loving niece Katie and my caring nephew Garrett, who has 4 daughters. There is my sister’s vibrant son, Tony plus more extended family who are all supporting us and Destiny, Whitney’s only daughter.
We feel your prayers and we feel God’s grace placed in our lives even before we knew we would need it. We are moving forward one step at a time.
We have changed our phone number. Why? We finally got high speed internet and with that package came a new phone number. Apparently, they could not port the old one. So, call us at 540-296-5670 to make reservations. We look forward to seeing you soon!
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!