Why We Decided to Open a Bed & Breakfast

Posted on March 9, 2019 by Bedfordlandings

Many have asked us why we decided to build and operate a Bed & Breakfast. We generally tell the story to our breakfast guests who ask. But this week, it has become even clearer to me why we chose this life.

We explain to people that we wanted to move to an airport property in Virginia. Jack’s dream was to walk out his front door and be near his airplanes. He can hop in a plane and just take a leisurely flight over beautiful Smith Mountain Lake. He now spends 6-8 hours a day in the hangar completing a decade long project of building a 4-seat traveling airplane called an RV-10. We are hoping to travel more in the coming years!

RV-10 airplane

RV-10 under construction

I have become involved in the local community with singing, photography, and gardening.

Karen Singing







We have met many interesting people who have walked through the doors of Bedford Landings. We enjoy preparing a personalized home cooked, made from scratch breakfast with love and care. We have found this a welcoming community offering the type of the activities that are a fit for us. We are indeed happy that we made the decision to live here. People ask if running a B&B is a lot of work? Indeed it is but we like the schedule. We are up at 6:30, serve breakfast at 8:00 and the kitchen is clean by 9:00. We check-in people in the afternoon and are generally free to make evening plans.Breakfast room

What are the downsides?

• When people don’t come down for a fresh, hot breakfast, we are disappointed. When they say, ”I’m not much of a breakfast eater.” We silently wonder why they chose to stay in a full service bed and breakfast.

• When people decide to stop to go antiquing or for a late dinner before checking in without calling. Then we have to cancel our evening plans.
Other than these few pet peeves, we truly love sharing our home and helping people understand more about Smith Mountain Lake. Many who visit, come to spend time on the water or to attend a wedding or a family reunion, while others may be searching for a retirement home.

But there is more to why we retired nearly 10 years ago to move away from our three children and six grand children to build a B &B at an airport. It has to do with “living.” This week on March 7th, I turned 65 years old. On March 8th, Jack turned 66 years old. My dad died one month short of his 65th birthday (cancer). Jack’s Dad died when he was 68 (cancer). His dad was a medical doctor and worked until shortly after his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. My dad took an early retirement as a university administrator at age 60. He moved to Florida with my stepmother and was having a blast exploring, meeting new friends, golfing and generally socializing; until he couldn’t.

Karen with her Dad

Karen with your children and her dad.

Unlike our fathers, we didn’t want to work until we died. As a tenured professor, I had so enjoyed my active career but wanted a new challenge and to do something totally different. As a mechanical design engineer, then an engineering manager, Jack was tired of boring budget meetings, corporate transitions, and laying off staff. He wanted to quit that life but not sit still!

Jack with his Mama

Jack and his beautiful Mama

My mom died 5 years ago, as we were finishing up building the B&B. Her birthday is this month. So I am looking into the future through the lens of my parents. With nostalgia, I am entering into “old age” and wondering how I will gracefully accept my wrinkles and gray hair. Jack’s mom is the epitome of grace as she nears her 95th birthday still living in the house in which Jack grew up.

A friend said to me recently, “I’m not afraid of dying, I am afraid of not living.” Thank-you Joe, you expressed what I was feeling. We moved here to LIVE and we will continue to LIVE and hopefully thrive–until we can’t!

Chick Magnet and Fork in the Road dressed for Halloween 2018

One Comment

Sheridan on March 9, 2019

And you have become quite the Inn 🏨 experts. Always reaching and growing!

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