For those who are familiar with the Brunswick Mineral Springs Bed and Breakfast in Lawrenceville, Virginia, you would have to say a beautiful metamorphosis has been taking place.
After it was built in 1785, the property had been used by it's first owners as a school, a tobacco plantation and -- because of mineral springs that flow beneath the property -- one of Virginia's very first spa resorts.
Back in 1983, when Nanette and David Spears first navigated their car through the trees on the long driveway, the estate had sat empty for over two years. There had been a fire. The main house, the grounds and the many original outbuildings on the 29-acre estate were in a sad state of decay. That's what happens to things when there is no one there to give it love.
But that was exactly what they brought with them.
They purchased the property and set out to bring Nanette's dream of being the innkeeper of her own bed and breakfast a reality. The renovations took three years and on May 7, 1986 the Brunswick Mineral Springs Bed and Breakfast was established. Unfortunately, after nearly twenty years of living her dream, Nanette Spears fell ill and passed away, leaving David, and her beloved Bed and Breakfast alone. An empty sadness fell over the property again. That is until one Thanksgiving, when a most wonderful thing happened.
David Spears met my mom, Billie.
Only one word came to her mind the first time she saw the bed and breakfast... "Home."
I felt the same thing the first time I saw the property.
So did my daughter, Elizabeth, and my brother, Ed.
It was so natural, that first day I called David "dad."
He's part of our family now... and he will never be alone again.
I have never seen my mom so happy, and that joy can been seen in everything she does at the Bed and Breakfast. She has planted gardens, created beautiful seating areas... and there isn't much she hasn't tickled with a paintbrush.
Over the past three years, we have all played a part in the new transformation. From clearing brush and making repairs to painting the pool house floor to look like tile, the love of many hearts and the labor of many hands has helped to breathe new life into the property. It has truly been a renaissance, a re-birth, for so many lives.
But now... even more changes are coming.
Mom and dad want to do other things. They want to travel, rest, and to spend the time they normally dedicate to the property and their guests to adoring and pampering each other.
So, starting in January 2019, the Brunswick Mineral Springs Bed and Breakfast will have a new Innkeeper and General Manager... me!
That's me in the photo being held by my mom as we sat on the steps in the library of the B&B. My daughter and grandbabies , who live in Virginia Beach, are on the steps in front of us with their fur-baby, Kirby.
While I have lived in Connecticut and Michigan and currently live in Florida, I was born in Virginia. Nearly my entire family lives either in Virginia, West Virginia or one of the Carolinas and every time I leave, they are what I leave behind. Needless to say, the B&B has become "home" to all of us in more ways than we could ever explain.
About a year ago, with the help of a talented web-master named Michael Sagliocca, I gave the Brunswick Mineral Springs Bed and Breakfast a new website and a Facebook page. I have been taking photos, writing blogs, sharing our evolution on Facebook. Michael works his magic with social media. We are reaching out, growing our guest registry and solidifying an impressive five-star rating on both Trip Advisor and Yelp.
On my last visit in September, I helped dad with the many duties of operating the B&B. I kept the boiler, which I affectionately named Seymore (after the ravenous plant in Little Shop of Horrors), well fed with wood to keep the indoor pool heated.
I weeded gardens, cleared brush, picked up fallen branches, mowed and raked acres of grass. I cleaned rooms, changed sheets, processed laundry, went grocery shopping and rose before the sun to prepare breakfast for our guests. I even found a few extra minutes to fold towels to look like swans!
In the months prior to that visit , I was contacted by and coordinated with Mr. Tracy Clary of The Old Brunswick Camp #512, Virginia Division of the Sons of The Confederate Veterans regarding a fabulous event, related to the historic significance of the property. During the event, which coincided with our 2nd family reunion at the B&B, I helped mom and dad host the near 200 guests that attended a tombstone dedication ceremony to honor one of the original owners, Captain William Rice Jones, who is buried there with many others from his family.
Touring small groups through the main house was so much fun.
It was during that visit that dad officially gave me his blessing to take over management of the Bed and Breakfast. It was such an honor. I am determined to make him proud. The next step is ownership. But first comes the learning.
In the meantime, I have been doing a lot of research, a lot of reading, and a lot of planning.
Most recently, I designed a new brochure. I will be bringing a lot of new ideas to the B&B!
While our guests already enjoy a full breakfast in our elegant dining room each morning, I will be adding a room service menu, specialty pick-nick baskets and the option of being served a romantic, private dinner in one of our many beautiful gardens.
We will have Special Occasion Packages for weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. We'll even have a "Pop the Question" package to help make the proposal as memorable as the wedding day!
Try one of our new themed weekend packages, like "Artist's Retreat" or "Body, Mind, Spirit." How about a Murder Mystery Dinner Package or a weekend designed just for you and your fur-babies?
Returning guests will receive special rates and first booking options! Veterans, active military, firefighters, members of law enforcement and all first responders will always receive special rates.
Art Fairs, Luncheons, Kentucky Derby soirées in the Grand Pavilion and Great Gatsby New Years Eve parties in the main house. Scavenger and Easter Egg Hunts! Did you ever want to learn how to make glass beads?
Exciting changes are coming to the Brunswick Mineral Springs Bed and Breakfast!
I hope you will, too!