Welcome to “Your Innkeepers" page where we will share with you a brief overview of our previous lives along with a few details about how we chose Marion, VA for our new endeavor. Dave and I consider ourselves to be somewhat recovering corporate refugees -- having fled the world of business meetings and golden handcuffs to pursue a longtime dream and very rewarding new career as innkeepers.
A little bit about our previous lives . . .
Dave grew up in the Harrisburg, PA area. At a young age, he realized he had a natural talent for, and interest in, computer programming and information systems (IS). That talent and interest carried him through over 40 years of programming, project management, system design, and later into both middle- and upper-management level Operations and Information Systems positions while also providing opportunities for travel within the U.S. as well as Okinawa, Iceland, and Spain. In addition to his IS-related experience, Dave has a noticeable knowledge/interest in engineering-type skills -- whether mechanical, structural, or electrical in nature -- which, by the way, were invaluable during the renovation process. Since the completion of our home's renovation, Dave's been "recruited" by several people/companies here in Marion to assist them with similar efforts. When Dave does get some free time, he enjoys biking, all-grain beer brewing, and woodworking -- primarily woodturning. He has become a contributing member to some of the art galleries here in Marion and also maintains a selection of items in The Collins House Inn's Gift Gallery. If you'd like to see photos of some of his works, please visit our Gift Gallery page.
As for me, I was born and raised in Memphis, TN. A first marriage, and my husband's promotions, would take us to Arkansas, Minnesota, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. It was in Pennsylvania that the time came for us to go our separate ways -- but not before having had almost 10 very enjoyable years of exciting travel, interesting jobs, and great life experiences. For most of those years my jobs consisted of executive-level administrative positions -- for both small and large companies. I met Dave in Pennsylvania and he eventually became not only my partner in life, but a huge motivator for me to venture into the field of Information Systems. My path into the IS world led to PC-based hardware/software support, network administration, technical writing/documentation, and ultimately into middle-management for customer service and data entry. Now, I not only get to continue using those skills to manage our B&B business, but also have time to spend on some of my other passions -- cooking, gardening, and entertaining.
Our journey toward innkeeping . . .
We spent 13 years researching the B&B business/industry -- often times staying at bed and breakfasts when traveling for both leisure and business. Though there are many good books on the market that explain how to open and run a B&B (and we did our share of reading some), it's hard to beat personal experience. The breadth of knowledge (and encouragement) that innkeepers from both small and large establishments shared with us was of far greater value than anything we read in a book.
When the time came for us to make the leap from Corporate America to becoming innkeepers, we were excited, liberated, and partly scared to death! Our search for just the right place would take us through many familiar states -- with even a 3-day race through Vermont. We were ready for life in a small town and wanted lots of "green" -- rolling hills and/or mountains, fresh air, trees, etc. Even though, to this day, we're not totally certain why we were continually drawn to Marion, VA -- perhaps Marion chose us -- we just always found ourselves comparing other places we went to this wonderful, quaint, friendly little town nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
We visited Marion a couple of times -- actually looking at another property downtown -- but kept catching this property out of the corner of our eyes -- and, it was for sale. Having decided that we should at least "take a look", our realtor arranged for us to see the inside. Once inside, it may have really been 5 or 10 minutes, but it seemed instantaneous to us that THIS WAS IT! From that day on, we never looked back. It was as if EVERYTHING fell perfectly into place going forward. It's hard to describe how privileged we felt to become the new owners (actually "stewards" is probably a better term) of this beautiful, historic home. If you're interested in reading more about our home's previous life, visit Our Inn's History page. If you're interested in reading about the almost 6-year renovation we performed on the home prior to opening the B&B, visit "The Renovation" page.
Now, our goal is to maintain an atmosphere that creates a level of warmth and relaxation for our guests that enables them to feel as comfortable and welcome in our inn, and Marion, as we do.
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