Hot Springs Victorian Inn under new ownership in Bath (in two parts)
For visitors new to the Highlands over the holidays, and for locals who may be looking be looking for spacious quarters for visiting family next time around, Bath County has a wide variety of independently owned lodging places. Although some may be seasonal, each is unique and offers a special experience. The Hot Springs Victorian Inn, which was formerly the Kings Victorian Inn, is owned and managed by Dale and Carol Lawrence. They were opened through the summer and fall, and will welcome visitors again in February. I talked to Dale and Carol about their paths to hosting a bed and breakfast, and their desire to serve. Dale began.
“Early in my married life with my first wife, we would go to many different bed and breakfasts, and always enjoyed meeting people, and always were pleasantly surprised with whatever they might serve, and were always helped by the people there who knew the area, whether it be England or Maryland or Virginia. They knew the area much better than we did so it’s always nice to have that personal touch.
Carol credits her mother with introducing her to the work, and the pleasure, of offering hospitality.
“When we lived at Virginia Beach at the ocean front, she would always invite the neighbors over, and we’d sit on the front porch and have hors d’oeuvres, and she was very sociable.”
I asked them how things go from the very beginning of a visit to the Hot Spring Victorian Inn.
“First thing we shake their hands and introduce ourselves, and then we ask them if they’ve been here before because the Kings ran this for thirty years so many of these people are repeat guests, and then we give them a quick tour of the downstairs, the living room, the game room, and the dining room. Then Dale usually shows them to their room upstairs, and on the way up, he talks about coffee and what time they want breakfast.”
Dale mentioned first time guests, or those new to the Bath-Highland area.
“They’ll ask a question about what’s a good place to go eat, and so I’ll make a recommendation. We have our certain favorites, which I won’t go into. They’ll sometimes have a conversation that lasts longer than just that, but that’s the minimum. But oftentimes they ask us, well, what prompted you to get into this? And so we’ll share with them, what we enjoy most, and why we were attracted to it. Then they’ll even ask us, well, ‘how’s it going so far?’ And I’ll say, ‘It’s going better than I thought it would, which is the truth. It really is.”
Dale and Carol’s story seems like a journey of its own kind. Carol introduced Dale to his first wife, her best friend, and they all remained good friends over the years. After Dale’s loss, they started out on the next chapter together. The Lawrences spent about a year renovating a potential bed and breakfast about a half an hour from Blacksburg where it seemed like the draw might be strong. When they need a break from that undertaking, they retreated to some peace and quiet between Warm Springs and Mountain Grove. It didn’t take them long to want to put down roots here.
They made the change without, as Dale described, “knowing that there was something over the horizon that would come up.”
In part two of this story, listeners can hear more about the change in ownership of what was Kings Victorian Inn, and is now under new ownership. For ongoing coverage of local lodging and dining establishments new to the Allegheny Highlands, stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio.
In the first of this pair of stories listeners met Carol and Dale Lawrence, the new owners of the Hot Springs Victorian Inn. The couple had been working towards setting up a bed and breakfast for a while, but had not come across just the exact right place. Not too long after finding a home in Bath County, the Lawrences met Richard and Liz King.
“The way we discovered that the Kings even were there, other than just driving by the place and seeing it, and thinking ‘ Boy, that must be a nice Bed and Breakfast’. We never really thought it would be something that we could do. Somebody from our church, Warm Springs Presbyterian, told us ‘ The Kings are interested in selling that place. You might want to go by and see if they are’ And Carol loves to tell the story, that I’m going by one day, and all of the sudden I just hit the brakes, and turn right into the place. And we drive up, knock on the door, and the Kings aren’t there, but Liz’z sister is there, and we say ‘ Are they interested in selling?’, and she says ‘Yes, I think they are.”
“So we get their number and we call back, call that evening I think, or maybe the next morning, and they said ‘ Well, yes we are.’. And I said ‘Can my wife Carol and I come over, and talk to you guys and maybe make you an offer?’, and they said ‘Sure’.
Dale noted it was one of those fortunate business transfers in which both parties come out satisfied.
“It was a double blessing. They were looking to get out, and we were looking to get in something that was already running. So it was a blessing for them, blessing for us.”
Carol talked a little about the house itself which is visible on the right traveling South into Hot Springs on 220.
“We have six main rooms in the house to rent, and it’s contemporary in most of the rooms with antiques, reproduction antiques. It’s traditional style, but one room is truly a Queen Victoria room. We also have the honeymoon cottage if you like privacy. It’s a little more expensive but you do have two floors. It’s very quaint and cozy.”
For travelers who don’t want to leave their furry friends behind, the Hot Springs Victorian Inn can accommodate.
“We’re dog friendly. We have a fenced in back yard, so you can bring your dog, and enjoy the weekend if you want to bring your dog.
“And also, just to let everybody know that’s hearing this, we’re planning on being closed in January, but we’re planning on being reopened sometimes before Valentine’s Day, and we’re hoping to have a Valentine’s Day Special.”
Dale and Carol mentioned wine, chocolate and other notions that make such a getaway memorable.
Before concluding, I asked the Lawrences if there were anything else they’d like to share with listeners in case you are interested welcoming the new business owners to the area, or might be looking for a unique, stylish place to recommend to friends and family.
“Carol and I both feel very briefly to say, we both believe that we’ve been called by God to minister in hospitality. And so that’s what we are doing, and that why we especially have the joy that we have, and just greeting people, and just doing the work, even if it’s hard work, even if it involves sometimes just doing something that you have to do that’s unexpected. That can throw you sometimes, but we always come back to fact, ‘You know what? God has us here for a reason.”
For details on The Hot Springs Victorian Inn visit their website at: hotspringvictorianinn.com