We recently stayed at a gracious Bed and Breakfast, the Foxfield Inn, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Our room and bath were beautifully furnished with a comfortable bed and luxurious linens with even a rubber duckie available for the spa tub. No TV in the room. It was good to get away from my usual diet of too much CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and ESPN.
Although there were five guestrooms, we were the only guests the first night with two other couples the next night. (We were there midweek in less-than-high season.) There was a pantry for the guests, with coffee, tea, water, sodas, and very good cookies—I postponed the start of what I said to myself would soon be a diet.
The Foxfield Inn had two public rooms and, of course, a breakfast room. And that breakfast was something. Three courses of innovative dishes featuring local ingredients. I loved that bacon.
On that first day and morning, without other guests, there were opportunities to chat with our hosts, Dan and Kathryn, and I learned why the breakfast was so good. Kathryn had a degree in food science and spent the bulk of her career in the food service industry developing products for the likes of Cadbury. The spouse asked for a recipe for one of the dishes we were served, but Kathryn said that it was a variation, with seasonal ingredients, on something she had made many times without a recipe. Dan proudly stated that she was working on a cookbook. Bring on that book, Kathryn!
Dan was a chemical engineer and entered what he no doubt expected would be his lifelong career at Kodak. He worked on specialty films used for DNA fingerprinting. I don’t know how long this valuable work lasted, but soon this important product was in the bin with buggy whips as digital camera technology emerged. Kathryn soon said to him, “Let’s do something different.” I have heard many people over the years propose something similar, but few ever acted on it. Forty years ago, I even heard a number of couples say—in those years before the second Bob Newhart Show—that they planned to open a New England bed and breakfast. Dan and Kathryn fell into the small numbers that actually followed through. They started looking for a bed and breakfast, and after an extensive search, they bought the Foxfield Inn nine years ago. The spouse and I are glad they did. We highly recommend it.
We shared a breakfast table on our second morning at the Foxfield Inn bed and breakfast with a couple driving from their Florida home in The Villages to their home in Rochester, New York. The woman did not work for The Villages, but no one who did could have been more enthusiastic about that development near Ocala. I had heard about the place before, but I learned a lot more from her. I had assumed that it was not a place for me, but her infectious excitement about The Villages made me wonder about it.
In the small world department, he, too, had worked at Kodak, but what I found most intriguing about him is that he played in a band. I asked him what kind of music, and he said, “Eighties rock.” When I asked what kind of bands he was in when a kid and did they play anywhere, he said he had only learned to play the guitar when he was in his thirties. He, like the hosts, had said to himself, “Let me do something different.” He had. There was a lesson somewhere in there.
The other couple was younger, both divorced, and living in New York City. She reminded me of a young Bette Midler, and that made me like her immediately. He had gone to the University of Virginia business school and was back to attend some sort of college event that was held down the road from the bed and breakfast. We had passed the site–a large field that stretched out of sight over a hill—coming and going to the Foxfield Inn and learned that horse races of the steeplechase variety would be held there just after we left. She had trepidations. She did not like to see animals get hurt and cited some statistics about how many horses had been put down during a race meeting at Saratoga, New York. He, on the other hand, was excited about the event and said that the section where the undergraduates congregated was always good for laughs. I asked “Why?” He replied that the undergrads got very drunk and it was “so funny” watching them throw up and fall down. I did not know how to respond, and I remained quiet.
(Concluded on July 25.)