Sandra Cartwright-Brown recently celebrated the Conyers House’s 33rd anniversary. She serves as innkeeper of this beautiful B&B, perched upon a picturesque, sloping hillside on Slate Mills Road in Sperryville, on which she and her beloved husband Norman, who passed away in 2012, opened the inn’s doors more than 25 years ago.
Sandra is a delightful fixture in Rappahannock, an accomplished horsewoman, businesswoman and, to all who know her, a generous and giving spirit. She is a Rappahannock jewel.
“We had our first guests on Oct. 10, 1981,” Sandra recounts. “We didn’t know then we were the first B&B in Rappahannock County, nor that 24 others would follow our lead. In the1940s there were several motels in the county, and before that several tourist homes. It’s been a fun trip, these 33 years.”
“The Rappahannock News put us on the map with an article that Daphne Hutchinson, then the editor, wrote on Christmas Eve 1981,” Sandra continues. “The next day, the Inn at Little Washington came to check us out as they had no overnight facilities then. The following weekend they began sending guests. The article and the Inn, plus the announcement I sent to all the women with whom I volunteered for many years, put us on the map.”
Sandra relates that Roger Pierson, her nearest neighbor, calls Conyers House “Sandra’s labor of love.” “He is so right,” she says.
Congratulations on your labor of love, Sandra, and much success for many, many more years to come. For more information, visit conyershouse.com.
Old Hollow Store is enjoying new owners and lower prices, the former having recently renegotiated with suppliers to bring about the latter. “Family Fun Day,” A grand reopening celebration, is planned this Saturday (Nov. 1) at the store.
Rappahannock’s own Christie Ralls (daughter of the Rappahannock News’ Jan Clatterbuck) and Kathy Settle will celebrate taking over the business longtime-farmer Dick McNear started two years ago with discounted foods and revamped menus, which will retain all the store’s favorites, such as sausage gravy weekend breakfasts. Other standard diner fare, such as roast beef and cheddar, steak and cheese, cheeseburgers and daily specials, will also be added, along with favorites suggested by patrons, including hot dogs, barbecue and hot and regular wings.
“Mr. McNear so very kindly offered Kathy and I the opportunity,” Christie tells me. “Kathy and I have known each other since high school, so our partnership is a natural and comfortable outgrowth of an existing longtime friendship.”
Saturday’s festivities, Christie says, will include music, with a disc jockey, from 10 to 3; a moon bounce; a children’s costume contest from 10 to 2, with prizes for different age groups; and a corn hole tournament for $5 per team.
Kathy’s and Christie’s bubbly enthusiasm is infectious as they talk about their ideas — from setting up a toy drop-off box for local children in need to setting up a TV so folks can watch while waiting for their food orders.
They’ve established new hours — 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 9 to 3 Sunday. They have a new Facebook page they plan to update daily so folks can check out specials. They are hoping to place rockers on the porch and welcome all ideas from their patrons. The variety store will remain, along with the hoped-for addition of goods from Luray’s Primitive Corner, including candles, ciders and wax melts to, as Christie says, make the store “smell all yummy.”
“We’ve gotten lots of positive feedback,” Christie says, “and are really looking forward to this new adventure.”
Old Hollow Store is on U.S. 211 just east of Sperryville, at the corner of Old Hollow Road. Call 540-987-9099 to share ideas and suggestions — or better yet, drop in.
All the best to you, Christie and Kathy, in your new adventure.