I have been on the road a lot this summer. It is one of the things I love about my new job. Although I officially started this position last September, I was paid as a contractor last summer so I could begin attending the yearly meetings and conferences. So, this is my second summer on the road. I love it. I love meeting people, some whose names I see on social media posts and on checks that come in as donations. This being the second summer, I have gotten to see some people for the second time around, and experience the joy of recognition and catching up.
This year, one of the trips was to Toledo, Ohio. Because of the amount of stuff I was bringing with me and because this particular event was for a full week, I drove. It turns out, West Virginia is about half-way in between Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Toledo, Ohio. I found an airbnb that looked just right, and booked a night both for on the way up, and for on the way back.
It was perfect. There were three separate buildings for travelers on a working strawberry farm (although this was not strawberry season). As much as I love people, I love quiet and fireflies and bats in twilight, too. The accommodations were amazing and private (I stayed in a different building for each of the stays). I thought those aspects were my favorite things.
But, it turns out, it was breakfast that has called to my reflections. Not all airbnbs offer a home-cooked, full breakfast with the addition of home-grown cantaloupe and berries. The hostess, there, did. There was one long dining table in a dining room that was just for us, the guests.* The first morning meal on my way to Ohio I shared with various members of a family who had traveled together from Oklahoma for the funeral of the beloved family patriarch in a nearby West Virginia town and with another lady who was returning from visiting her children and grandchildren. The morning meal on my way back home to North Carolina was shared with two graduate student friends who had met halfway in their journey back to UNC-Chapel Hill. They were both studying library science with a focus on archives.
It was this, rather than the old buildings and furniture, that transported me back in time as a lone traveler on the road, meeting other fellow travelers at a pause in our journeys. At hotels, there is often the offer of a “continental breakfast,” but the food is of varying degrees of freshness, never cooked just for me, and often grabbed on the way out the door. Even at a “regular” bed and breakfast, it is often so easy to sit at a small table with family and friends or alone. Rarely do I find the long communal wood dining table of an inn and the food cooked by the innkeeper.
*Unfortunately (or fortunately), I did not take a photo of the dining room.
This post is not written as a “review.” However, for those who would like to know, the airbnb was Country Road House and Berries in Clendenin, West, Virginia. I also bought a jar of strawberry preserves, and it has been a delight. (Obviously, not being the hostess, I make no guarantees about continued offerings.)