Ridgeside Bed and Breakfast Opening in January, 2017



We are happy to share the news that Ridgeside Bed and Breakfast is now accepting reservations for 2017, and our new website is up and running at ridgesidebb.com.

Please join our mailing list from the homepage to receive updates and promotions. We’ll be sending an email shortly with an exciting discount on January and February stays.


Thank you to all for your support over the last few years. Your words of encouragement, help with renovation projects and yard work, and your excitement has been invaluable and kept us going. Thank you, thank you! We are looking forward to sharing Ridgeside with you very soon.

Hardwood Floors are Installed

Where does the time go? The busier we get with renovations and bed and breakfast preparations, the harder it is to keep up with the blog. We have a lot to share, though, so stay with us! We’re on the home stretch and will be open before you know it.


Another big transformation is complete: we’ve had hardwood floors installed throughout the bed and breakfast including the bedrooms. It’s made such a great change; the space looks more polished, inviting, and beautiful.

We hired a contractor to expertly install the hickory wood because this project was just too large for us to tackle over weekends. He did a wonderful job – we’re so happy with everything.


The hickory flooring we selected has a lot of character and variety in length of boards and in color. We love the rustic look and the complexity it adds to the space. We’re starting to add area rugs, tables, chairs, etc. to furnish the bedrooms and the great room, and it’s all coming together.


Kayaking and Hiking at False Cape State Park with e2 Outdoor Adventures

IMG_4034We recently left the Blue Ridge Mountains for an exciting adventure on Virginia’s coast. We joined our friends at e2 Outdoor Adventures for a kayaking and hiking trip exploring False Cape State Park in Sandbridge, Virginia.

Chris, Owner and Chief Adventure Officer at e2 Outdoor Adventures, founded this outdoor adventure company in 2014. It “is an adventure travel and outdoor lifestyle company created to provide an avenue for adults who demand more from their travel experiences.”

Interested in a guided trip near Ridgeside? e2 Outdoor Adventures also offers guided adventures in our neck-of-the-woods, such as a 3 day/2 night Shenandoah National Park backpacking trip.

IMG_4013For our False Cape State Park trip, our group met Friday morning at Little Island Park, and we prepped for our paddle through the waters of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. After a tutorial and instructional session from our Black Dog Paddle guide – we were off! The day looked beautiful, but weather along the coast can change quickly. As we paddled, we were greeted by a strong headwind, so it look lots of muscle to keep the boats moving. If we stopped, we would quickly drift backwards! The water was pretty, though, and I loved the feeling of floating on the surface in my boat, gliding along.

IMG_4062After about 8 miles of kayaking, we hiked into the campsites to setup our tents. Later, we walked along a short trail to the dunes and arrived at the shoreline – it was so nice! The beach at False Cape State Park is extremely quiet and untouched since you have to either hike, bike, or paddle into the park.

IMG_4040Chris made delicious pulled-chicken nachos for dinner and Rice Krispies treats for dessert. Since we were pretty tired from the day’s paddling, we went to bed early and slept to the lulling sounds of frogs, rain, and a little thunder.

On Saturday, we started the day with blueberry and chocolate-chip pancakes and bacon. What a treat!

FullSizeRenderAfter breakfast, we hiked and explored the park. It was a sunny morning with blue skies. We visited the site of a historic coastal community and searched for (and found!) 1940s and ‘50s beach relics – old automobiles that had been left behind in the sand.

To our surprise, the headwind that blew on Friday shifted overnight because of the storms, and we faced a headwind on our return paddle. It was windy, it rained, and then it poured. What an adventure we had! After our exciting day, we drove into Virginia Beach for some seafood and spent Sunday exploring the city on bikes.

Thank you e2 Outdoor Adventures for the amazing trip and experience. We greatly enjoyed the companionship, the outdoors, and the adventure!

Ridgeside Soap Company

IMG_7299Time to share our exciting soap news: we have launched Ridgeside Soap Company! Our handmade soaps are all natural, plant-based, and feature earthy, woodsy, and herbaceous scents. They are cleansing and moisture rich and are always free of palm oil, fragrance oils, and artificial colorants. Soaps are now available for purchase via our new Etsy shop.

We are currently listing the following soaps for sale, but these offerings will change throughout the year with the seasons and availability.

  • the blue ridge bar – scented with pine and Virginia cedar essential oils
  • the lavender sage bar – with French green clay
  • the beer bar – with local porter
  • the smoked salt bar – with smoked sea salt and activated charcoal
  • the adventurer’s bar – with poppy seeds and scented with eucalyptus and Virginia cedar essential oils

IMG_7327I’ve tweaked and perfected our base recipe and am thrilled with the final result. This base recipe includes olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, and either shea butter or cocoa butter, depending on the particular soap. Our soaps produce a great lather while providing moisture to the skin.

If you aren’t familiar with natural soap, you are in for a treat. At Ridgeside Soap Company, we make small-batch cold process soap, a method in which a chemical reaction occurs between water, lye, and fats and oils. Through this process called saponification, nourishing soap with glycerin is created. Commercially made bars contain irritants and can dry out your skin, and the glycerin is extracted and used in other products, like lotions. Our soaps have pure ingredients and are good for your skin!

IMG_7282Another nice note about natural soaps – they are biodegradable and environmentally friendly, so they are great to bring on outdoor adventures and camping trips. Plus they are gentle enough for kids and pets.

IMG_7226Ridgeside Soap Company will be the sister company to the future Ridgeside Bed and Breakfast. Guest bars will be included with each stay, and full size bars of various scents will be available for purchase to take home with you.

We are so grateful for everyone’s support, and we are enjoying this Ridgeside journey so much.

The Tulip Poplar Bathroom is Finished!

The Tulip Poplar bathroom construction is complete – actually it has been finished for a couple months. I can’t believe I hadn’t shared that exciting news with you all. I have neglected the blog these last few months, but as it’s a new year and a time for fresh starts, I plan to get the blog posts going again!


We are really happy with how this new bathroom turned out. The shower is spacious, and the main area of the bathroom with sink and toilette has such an efficient layout. We had a smaller space to work with, but the finished product doesn’t feel that way at all. It’s perfect.

IMG_6107Remember what this space used to look like? Take a look at the demo and construction, electrical, and plumbing, and the shower, beadboard, and tile posts. This space wasn’t a bathroom at all but began as two bedroom closets. After a lot of work, we now have a bright and cheery bathroom. We used large, white porcelain tiles for the shower walls and beige-white marble tiles for the floor. The shower head is a square waterfall design – so wonderful! It’s like showering under a little rain cloud.IMG_2315

For the main area of this bathroom, we installed bead board on the lower section of the walls and painted the upper section a buttery yellow – like the yellow in tulip poplar flowers. Josh built a small mantle that runs the length of one wall, above the sink. This ledge will be handy to place toiletries and also a lovely spot for a small bud vase.


It feels great to be making progress on renovations, and we can’t wait to share  spaces like this cheery bathroom with future Ridgeside guests.

Cardinal Point Winery’s Annual Oyster Roast

IMG_5586There are many great fall festivals, but one of our local favorites is Cardinal Point Winery’s Oyster Roast. This event is held over a Saturday and Sunday. This year’s is the 12th annual and takes place this coming weekend, November 14th and 15th , 12:00pm – 5:00pm. There is live music, wine, and lots of seafood from Rappahannock River Oyster Co.

IMG_5589Admission is $12 in advance and $17 at the door, and it includes a wine glass and free wine tasting. Wine is available for purchase by the glass or bottle, and there is a variety of food for purchase, as well. Last year the food offerings included raw or steamed oysters (of course!), crab cakes, and seafood stew.

IMG_5590This is a great time of year to be outside – a chill is in the air and the landscape has transformed. If you’ve been meaning to take a trip to Nelson County, come on out and enjoy some local wine and oysters. Maybe we’ll see you there!

Fermenting Our Own Hard Cider

This year’s apple harvest was fantastic. Our little orchard produced so many apples – too many even for the deer to keep up with, which means we were able to pick a lot for ourselves. At first we made applesauce. But there were still bushels and bushels of apples. What next? Apple cider! We’ve made applesauce plenty of times but never tried making cider. We were up for the challenge.

IMG_1751We let our apples sit and “sweat” for a couple weeks – allowing them to rest in a cool place before pressing them makes them juicier and sweeter. We’re not sure what types of apple trees we have, but it seems to be a variety of tarter green apples and sweeter red apples. The combination makes for a great blend.

7Josh ordered a nice, sturdy looking fruit press, and we got to work. After some trial and error, we found that quartering the apples and then grinding them in a large food processor worked best for extracting the maximum amount of juice. Some folks have fruit crushers for this part of the process, but we made it work without one.

3We filled the fruit press with the fine apple pulp that we prepared in the food processor. Once the press was totally full, we pressed! The juice was sweet and flavorful. Nothing beats fresh apple cider, and it was really satisfying to work hard and be rewarded with something so tasty.

2We kept a small amount to drink as sweet cider but put the majority in a six gallon carboy to ferment into hard cider. We used some champagne yeast, combined with some wild, natural yeast, and added in a little bit of sugar to help the fermentation process. Over the next few weeks to months, we’ll monitor the sugar content and ABV to see when it’ll be ready to drink. Hopefully we’ll have a nice hard cider to enjoy later this year.