Some years ago, my wife Dianne and her late husband Gary Affolter, decided to enter the Bed and Breakfast industry. It was a dream they saved until their 30 years of teaching was over, and they found themselves in a position to make that "senior" dream come true. They built a new Victorian-style house in the small town of Gentry, Arkansas and worked there for 13 years. Because it had been their dream for many years, they had collected vintage furniture and researched period wallpapers, colors and trim.
After it was built, the county historian came to document what he thought was an actual home from the late 1800s. The historian even painted the Apple Crest Inn so that its picture could hang in the county library among other vintage homes. What follows below are pictures of the house and some of the various rooms within it.
The home as 3 floors plus a full basement and is currently under its third ownership and is being painted a new color, something that seems odd after seeing it the original Victorian colors chosen 22 years ago. New owners have new wishes and perhaps not the same love of vintage heritage. Old solid brick was harvested for all the sidewalks and landscaping trim, and that at least has remained untouched.
The Carriage House houses a four car garage with an apartment above. Long term residents or managers have a separate living choice if desired.
The Wedgwood room was inspired by blue ribbons denoting 1st place and by the fine jasperware invented in England by Josiah Wedgwood. This jasperware is considered the best of the best in fine detailed plates, vases and other pieces. Its most recognizable color is blue although it is made in other colors. This room features a cupola (tower), a fireplace with rare 4-posted Victorian mantle, a dressing room and large bath with whirlpool and 8 foot shower.
The Acropolis room is located on the main floor and has its own private entrance which accommodates both the handicapped and pets. It has its own fireplace and a black-marble bath with whirlpool and large shower. This room originally had Grecian reproductions from the Acropolis Museum in Athens.
The Camelot room features an open bath with whirlpool and shower and was decorated with antique weaponry from England. Gary had collected swords, a shield from King Henry's 6th army corp, a vintage axe and a helmet probably from a Welsh heritage.
The Rose room featured that true Victorian look with roses in the wallpaper and in paintings from Dianne's dad done in the 1940s. The bath has a long iron tub and shower reclaimed from olden days and resurfaced for modern use.
The Orchard room has a bay window overlooking the back grounds, and when Dianne owned the Inn, her collection of apples from all over the world decorated the room above the headboard. Its bath has handmade and hand fired raised tiles above a wainscoting wall and features a rare "shorty" iron tub and shower rescued from earlier days.
One room, the Safari room, had guests in it the day we were there, so there is no picture. The room was decorated with African things Dianne and Gary brought back from their years as missionaries in Nigeria.
The four acre property hosted many weddings and special occasions while Dianne owned it. The current owners do not host as many events, but the grounds provide a quiet comfort.
The formal dining room originally had a table that would seat 12 people. Breakfast was a three-course meal with special homemade touches. Mystery dinner theaters were sometimes held with all the guests.
Dianne remembers the 13 years spent in this ministry as both rewarding and as lots of work. After early morning breakfast preparation, mid-day cleaning rooms and ironing sheets, and afternoon check-ins, retirement looked welcoming. It was a wonderful dream fulfilled, but it's nice to be on the quiet side of life now.
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