As reported by Don Herschell in the Observer-Reporter,
June 15, 1993:
" AVELLA - I arrived at
Weatherbury Farm in a drizzle. It was 5p.m. Friday, the end of a long week and the gas
tank was almost empty.
So was I.
From the outside, the farm looked like any other -- 104 acres with a large
hayfield, a couple of tractors, an old white farmhouse, a barn, a garage and a few other
outbuildings. A 'farm vacation' sign hung at the end of the driveway, my only clue that
this was a bed and breakfast.
The owners, Dale and Marcy Tudor, say they still have about five years of work to
do outside the main house, including stripping the paint and repainting this summer, then
adding a conservatory off the dining room. They also plan to restore a summer kitchen and
put in two more guest rooms.
Private home bed and breakfasts often reflect the interests and personalities of
the their owners. At Weatherbury Farm, that means you can learn a great deal about local
history, world travel and gardening.
My stay began with a tour of the historic 130 year-old house, which the Tudors have
painstakingly restored over the past seven years. With my first step inside, I could tell
that the owners had put a lot of work into restoring the house and paid a great deal of
attention to detail.
When the Tudors first bought the house, a woman told them she had spent seven years
working on a bed and breakfast.
'Dale and I said, 'That's not going to be us.' We thought two years, and we'd be
ready,' said Mrs. Tudor, a self-employed accountant. 'But there's so much work. Here we
are seven years later, just having finished the inside.'
The tour included the two guest rooms, the music room, living room, kitchen, dining
room, and Mrs. Tudor's office. Each room has wooden floors and is furnished with some old
and antique furniture.
Decorated in light blue and while, almost every room has been rewired, and electric
candles have been placed in each window.
Mrs. Tudor said it took her six weeks, working eight hours a day, just to strip the
paint form the original fir living room floor.
6 p.m. -- Dinnertime, and I was low on cash. Instead of resorting to a credit card,
we drove jut a few miles to Wellsburg, W.Va. and used a cash machine. Then we went to the
historic Drover's Inn, where we ate a relaxing dinner and talked with owners Mark and
Afterward, we stopped at Brooke Hills Playhouse, where productions are held in a
converted barn. We spike with managing director, Shari Harper, and then watched the troupe
of community actors rehearse a scene from 'My Fair Lady.'
The park, just a few miles from the B&B, also has a par three golf course and
driving range, miniature golf, paddle boating, tennis and picnic areas.
In addition, Weatherbury Farm is less than a mile from Breezy Heights Gold Driving
Range and about 1 1/2 miles from Meadowcroft Village.
9 p.m. -- We returned to the farm and talked while the Tudors' 12-year-old son,
Nigel, pumped out ' The Blue Danube' on the pedal-powered player piano in the music room.
We agreed on a wake-up time, and I went upstairs to my room.
The Tudors have traveled the United States and have been to numerous foreign
countries, including England, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Greece and the Greek
Island of Mykonos.
One wall of the upstairs hallway is filled with framed drawings from the countries
they've visited. They say that Europe's bed and breakfasts inspired them to get one of
10 p.m. -- The hours spent in this room were the most relaxing part of the stay,
Attention to detail was apparent.
I spent more than an hour scanning a few of the magazines in the rack by the bed --
titles such as Country Living, Flower and Garden, National Geographic and European Travel
Atop the dresser were several books, mainly historical and spy novels and a
collection of Louis l'Armour short stories. Books about farm life were on the nightstand
Plants and old-fashioned framed family pictures had been placed around the room,
and real flowers -- lilacs, weigela and peony -- were in an Atlas Mason jar. The attached
bathroom was equipped with a pull-chair toilet, a shower and an old-fashioned pedestal
Two reading lamps were above the bed. Eight large pillows covered the bed and on
the wall stenciled flowers matched the sheets, pillow cases, valences and nightstand
6 a.m. -- I woke to the smell of flowers and the sound of rain pattering on the tin
roof, a breeze through the trees and cows mooing in pasture nearby. It was already light
outside so I showered, dressed and went downstairs.
7 a.m. -- I slipped quietly out the front door, passed several cats on the front
porch and walked around the back yard. There, Mrs. Tudor has herb and woodland and
wildflower gardens as well as a garden filled with plants that hummingbirds enjoy. Her son
has his own collection of exotic plants.
Passing through the gazebo door, I came into the pool area. The inground
pool is larger that a regular family pool and ranges in depth from 3 to 8 feet. It's
surrounded by white, wooden chaise lounges
Weatherbury Farm was named for the setting of Thomas Hardy's novel, 'Far From the
Madding Crowd.' Sitting alone by the pool on a cool morning, I understood why.
As their two dogs barked, the Tudors' herds of sheep and Hereford cows and calfs
8 a.m. The Tudors call it their 'bountiful breakfast' and it's more food than most
city folks could handle. The buffet included strawberries and cream, apple-cinnamon
pancakes, a vegetable-egg casserole, fruit, cereal, fresh coffee and orange juice.
Over breakfast, the Tudors talked about some of the guests who have stayed there
over the past year: a woman from Cecil who spent Mother's Day there with her two daughters
and a daughter-in-law, business travelers who seek out B&Bs for 'the personal touch'
and parents of students at Bethany and Washington and Jefferson colleges.
'The reason that we named it Weatherbury Farm was we thought that people from
Pittsburgh would be coming down here to get away from it all, but we didn't have that at
first,' Mrs. Tudor said. 'Now we're getting more inquiries about that.'
9 a.m. At a farm vacation bed and breakfast -- in contrast to a regular B&B --
you can get a taste of real farm life, including farm work.
After breakfast we went outside to feed some of the Tudor's animals. In addition to
the cows, sheep, cats and dogs, the family has two bantam chickens, and two lop-eared
rabbits that visitors can feed.
The second cutting of hay will be baled into squares later this summer, and guests
who want to try it can help with some of the work, Tudor said. For insurance reasons,
however, guests can't do any heavy farm work. "
This article also appeared in The
Enterprise (Burgettstown, PA) on June 23, 1993.