Meet the Innkeepers

While on their honeymoon in 1998, Orquida and Dan Ingraham had the pleasure of staying at a couple of very impressive bed & breakfast inns in Arizona and New Mexico. It was their first B&B experience and it ended up changing their lives. It was at that moment that they realized they had stumbled across their future careers and lifestyle. Within four years, in the summer of 2002, they left their townhouse and jobs in Northern Virginia and bought this magnificent house in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains to become innkeepers.
 
It certainly hasn’t always been smooth sailing, what with no experience and a 160-year-old house to deal with. But after thirteen years and serving over 15,000 guests, they’re starting to get this innkeeping thing figured out. Of course, there are always challenges and more things to learn, but that’s what makes it interesting. What makes it fun is the opportunity to meet so many kind and interesting people from across the country and around the world. They wouldn’t change that for anything.

Orquida (or-KWEE-dah) hails from Northern Virginia, by way of Miami where she was born.  She graduated from Marymount University and prior to becoming an innkeeper spent over a decade in various accounting positions, primarily with defense contractors. She worked long hours back then too, but now the commute is much shorter.

Orquida plans and prepares those fantastic breakfasts each day and serves as caring hostess to all of our great guests. She spends a lot of her time making sure that all of the rooms are perfect for the next folks checking in. She actually enjoys cleaning (well, most of the time).  Dan thinks she’s got an addiction to vacuuming, but she swears she doesn’t.

Dan (DANN) is originally from Western New York but moved to the mid-Atlantic to attend college (Georgetown University) and ultimately grad school (George Mason University). He was also an accountant for most of his corporate life and is really, really, really happy to be out of that now. Really happy.

Dan spends most of his time behind the scenes on the business side of things and trying to maintain this old house, keeping the lawn and gardens looking good, and in the summer, making sure the pool is clean and clear. His cooking role is generally limited to making the bacon or sausage for breakfast (‘cause it’s hard to screw that up). He’s also the primary cookie maker.  Dan is also very active in the Bed and Breakfast Association of Virginia (StayVA), where he served several years as board member and spent time as President, Vice President, and Treasurer. He now serves as a board member of the Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals (AIHP).

Orquida and Dan are both huge dog lovers. They currently are the proud caretakers of Snowy, a Lab/Pit Bull mix, rescued from the Almost Home Pet Adoption Center in nearby Lovingston. Snowy wants desperately to meet every guest, but she is extremely skittish, making the process very challenging for her. But if you are patient and still, she will eventually allow you to pet her.  

Our Philosophy

As longtime members of the innkeeping community, we are constantly reminded that each and every bed & breakfast or inn is unique unto itself. Each property is a reflection of its owners and their business and life philosophies. We want to offer prospective guests a glimpse into the values and beliefs that shape our business philosophy, and hopefully help you decide if Afton Mountain Bed & Breakfast is the right place for you.

Creating a Relaxing Atmosphere

Most guests who stay with us are looking to get “away” from the stresses in their life (work, children, etc.), and a big part of that escape can be found in quiet relaxation. Our priority is allowing our guests to fully experience and appreciate this lovely, peaceful part of Virginia in a calm and casual setting. 

When groups (large or small) stay with us, they can be a bit more spirited than if they were staying by themselves. That can result in impacting the peace and quiet that other guests are enjoying. So we try to minimize the number of groups (and children) staying here, and we do not hold blocks of rooms for guests of weddings or other events.

All are welcome

We do not discriminate on any basis, be it race, religion, nationality, sexual preference or gender identity. If you think enough of us to choose Afton Mountain Bed & Breakfast as your lodging venue, then we’ll happily accept you as our guest.

Local is Better

Being situated in a rural area with a rich agricultural base of farms and orchards provides us access to a wide variety of locally grown and produced food items. We make every effort to incorporate these fresh and local products – almost all of which come from here in Nelson County - into our breakfast menus.  In addition to seasonal fruits and vegetables, especially strawberries and peaches, we use local eggs, honey, breads, sausage, bacon and locally roasted coffee.

Minimizing our Environmental Impact

We believe strongly in trying to limit the negative impact on nature and the beauty that surrounds us. One big step we have taken to do that is to install 30 solar panels at the rear of our property. These panels reduce our overall electrical utility consumption by about 60%. We have also implemented a series of smaller conservation initiatives, such as recycling, composting, rainwater collection and conversion to LED light bulbs.

To help extend our conservation efforts beyond our property, we also offer a 10% discount off our weekend rates for any guests who travel here in an automobile that is either a hybrid/electric or that gets at least 35 miles per gallon. And for those of you driving a Tesla, we offer the use of a Destination Charging Station to our guests, free of charge (no pun intended).  

Stick to Simple and Timeless

As we noted, every Bed & Breakfast and Inn is unique. Location, architecture and especially the owners’ tastes all play a role in creating the guest experience. Given that our B&B is an 1848 Victorian farmhouse in the rolling hills of rural Central Virginia, we believe that simple and classic should be our guiding standards. That means we focus on the basics, like clean, comfortable rooms without clutter, but with modern amenities (like high-speed Wi-Fi) that today’s guests expect. We stick to modern classics like fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, great (local) coffee and breakfast entrees that are more traditional than gourmet. Staying here is not necessarily a step back in time, but we hope it gives our guests an appreciation of a simpler time.

Collaboration

We’re big fans of that old saying that “if you want to go far, go together.” One aspect of the innkeeping community that we’ve loved since we opened back in 2002 is that innkeepers are much more inclined to collaborate than they are to compete. We share ideas, war stories and refer guests to each other. We now have innkeeping friends from all over Virginia and across the country, all of us constantly working to find new and better ways to provide the best lodging experience for our guests.

The same holds true for many of small, local businesses in our area. In addition to the great local food sources, we are also blessed to be surrounded by outstanding wineries, craft breweries, cideries, distilleries and restaurants that are more than happy to work with us and cater to our guests. And we have established great relationships with the vendors who provide the flowers, cakes and limousine services that give our guest packages that special touch. We feel blessed to live and work in a true community of businesses.

Supporting our Industry

In addition to collaborating with our innkeeping friends, we gladly volunteer our time and support to help give back to the innkeeping community that has given us so much. We have both spent time as board members on Virginia’s B&B Association (BBAV), where Dan has also served as Treasurer, Vice President, and President. Dan now serves as a volunteer board member of the new national innkeeping organization, the Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals (AIHP). It’s truly a rewarding experience to work with so many other dedicated people who care so much about our industry.

Giving Back is Critical

Each year we donate money to those causes that are near and dear to our hearts. Being in an industry where food is so important, we happily support the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. We have also teamed up with Causely to enable our guests to help us support one outstanding charity each month simply by checking in on Facebook. And we can’t forget our four-legged friends. In our case, we happily support the Almost Home Pet Adoption Center in nearby Lovingston, which is a no-kill animal shelter from which we have adopted three awesome dogs.