They operate quietly, almost invisibly, welcoming overnight guests to gracious accommodations in historic homes.
The three bed and breakfast establishments in Salem are run by families who live in the same home as the guests that come to stay for a night or more and full breakfast at The Inn at Burwell Place on West Main Street, The Old Manse Bed and Breakfast on East Main Street near Roanoke College, and the Brugh Inn on Lynchburg Turnpike.
It was plans by Bob and Phyllis Brugh, owners of the latter inn, that prompted Oct. 21 discussions between Salem City Council and the city’s planning commission about future inns which might have a manager instead of live-in owners.
Meanwhile, what the two older existing inns have to offer in overnight accommodations not mentioned in the discussion, and owners of The Old Manse and The Inn at Burwell Place want the public to know they’re still very much in the overnight guest business.
Charlotte Griffith is proud she opened The Old Manse as the first B&B in Salem, in 1985, in the home built in 1847 across from what today is Longwood Park. The house is listed not only on Salem’s list of historic buildings but also the Virginia and National Register of Historic Places.
“I’m the one who had to go before Salem City Council and explain what a bed and breakfast establishment is,” she said. Her antique-filled home has two guest rooms available, one downstairs and upstairs. The name manse indicates the residence was once the home for the pastor of Salem Presbyterian Church. It is built on land that was part of Gen. Andrew Lewis’ grant from King George
“I’m a resident hostess, and I enjoy the guests,” continued Griffith, who purchased the house more than 30 years ago. “I have had such interesting ones. I’ve gotten people from all over the world, including the American ambassador and his wife, whose daughter was at Roanoke College; people from Australia and South America.”
The Inn at Burwell Place’s Cindi Lou MacMackin, her husband Mark Bukowski and daughter Sarabeth have likewise hosted famous people in the 13 years the inn has been open near Lake Spring Park, more familiarly known at the Duck Pond.
“VIP guests include such notables as actor Robert Duvall, Coach Jones and ‘Radio’ made famous in a movie of the same name, Bishop Nickolas Thomas of Durham, England,” she said, “and The Rocket Boys, Coach Jim and Homer Hickam Jr.”
But you don’t have to be a celebrity to stay at the Inn of Burwell Place, said MacMackin, whose inn is a frequent overnight stop for business and leisure travelers and those in town to visit family.
“With the economy, our current B&B clientele is the backbone of our existence,” added MacMackin.
The inn is also known as the location of numerous weddings and receptions, especially from April through October. Friends of the inn also host an annual backyard croquet tournament that started at the inn and now is held at Roanoke College, that raises funds for area charities.