I arrived in Kingsport, TN, in bad shape. To get to Kingsport from Pikeville, KY, I had to go through Virginia again, which happened to choose that day to mow the last 6 miles of median. I am horribly allergic to grass and I paid for it.
By the time I arrived in Kingsport it felt as if I had sharp cloven-hoofed demons tap dancing on my eyes. I pulled into Fox Manor, which was very easy to find, parked the bike and wandered up to the door. It was locked, so I went back and laid next to my bike in the first 15 minutes of sun I had seen in 3 days and listened to the babbling of the fountain in their back yard. Listening to the birds that I am sure frequent the lush trees surrounding the property, hearing the gentle pop and plap of the fountain spilling its water on the rocks of the fountain and the feel of the sun on the paving-stoned driveway helped me overcome the desire to rub my eyes into the back of my skull.
When the rain started to come down again I decided I needed to get a shower and rest with a cold compress on my eyes, but they had not arrived yet. I looked up their phone number on my e-mail and realized I had the ticket to get in the whole time, and that they had communicated days previously they wouldn’t be available and to make myself at home. I had forgotten they had sent me a convenient way to enter the house and get myself comfortable. They definitely have consideration for a weary traveler, probably not thinking right for whatever reason, in the design of their operation. I was very relieved and promptly moved into my room.
To say that Fox Manor is elegant is an understatement. It is utterly fascinating with elegance and charm. Susan and Walt have put a lot of love into their bed and breakfast and it shows. There is something to investigate wherever you turn, but laid out in such a way that you never feel overwhelmed or that looks cluttered. Everything has its place and looks like it was meant to be there. After I clambered into my room I discovered a treat that I didn’t expect. Apparently Susan Halliday has discovered a type of heroine that has yet to reach its full potential in the form of designer chocolates from an outfit called Earth and Sky Confections. Oh. My. Heavens. Even in my pained, quasi-delirious state, I savored the flavors and textures. Attention to detail is the thing most remarkable about Susan’s Fox Manor.
Walt walked me about Fox Manor the next morning as Susan prepared breakfast and gave me the history of the building, the stories about how they came by a lot of the beautiful old pictures, furniture and trinkets. His story telling and tour made the experience come to life. From the the box of tin type images purchased at an estate sale for $2.00 to the 300-year-old English pub bar in the rec room they acquired in South Carolina, you can see that there was a lot of thought and consideration put into each piece and its placement in the house.
Although my time with the Hallidays was brief, I thoroughly enjoyed their professionalism in a very comfortable, well-organized place. Susan makes a fabulous breakfast and was wonderful company as I ate. If I were to start a Bed and Breakfast, I would ask them to consult on everything from decoration to operation. A real classy place that makes it obvious it is run by very classy people.