We are Linda and Wayne Mielczasz, owners of the Belle Hearth Bed & Breakfast located at 320 South Wayne Avenue, in Waynesboro, VA.
Our B&B provides lodging accommodations in the historic district of Waynesboro, VA, a small town just three miles from Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive entrances, and scenic Afton Mountain. With its gabled roof, wraparound porch (with swing), heart pine floors, pocket doors and seven working fireplaces, the Belle Hearth depicts the fine craftsmanship of the late Victorian/Neo Classical period.
The Belle Hearth has been featured in Blue Ridge Country magazine as the “Best of cozy B & B’s” and in Shenandoah Living as an “intimate winter getaway.” We think that the Belle Hearth is perfect for that romantic Virginia getaway or simply a peaceful retreat for anyone needing to get away.
What inspired you to open your business?
Linda lived in England and acquired many antiques. We were both in customer relations in our previous jobs, and we both enjoy cooking and meeting people!
Why did you choose Waynesboro?
We love the mountains and hiking; after visiting here and talking to the townspeople, we discovered a friendly, warm and serene community; the area is of course very beautiful.
What was your biggest challenge getting started?
Our biggest challenges have been increasingly a low occupancy rate through internet and social media. Also, time management for preparing breakfast.
(At our award winning breakfast, Belle Hearth serves up a candlelit dining table set with silver and china. There’s always fresh fruit and herbs in season from our garden, homemade biscuits and hot breads as a starter along with quiches, casseroles or homemade waffles accompanied by breakfast meats. Locally grown fruits and vegetables are also part of our breakfast menus.)
What do you wish you had known before you started your business?
All the many things that we would learn and encounter along the way: interacting with all types of people, having better computer knowledge, adjusting to multiple guest personalities, and knowing about different tastes and allergies of guests.
What has been your biggest reward?
Our biggest rewards have been meeting people from all walks of life and from all over the world, living in a 107 year-old house with all its quirks, and talking to local people about the history of our house through the years.
Can you share an unforgettable small business experience?
Once, two guests at breakfast, after discussing family backgrounds, discovered they were related. Another guest trained with the original astronauts and piloted the fastest jet flight from New York to London in the early 70’s and then sent us an autographed photo of the jet.
To learn more about small business grants and training opportunities available to new Waynesboro busineses, visit us online at GrowWaynesboro.com. We’re committed to keeping the entrepreneurial and small business spirit rolling in Waynesboro, with the inspiration of projects like the Belle Hearth Bed and Breakfast.