RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Travel website TripAdvisor has named a bed and breakfast here in Richmond as one of the top 25 in the country. It's Maury Place on West Franklin Street. The B&B was opened just a few years ago by two men who were looking for a complete career change.
Maury Place was built as a grand home in 1916, and named for the nearby Monument Avenue statue of Matthew Fontaine Maury, a pioneer in oceanography.
Just four years ago it was converted into a bed and breakfast, and has now been named one of the top 25 B&B's in the country by TripAdvisor. So you might expect to find career innkeepers inside.
Instead you'll find two men, partners in life and now in business, who made dramatic career departures. Jeff Wells was a federal court attorney. Mac Pence still owns the Pence Auto Dealership.
"A dealership is a large business. The car business is a neat business, but it is high volume, it is very different," said Pence.
"I would say the biggest reality check," laughed Wells about running a B&B, "is that there's a high volume of laundry!"
Pence and Wells modernized Maury Place with air conditioning and wi-fi, then filled it with antiques and old photos.
"So much of the original house was in place and preserved, such as chandeliers, moldings, fire places, mantel pieces," Wells showed us. "So we knew we would be able to market the historic nature of the property as well as the bed and breakfast."
The hardest part, they say, is that running the B&B is a 24/7 job, creating an oasis for travelers from as far as Australia, to as nearby as Richmond.
"Many people are not used to having a full breakfast in a dining room. So a lot of it is about staging and creating an environment of luxury and comfort and I enjoy doing that," Wells said.
For anyone who dreams of changing careers, Pence and Wells offer their own trip advisor.
"Follow your heart, or follow your gut," said Wells.
"Whatever business you're in, if you want it to be successful, it's going to be hard. You want it to be something you can really enjoy," added Pence.